Throughout the course of human history, misinformation in the form of rumors, legends, and old wives tales have come to be treated as fact. For a long time the Earth was thought to not only be flat, but it was also thought to be the center of the universe. Over time, however, many of these fallacies have been debunked and as a result, our desire to not be hoodwinked has grown. Our need to be right has even spawned myth-busting resources such as the websites, www.snopes.com and www.wikileaks.org and even the popular Discovery Channel television show, Mythbusters.
Myths have not only infiltrated the human world but the animal world as well. In reality, bats are not blind, bulls are not enraged by the color red, lemmings do not commit mass suicide while migrating and the memory of a goldfish is not limited to a few fleeting seconds.
To help clear up some of the confusion, this week’s Good Dog section is dedicated to common fallacies in the dog world. Enjoy!
MYTH 1: Dogs are colorblind. Even I grew up under the assumption that dogs can only see in black and white. In fact, dogs do have red-green color blindness, which makes it difficult to distinguish between yellow, orange, red, and green. However, they can distinguish between different shades of blue, purple, and gray. So, when you bring that bright orange ball to the park because it will stand out amongst all that green grass, keep in mind that this is for your benefit only.
MYTH 2: My dog tried to bite me. If your dog wanted to bite you, he would have…he is faster than you. If you got a little nip from your pet, he was either playing with you, or warning you. When he bites you, you will know it!
MYTH 3: Dogs will let you know when they are sick. Dogs are survivors. Instinctively, they will not display weakness or vulnerability in the event that they encounter a threat. Unfortunately, the situation is often more serious by the time they let you catch on to the fact that they are not feeling well.
MYTH 4: Dogs eat grass when they are sick. The evolutionary diet of a dog includes the stomach contents of fallen prey. This usually includes nuts, berries, and grass as a part of their optimal diet. A small amount of grass should not result in any digestive upset, and is actually quite normal. Chowing down on grass is another story, and may lead to vomiting.
MYTH 5: The mouth of a dog is cleaner than that of a human. Even as recently as a few years ago, I heard somewhere that humans have over 400 types of bacteria (factually, it is at least 615) while a dog has only 25. While I have not been able to locate an approximation for canine oral bacteria, it is clear that this is not the only metric that can be used to answer this question. Quite frankly, it is like comparing apples to oranges. The mouth of a dog contains DIFFERENT bacteria than that of a human.
The fact remains that I do not eat garbage, I do not lick my own crotch (or that of my neighbor), I prefer to catch tennis balls with my hands, and I brush my teeth twice a day.
So where did this myth come from? Well, apparently from medical journals – which were later misconstrued by the public (go figure). The reports were that human bites were more likely to result in infection compared to animal and dog bites.
While there are many more fallacies and myths about our pets, these are among the most popular. What myths do you want to see busted? Send us your suggestions via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, happy BARFing!
Evan Price is a Raw Diet Educator for BARF World Inc. He is a true dog lover at heart with a particular interest in Daschunds. Evan is also an avid sports enthusiast and bridge player. For more articles like these and to learn more about the benefits of raw food for your pets, sign up for The Intelligent Pet weekly e-zine at www.barfworld.com.