Amazing Dog Facts

Man’s Best Friend has been by our side for more than 30,000 years. That’s a pretty enduring friendship: in fact, it’s likely the oldest human-animal relationship on the planet! While we have learned a lot about dogs in that time, we still don’t know everything about Fido. In fact, we’re still learning new things about our furry pals every day. A Treasure Coast, FL veterinarian lists some interesting facts about dogs in this article.

Dogs Can Tell Time … Sort of

Have you ever noticed that Fido always seems to know when it’s time for a walk, a meal, or to go to bed? Studies show that our canine friends can tell time.

Ever-Growing Breed Roster

Currently, the AKC recognizes 201 breeds. New to the list is the Lancashire Heeler. The oldest breed in the world is the Saluki, a lean Sighthound similar to a Greyhound or Whippet. The Saluki has been found in ancient Egyptian tombs dating back to 2100 BC.

Though the Saluki has been around for thousands of years, they weren’t one of the original breeds to join the AKC. The organization started with mostly hunting dogs. These breeds included the Irish Setter, English Setter, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Clumber Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Pointer, Sussex Spaniel, Irish Water Spaniel, and Gordon Setter. (The Saluki joined in 1927.) For more insight into how these breeds are categorized and the characteristics that define each AKC dog group, check out our article on Understanding AKC Dog Groups].

Puppy Popularity Contests

The super cute, cheerful Labrador Retriever held the top spot in the AKC’s ranks of dog popularity for over 31 years! He only recently lost that spot. In 2022, the plucky French Bulldog knocked him out of first place.

Yes, Your Dog Does Dream

If your dog twitches, makes noises, or moves his paws while sleeping, it may well be because he’s dreaming. Most dogs do dream, though for some reason puppies and seniors seem to dream the most. When it comes to what they dream about, well, that’s anyone’s guess. However, we suspect that Fido dreams of squirrels, bacon, toys, treats, and possibly the neighbor’s cat. You probably play a role as well!

Nosing Around For Information

It’s well-known that dogs have an amazing sense of smell. However, you may be surprised at how astute Fido’s cute snoot is.

Here are a few examples:

  • Fido can smell separately from each side of his nose, and uses information from each nostril to pinpoint where a scent is coming from. Imagine this as an olfactory 3D.
  • Just like human fingerprints, no two dogs’ noseprints are the same. That means if your dog leaves nose art on your windows, you have some one-of-a-kind artwork! (Tip: If you don’t want to keep your canine buddy’s masterpieces, clean the glass with vinegar and newspaper.)
  • Fido’s nose has a whopping 300 million scent receptors. Our noses have a meager 5 million.
  • Dogs can smell things 100,000 times better than we can. In fact, Fido can smell the equivalent of a half-teaspoon of sugar in an Olympic-size pool!
  • The portion of Fido’s brain that processes smells is about 40 times larger than ours, comparatively.
  • Our canine pals can exhale both through their mouths and noses.
  • Fido’s sense of smell can be diminished by as much as 40% when he is panting or really hot.
  • Dog noses secrete a special mucus, which traps chemicals from scent molecules.
  • When Fido licks his nose, he’ll get more information about what he’s smelling. This is one of the reasons why his nose is often wet.

Fido Can Catch Your Yawns

Have you ever lightheartedly pranked someone by making them yawn? Even reading the word yawn can cause the reaction. This works on dogs, too! According to research, Fido is even more likely to ‘catch’ a yawn if he knows the person yawning. (You may be yawning just reading this!)

Other animals seem to also experience contagious yawns. In addition to people and dogs, other animals that can ‘catch’ the yawns include certain baboons, wolves, domesticated pigs, African lions, African elephants, domestic sheep, elephant seals, and even birds, particularly budgies.

Staking His Claim

Many people believe that when Fido kicks dirt or leaves to cover his waste, he’s trying to cover his scent, just as cats do. However, Fido is actually using his paws’ scent glands to claim his territory.

The Name Game

It’s interesting to learn the backstory of our different canine companions. The origin of a breed is often reflected in its name, but that is not always the case. For example, Australian Shepherds came from the United States, not Australia, and French Poodles came from Germany. The Labrador Retriever doesn’t originate from Labrador, either.

This also has happened with other animals. For example, Guinea pigs are not only not from Guinea, they also aren’t even pigs!

A Furever Buddy

Our canine pals’ love and loyalty is truly extraordinary. Dogs have driven themselves to exhaustion for their humans. Fido has even sacrificed his life for us! No wonder these amazing animals are often praised and cherished for their loyalty and love.

As it turns out, this isn’t hearsay. Scientists have discovered that dogs are one of the very few animals that will show kindness to other animals.

A Day In A Dog’s Life

Does your pooch seem to like music? Play ‘A Day In The Life’ for your dog, and see what he does. Paul McCartney included a secret note only dogs can hear at the end of this iconic Beatles song.

Doggy Physiology

Fido has 42 teeth and 321 bones, and his field of vision covers 250 degrees. (Ours only covers 180 degrees.) Dogs have a body temperature of 101.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

Paws For Thought

Fido’s furry feet are also quite extraordinary. In addition to helping Fido get from the couch to his food bowl and back, dogs’ paws absorb shock, provide traction, and provide information about the surface he’s walking on.

  • Although Fido’s cute toe beans are covered in thick skin, they aren’t weatherproof. You should keep your pooch away from extremely hot surfaces. Use paw balm to keep your pet’s paw pads healthy.
  • Fido will sometimes lick his paws to relieve stress. Think of it as a doggy version of nail biting or foot bouncing. (Note: licking the paws can also be a sign that Fido’s feet hurt, so if you notice any signs of discomfort or if your dog needs more specialized care, contact your Treasure Coast, FL vet about possible Veterinary Surgery] options.)
  • Did you know that pets can be right-pawed or left-pawed? Three out of four dogs use one paw more than the other. Nearly 60 percent of those dogs use their right paw, while the rest use their left.
  • This may be the cutest one on the list. When viewed upside-down, dogs’ paw pads look like teddy bears.

Be sure to ask your Treasure Coast, FL veterinarian for tips on keeping your canine buddy’s feet healthy!

An Amazing Companion

When we’re upset or sad, dogs often intuitively know that something is wrong. They stick closer to their owners when something is wrong. This can provide both physical and emotional benefits. Snuggling with Fido can lower your blood pressure! Studies have also shown that people with dogs tend to be thinner than those who don’t have canine companions. All those walks are just as good for you as they are for your pet!

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions about your dog’s health or care. As your local Treasure Coast, FL pet hospital, we are always here to help!

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