All of us dog pawrents know how special our four-legged companions are. Even when we think we know every bit about them, there is always something new to be learned about hooman’s best friend. In this blog, brace yourself for some surprising facts about Fido!
Your Pup Has Three Eyelids
We spend so much time gazing into the eyes of our furry companions, yet it is probably news to most that pups in fact have three eyelids! In addition to having an upper and lower eyelid (like us humans do), dogs have a third eyelid called the nictitating membrane, also referred to as a haw. This eyelid is located at the inner corner of the eye closest to the snout, looking like a small triangle, though it is usually hard for us to see (if it stands out and looks red and inflamed, you’ll want to get that checked out). While kept mostly hidden, our dogs’ third eyelids serve four important purposes: protecting the eye from injury, keeping the cornea clean, producing additional tears, and acting as a lymph node that produces extra antibodies to protect against infections.
Their Nose Is One Of A Kind
Just like no human fingerprint is alike, each of our pups’ noses have their own unique pattern of creases and ridges. In fact, some countries are already using dog nose prints as a form of identification! An app in the UK, Smart Snout, was created for owners to help track their dog via nose print in the scenario that they get lost or stolen (we still recommend that you get your dog microchipped as well, especially as it is required by law!).
Achooo, Let’s Play!
When we sneeze, it’s normally because we’ve caught a cold or are experiencing some seasonal allergies. A pooch’s sneeze can also mean they’re feeling under the weather, but it can also be a “play sneeze”. Yes, that’s right—your pooch might sneeze to let other dogs and humans know that they want to play! While pups use other signals to let their buddies know it’s playtime (including bowing and putting their rears in the air), they sometimes sneeze to signal that their ‘fight’ play sesh is simply that—just play, no ruff stuff. Pups also sneeze when playing with other dogs or humans to let them know that they are excited and enjoying themselves.
“Can You Smell That?!” No, We Can’t.
It may not come as a surprise that dogs can smell much better than humans can (heck, they can detect when a can of THE PACK has been opened when they’re sleeping rooms away!). But do you know just how much more powerful a dog’s wet nose is to ours? A dog’s sense of smell is between 10,000-100,000 times stronger than that of a human! In fact, the smell centre of a dog’s brain is 40 times larger than a human’s, making it no surprise they go crazy for smells on their walkies or become the sniff police when we’ve returned home from another house where a dog or cat lives.
Dogs can smell so intensely that they can pick up on human emotions (e.g., fear, anxiety) through sniffing out hormonal changes. They can also detect when their human is sick, has developed a disease such as cancer, is experiencing low or spiking blood pressure levels, or is going to have an epileptic seizure or narcolepsy attack—just through smelling the slightest changes in the human body that we cannot notice. It was found that the accuracy of trained dogs from the Situ Foundation to detect lung and breast cancer through human breath was more accurate than needle biopsies!
Dogs Have Fewer Taste Buds Than We Do
While dogs can certainly out-smell us humans, you’d be surprised to learn that they have fewer taste buds than we do! The average human has 9,000 taste buds, compared to 1,700 in the average dog. Nonetheless, our pups can detect bitter, sour, salty and sweet tastes, which is why some dogs are picky and some will eat just about anything. Out of all the tastes, dogs do tend to prefer sweet flavours, especially those from a nutritionally balanced portion of fruits and veg (which must be why pooches really love THE PACK!).
Pooches Can Be Left-Pawed, Right-Pawed, Or Ambilateral!
We don’t normally think of our pooches being left- or right-pawed in the way that we are left- or right-handed—unless yours has been signing some puperwork as of late—but in fact, most have a preferred paw! A recent study from Lincoln University in the UK found that about 43.1% of dogs were right-pawed, 30.9% were left-pawed, and 26% were ambilateral, meaning they use both paws equally. You can find out whether your pooch is left- or right-pawed (or ambilateral) by holding out a treat in your closed hand and seeing which paw they use to interact with your fist. You can also give them an interactive game or a toy, such as a Kong filled with treats, and observe which paw they hold the toy with the most to get the goodies.
On the topic of doggie feet, did you know that dogs only have sweat glands in their paws? That’s right—those damp paw prints you see around the house on a hot day is your pooch’s perspiration! While their main way of cooling off is through panting, it is important to keep in mind that on a hot day, putting your pup in a shallow pool of cool water (not ice cold, due to the shock!) can help lower their temperature. Let’s avoid clammy paws!
“I See Doggie Ghosts!”
We don’t mean to freak you pawrents out, but with spooky season upon us (Halloween, Guy Fawkes Night, you get the ruff idea), we’re going to let you in on a little secret—your pup can likely see things. Yup, as in ghosts and spirits (though we can’t officially confirm that)! Ever see your dog staring or barking at what seems like nothing? You’re not alone—in a 2010 poll, 43% of pawrents said their pets behaved strangely right before something bad happened. It is known that dogs can detect movement much better than us humans can, and we already went over their incredible sense of smell, making it likely they can pick up on something that we simply cannot sense. So, if there are ghosts and spirits among us, the first to notice will probably be our pooches.
Dogs Can Jam Out To A Beatles’ Classic!
Have you listened to “A Day in the Life” off The Beatles’ iconic album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with your pooch in the room? If so, you may have noticed you pup perk up their head at the end of the song. That’s because dog-lover himself, Paul McCartney included a dog whistle at the end of the song as a little treat for his then pup, Martha. Your dog a fan of The Fab Four? Have them next listen to “Martha My Dear”, a tribute Paul made to his beloved sheepdog. Your pooch a bulldog? Have them rock out to “Hey Bulldog!” and listen to McCartney giving out his best barks.
One of the world’s oldest living dogs was vegan!
If you’re reading our blog, you probably already know that dogs can live healthily (and in fact thrive!) on a plant-based diet. Did you know, however, that the record of the world’s oldest living dog at one time was held by a vegan pooch? That’s right—Bramble, a Border Collie from the UK, ate only plant-based meals and lived until the age of 25—nearly double the average for her breed! We’re not saying that being a vegan pup will make your pooch invincible, but it can certainly help! Studies, such as a recent one conducted by University of Winchester, showed that overall, dogs on conventional meat diets are less healthy and are on more medication than dogs on vegan diets. Eating a plant-based diet like that from THE PACK or turning your pup into a flexi-dogian will lower their chances of obesity, liver failure, or of developing diseases including cancers. Can we hear a “woof woof” for veggies?!