16 Interesting Facts About Dogs You Probably Don’t Know About

by Anne-Marie Smith
dog facts

Many dog owners and dog lovers think they know a lot about dogs. If you’re one of them, we’re about to prove you wrong. There are many dog facts from our list that will come as a total surprise to you. For instance, did you know that no two dogs have the same noses? Just like the human fingerprint, every dog’s nose is unique, with each having a distinctive pattern of creases and ridges.

Here are 16 more dog facts that you probably don’t know about

#1 Every Dog Has Three Eyelids In Every Eye

dog eyes

All dogs have three eyelids in every eye. They have an upper eyelid, a lower eyelid, and a third eyelid called the haw or the nictitating membrane. This nictitating membrane is located at the corner of every their eye; but, the color varies from one breed to another. It’s also found in cats, birds, reptiles, and some mammals like camels.

A dog’s nictitating membrane serves different purposes including:

  • Wiping off dust and mucus from the cornea, thereby keeping it clean.
  • Producing antibodies that protect the eye from infections.
  • Protecting the eye from injuries.
  • The membrane also has a tear-producing gland that’s responsible for producing one-third of a dog’s tears. The tears help in lubricating the eyes.

It’s important to note that the nictitating membrane isn’t visible all the time. It only shows up when there’s a problem with your dog’s eyes, for instance, when he suffers from an eye injury, trauma, infection, or illness. Because of this, you’re advised to seek veterinary attention immediately if you see a cloudy, pinkish, or reddish membrane appearing and covering your dog’s eyes.

#2 Dogs Learn About Each Other Through Butt-Sniffing

dog butt sniffing

If you’ve taken your dog to the dog park, you must have seen dogs sniffing one another’s backsides and wondered why they do it. Well, the glands which secrete pheromones are located at the rear end of dogs. Pheromones are simply chemical substances produced by dogs (and other animals) to help them learn more about each other and make friends.

Every dog produces pheromones containing unique information about their health, sex, diet, etc. And because they have a heightened sense of smell, dogs can learn a lot about one another by just sniffing butts. Think of butt-sniffing as your pup’s way of getting the first impression of a potential friend.

#3 A Dog’s “Kisses” Doesn’t Mean What You Think

dog kisses

Human beings show love and affection to others by hugging, cuddling, kissing, etc. So, it’s only natural to think that your pet is showing you some love when he licks your face. Dogs have lived with humans for years and adapted well to life in our world. Some have even come to understand and associate hugs and kisses with affection.

But this doesn’t make “kissing” a natural way of showing affection in the dog world. On the contrary, when your dog “kisses” you, he’s actually telling you to give him some personal space. But, because you don’t understand your dog’s way of communication, you’ll most likely kiss him back to show him that the feeling is mutual. When that happens, he may shift the position of his head or act uninterested in your kiss, leaving you feeling frustrated and miserable.

#4 Dogs Have A “Smell” Center In Their Brains That’s 40X Larger Than Ours

dog nose

Dogs have been used for years to sniff out explosives, dead bodies, and drugs, among other things. That’s because their sense of smell is better and more accurate than that of humans. An average dog can smell things 10,000 to 100,000 times better than us depending on the type and breed.

This heightened sense of smell is due to the huge numbers of scent receptors in a dog’s nose. The human nose has an average of six million scent receptors, while a dog’s nose has up to 300 million scent receptors. As if that’s not enough, the part of a dog’s brain that processes and analyses scent is 40 larger and greater than that of humans.

#5 Dogs Can Hear 4 Times Better Than Humans

dog ears

Smelling isn’t the only area where dogs are better than us. Their hearing ability is super impressive too. They have about 18 ear muscles, which not only allows them to rotate their ears but also adjust them accordingly to capture a sound in the most accurate way possible. As a result, dogs can recognize different sounds easily, and accurately pinpoint where each sound is coming from.

Dogs also have a longer ear canal compared to humans, which enables them to hear sounds that are further away from them better than us. To be precise, their ability to hear distant sounds is 4 times better than ours.

#6 Holding Out Your Hand To a New Dog Isn’t The Right Way To Introduce Yourself

person holding out hand

Many of us are guilty of doing this. When we meet a new dog, we automatically assume that the dog wants to greet us and wave our hands close to their faces. This usually works with some dogs, but others may feel scared or alienated by the extended hand.

The best approach when you want to introduce yourself to an unfamiliar dog is to be patient and let him approach you first. After the dog has approached you, you can then hold out your hand to him and let him smell you and get used to you.

But if you must approach a new dog first, you’re advised to do it from the sides. Don’t approach him directly (head-on), as he might think you’re trying to challenge him and react aggressively.

#7 Eating Feces Is Normal In Dogs

dog eating feces

Eating fecal matter is one of those gross things that many dog owners wished their dogs never did, but they do it anyway. It’s very common in puppies, but as they get older, they tend to grow out of it.

