Your Dog’s Sense of Smell Trumps Yours
The ‘smell’ center of your dog’s brain is 40 times larger than yours, meaning dogs can smell thousands of times better than humans. Their noses have millions more scent receptors—for example, a human nose averages 5 million while a Dachshund’s has 125 million—making them useful in sniffing out drugs, dead bodies, bed bugs, explosives and more. So, you don’t like it when your dog clears the room, how do you think Fido feels?
What’s in a nose?
Some very unique qualities, that’s what. No two dogs have the same nose. It’s like the human fingerprint, each has its own unique qualities, patterns of ridges and creases. Also, the temperature and moisture level of your dog’s nose likely fluctuates quite a bit on a normal day, so it’s possible for it to be wet in the morning, dry in the middle of the day, and slimy again in the evening. Note: dogs can be sick even if their noses are cold and wet, so don’t let your baby’s nose dictate what you know about his/her health.
Things That Go Bump in The Night
If you’ve ever noticed your pooch twitching in his sleep, this probably means he’s dreaming. Researchers have found that dogs have similar sleep patterns and brain activity as humans, and that small breeds tend to dream more than large ones. Psychology Today suggests they’re probably imagining familiar activities like taking a walk, playing outside or chasing their tail.
Dog vs. Toddler – Which is Smarter?
According to canine researchers, your toddler and pup are about on par when it comes to brainpower. Studies show man’s best friend can count, understand more than 150 words, and even trick people or other dogs in order to get treats. Intelligence varies based on breed—Border Collies are the smartest.
Dogs Only Mate Twice a Year
Most female dogs go into heat two times a year or about every six months, although intervals can vary between breeds, and from dog to dog. Small breed dogs may cycle three times per year, while giant breed dogs may only cycle once every 12-18 months. So, now you’re thinking, “Then why does my dog hump my leg all the time?” Well, there’s a good answer to that very good question.
As puppies reach sexual maturity, they start to mount other dogs in sexual contexts. Often, during courtship, unspayed females in heat mount and hump their male “suitors.” After they’re neutered or spayed, many dogs continue to mount because they have learned that the behavior feels good. But in older dogs, it can be a sign of dominance, a reaction to something that has excited the dog, like visitors arriving, or a sign that a dog hasn’t been socialized correctly and doesn’t know appropriate canine behavior.
The Swag of the Wag
You might speak French or Spanish, but your dog speaks Wag. Dogs use their tails to communicate emotions such as agitation, annoyance, anger, and even happiness. So, if your dog excitedly wags its tail, does it mean he/she is happy to see you? Maybe, but maybe not.
According to Discovery.com, dogs wag their tails to the right when they’re happy and to the left when they’re frightened. Wagging low means they’re insecure, and rapid tail wagging mixed with tense muscles or dilated pupils can signal aggression. This is why a person can get bitten by a dog that is wagging its tail because he/she read the signs wrong. Yet another reason why every kid should have a dog, so they learn and understand doggy behavior.
Puppies are Born Blind and Deaf
Newborn dogs are still developing so they are, in essence, functionally blind and deaf. Their ear canals are still closed and their eyelids are tightly shut because the eye itself is still developing and is extremely fragile. It needs the protection that the closed eyelids provide to protect the immature optical system from foreign objects, such as dirt, light or even pathogens. Most puppies open their eyes and respond to noises after about two weeks.
The Sixth Sense – is it Real?
That’s up to whomever you talk to but most people think so. Consider this: in a 2010 poll 67 percent of pet owners reported their pets acting strangely right before a storm and 43 percent said their pets behaved oddly right before something bad happened. The top clues? Whining, erratic behavior, running away or trying to hide in a safe place. There are even reports that dogs can sense illnesses, like cancer.
They don’t have this sixth sense because of some special psychic ability though, it’s because their own regular senses—particularly smell, sight, and sound—are so much better than ours that they can detect things long before we do. Yet another reason to love your dog to bits and to listen when he/she communicates.
Don’t Sweat the Small Ruff
While humans have sweat glands to help us cool down when we are hot, dogs do not have this advantage. They lack the normal, predominant sweat glands that we and other species have. Dogs do sweat a bit through the pads of their paws but their main form of cooling down is panting. There is also Vasodilation or the dilating of blood vessels which can cause a flushing appearance on the skin: this is another method they use to cool down. So, if your dog is panting it’s probably not fodder: it’s a good sign you should give him some water.
Corny but True
Have you ever noticed the oddity of a faint scent of corn chips or popcorn lingering around your dog? Don’t laugh because it’s a bit bizarre but this is actually called Frito Feet and it happens when sweat and bacteria build up in the dog’s paws. The corn chip odor (or popcorn smell as some liken it to) is a byproduct of yeast and bacteria.
Dr. Robert J. Silver, a Colorado-based veterinarian, says Pseudomonas and Proteus are the two types of natural bacteria that make their way from soil or water into the crevices of a dog’s paws and it’s the former that gives your pet that snack food smell.
While the smell is perfectly normal, Silver said it can sometimes be a sign of a more serious yeast infection. If your pooch is excessively licking his feet, his paws are greasy or there is inflammation in the webbed part between his toes, you might want to take a trip to the vet. Note: it’s normal for dogs to lick their paws—it’s how they self-clean, so excessive is the keyword.
Doggy Bad Breath is a Sign
If your dog has bad breath, pay attention. It’s one thing if your dog’s breath smells like, well, dog. But persistent bad breath or really, really bad breath can actually be a sign of dental/periodontal disease and/or other health problems. If you don’t already, have your dog’s teeth examined by a veterinarian once a year.
With a little know-how, you can also check your pup’s mouth yourself. For instance, lift his lips and look for redness on the gums, a sign of gingivitis. If you see signs of redness, a broken tooth or swelling, it is time to take him to a vet.
Most veterinarians recommend starting the habit of brushing your dog’s teeth while he’s still a puppy, not just to prevent disease but to get the pet used to the feeling of having his teeth brushed. Even before the adult teeth come in, at six months, doctors suggest familiarizing your dog with the sensation of having your fingers in his mouth and his teeth brushed.
Dogs Eat Poop – Get Over It
It’s no secret: dogs often eat their own feces (and other fecal matter). Though to us humans, this seems gross, but the ASPCA says it’s perfectly normal, stemming from their pre-domestication days thousands of years ago. More common in puppies, older dogs usually grow out of it, although some do it into adulthood.
Love is in the Air
A dog’s unique smell is secreted in its glands. And yes, those scent glands are located in their backsides. This is why dogs sniff one another’s butts. It’s how they identify each other and mark
their territory. In fact, butt-sniffing is an example of chemical communication in the animal kingdom. It’s about one dog literally sniffing out important information about the other including gender, emotional state, diet and more.
How does the dog doing the sniffing make sense of the glandular secretions from the sniffee’s anal sac without the poopy smell getting in the way?
Dogs have a second olfactory system that’s known as the Jacobson’s organ. Its nerves direct the chemical information it detects directly to the brain so there’s no interference from other odors. So, now the butt-sniffing shouldn’t bug you so much.