Four dog myths debunked

Think you know everything there is to know about dogs? Well you might be surprised to find out that several common myths about dogs actually aren’t true.

Myth #1: Dog’s mouths are cleaner than human’s mouths

A very common misconception about dogs is that they have cleaner mouths than humans. A dog’s mouth is filled with bacteria, including salmonella and campylobacter. These organisms can get into a dog’s mouth when they eat food out of the garbage or off the ground or from using their tongue for other dirty habits. Then the bacteria can get transmitted to you from all those doggy kisses. It’s great to show your pet some love, but you may want to think twice before giving your pooch a smooch.

Myth #2: A wagging tail means a happy dog

While it’s true that dogs wag their tails when they’re happy, it can mean other things as well. Dogs have three positions at which they hold their tail and they all mean different things. When a dog’s tail is very high and stiff it means that it is agitated and is ready to protect its turf. When the tail is very low and wagging rapidly, the dog is feeling scared and submissive. A happy wag is when the tail is held at its natural mid-level position and the dog looks relaxed.

Myth #3: A warm nose means your dog is sick

The temperature of a dog’s nose can change easily, so it is not a good indication of a dog’s health. A perfectly healthly dog could have a warm, dry nose from sitting out in the sun for a long time. On the other hand, a sick dog could have a cool, wet nose from dipping it in the water bowl. So as you can see, this method is not always foolproof. Better signs of illness are lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite, or a temperature above 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Myth #4: Licking heals a dog’s wounds

Due to all the bacteria in a dog’s mouth, licking wounds can cause infection and actually prevent healing. Dogs will compulsively lick their wounds, which can lead to chronic sores, known as acral lick dermatitis. When your dog gets injured, the best way to help the healing is to use an Elizabethan collar so it can’t lick its wounds.

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