If you’re one of the dog parents who get mad at your pup for eating his own feces and even punishes him to make him stop, it’s important to understand that eating feces come naturally to dogs. They’ve been doing it for thousands of years, even before they were domesticated by human beings.

So, the best you can do is to let your dog outgrow the habit at his own pace. Any attempts to make his stop sooner will most likely backfire on you and leave you frustrated.

More Interesting Dog Facts

#8 A Dog’s Sense of Taste Is Way Below That of Human Beings

dog sense of taste

Human beings have about 9000 taste buds, while dogs have just 1700 taste buds. Our beloved canine companions only have about a sixth of the taste buds we have. This should explain why they’re less biased when it comes to which foods they eat.

Dogs eat their favorite steak or kibble with the same appetite they use to eat the rotting food remains they’ve gotten from the trash can. So, the next time you see your pooch greedily eating stinking food scraps, blame his less-developed sense of taste, not him.

#9 Tail Wagging Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Your Dog’s Excited To See You

dog tail

As a dog lover, you probably already know that dogs wag their tail to show their excitement. Well, this is true to some extent, but there’s a lot more about tail wagging that you should know about. For instance, a frightened dog wags his tail to the left, while a happy one wags his tail to the right.

In addition, when the tail wagging is rapid and is accompanied by dilated pupils or tensed muscles, it’s a sign of aggression from a dog. Also, when a dog wags his tail too low, it’s a sign that he’s feeling insecure.

#10 Dogs Love Chasing Cats But It’s Nothing Personal

dog chase cat

The way dogs love chasing cats around can make you believe that they have something personal against these adorable animals. However, this isn’t true at all. Dogs and cats can get along very well and coexist peacefully in the same household; it all depends on the way you introduce them to one another.

It’s important to understand that dogs have a natural hunting instinct that makes them want to chase anything small that moves. This includes cats, rats, their favorite ball, etc. So, the chasing of cats isn’t personal or specific to the cats alone.

#11 All Dogs Are Born Deaf And Blind

newborn puppy

All puppies are born with their eyes and ear canals closed because they’re still in the developing stage. It takes about two weeks for most of them to start responding to different noises and opening their eyes.

Because their eyes aren’t fully grown at birth, puppies are born with their eyes shut. Eye development continues during the next two weeks, necessitating the protection of the eyes from external influences that could harm them.

#12 Your Dog’s Aggressive Behavior Towards Mail Carriers Isn’t Personal

dog mail man

Dogs are naturally protective of their owners and will bark whenever they sense danger. From your dog’s standpoint, the mailman is one of those potential threats that you should be wary of. The fact that they come to your home so often only makes things worse for them. Your dog is smart enough to figure out exactly when the mailman will arrive in your home, and then he’ll start getting worked up in preparation for him.

This canine aggression towards mail carriers isn’t personal, though. Your furry friend is just acting that way because he isn’t familiar with the person delivering your mails and doesn’t trust him.

It’s your responsibility to save these hardworking people from such unjustified aggressive behavior by treating them nicely and talking to them in a friendly manner. When your dog sees that you trust them enough to talk to them, he’ll start loosening up and become friends as well. Another thing that might help is telling the mailman your pet’s name, so he can call the dog’s name when addressing him.

#13 Dogs Have a Sixth Sense

dog sixth sense

Have you ever noticed your pooch acting in a strange manner before something bad happens? If so, you’re not alone. Many dog owners have reported their pets behaving unusually just before a storm. This ability to sense bad things before they happen is due to your dog’s sixth sense.

#14 Dogs Feel Jealous When You Give Attention To Other Dogs

jealous dog

Dogs crave human attention and will do anything within their power to get it. But the attention you give them has to be 100% if you want to keep your dog happy. If you divide your attention with other dogs, expect your canine companion to get jealous and even throw tantrums. The way a dog acts when jealous is similar to that of a two-year-old toddler. This makes perfect sense since the two have a similar level of intelligence.

#15 Dogs Like Going To The Bathroom Along The North-South Axis

dog bathroom

If you’ve always wondered why our canine companions love spinning around before going to the bathroom, here is a possible explanation. Dogs align their bladder and bowel movements according to the Earth’s magnetic fields and like peeing or pooping facing the north-south axis.

However, they actively avoid the east-west direction when relieving themselves – something that has left many researchers and dog lovers baffled.

#16 Dogs Cool Off Mainly Though Panting

dog panting

Human beings sweat through their skin to cool off when it’s sunny and hot. But, this isn’t the case for dogs. They have sweat glands, called merocrine glands, in their paw pads that produce some sweat when they’re feeling hot, but the amount of sweat produced isn’t enough to regulate their body temperature. Their main method of cooling down is by panting.

The next time you see your pooch breathing with his tongue hanging outside and mouth wide open, just know that he’s trying to cool off his body and let him be.

Wrapping Up

These are just some of the interesting facts about dogs that not many people know about. Hopefully, you’ve learned something new from this list that will help you understand your canine companion better.

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