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Pawesome Facts About Dogs

March 1, 2024

Did you know that our canine companions have been by our sides for as long as 30,000 years? We certainly learned a lot about Man’s Best Friend in all that time. Of course, we’re still learning new things about our furry pals every year. In this article, a local Newburgh, NY veterinarian lists some interesting dog facts.

Puppy Popularity

The Labrador Retriever may be the most popular breed in the world. This super cute, cheerful pooch held the top spot in the AKC’s ranks of doggy popularity for over 31 years. His winning streak ended in 2022, when he lost it to the plucky French Bulldog. (Sorry, buddy!)

Dreaming Of Bacon …

Does your dog sometimes twitch, make noises, or move his paws when he sleeps? Yes, Fido is actually dreaming! All (or at least most) dogs dream, though puppies and seniors seem to dream the most. As to what Fido is dreaming about, well, we suspect that squirrels, bacon, toys, treats, and possibly the neighbor’s cat are in the mix. You probably make appearances as well!

A Paws In Time

Studies suggest that dogs do have a sense of time. That would explain why Fido always seems to know when it’s time for a walk, a meal, or bed.

Physical Facts

A few interesting notes about dogs’ bodies: The average dog has a body temperature of 101.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Fido has 42 teeth and 321 bones, and his field of vision covers 250 degrees. (In comparison, ours is only about 180.)

Dogs Can Also Catch Yawns

It’s no secret that yawning is contagious. It turns out that Fido can also catch ‘the yawns’ from you. According to research, this happens even more often when the pup knows the person yawning. 

It seems that yawns are contagious among other animal species as well. 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.

Pawsitively Amazing!

Dogs’ paws serve a variety of functions, aside from just helping Fido get from the couch to his food bowl and back. They absorb shock, provide traction, and provide information about the surface he’s walking on.

  • Fido’s cute toe beans are covered in very thick skin, which offers protection from heat and cold. However, they aren’t entirely weatherproof: you will need to be careful to keep your pet off very hot surfaces.
  • Fido sometimes licks his paws to relieve stress. Think of this as a doggy version of nail biting or foot bouncing. (Note: licking the paws can also be a sign that Fido’s feet are hurting. If your pooch is doing this frequently, ask your Newburgh, NY veterinarian about it.)
  • One study found that three out of four dogs use one paw more than the other. Nearly 60 percent of those were right-pawed, while the rest were lefties.
  • Dogs’ paw pads look like teddy bears when viewed upside-down.

Puppy Love

Dogs have a special way of knowing when we’re upset or sad. Many pups stick closer to their humans when they sense something wrong. As it turns out, this provides both physical and emotional benefits. Snuggling with Fido can lower both your blood pressure and your pet’s!

A Different Breed

The AKC currently recognizes 201 breeds. The newest one to join its ranks is the Lancashire Heeler. The oldest breed in the world is The Saluki, a lean Sighthound similar to a Greyhound or Whippet. Their remains have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs dating back to 2100 B.C.

The Saluki has been around for a very long time, but actually wasn’t one of the original breeds to join the AKC. Those were mostly hunting dogs. That list includes the Irish Setter, English Setter, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Clumber Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Pointer, Sussex Spaniel, Irish Water Spaniel, and Gordon Setter.

Doggy Intelligence

The average dog can learn over 100 words and phrases. Some pooches are able to master over 250 words and commands!  

It’s All In The Nose

There is no way we can talk about fun dog facts without mentioning Fido’s adorable snoot! Dogs have incredible senses of smell. In fact, your pet’s nose isn’t just super cute; it’s also pretty amazing!

  • Fido’s cute nose can have as many as 300 million scent receptors. In comparison, we have a measly 5 million scent receptors in ours.
  • Every dog has a unique nose print. As with human fingerprints, no two are alike. If your dog leaves nose art on your windows, yYou have some one-of-a-kind masterpieces in your possession. (Tip: Clean your windows with white vinegar and newspaper if you don’t want to keep your pup’s “paintings.”) 
  • Dogs can exhale through both their mouth and nose.
  • Canine noses secrete a special type of mucus. This substance absorbs chemicals from scent molecules. When Fido licks his nose, he’ll get more information about what he’s smelling. This is also why your pet’s nose is often wet.
  • The area of Fido’s brain that processes smells is about 40 times larger than ours.
  • A dog’s sense of smell can be impacted if he is panting or really hot. In fact, being hot or tired can cause your pet’s sense of smell to diminish by as much as 40%!
  • Man’s Best Friend can smell things as much as 100,000 times better than we can.
  • Fido’s nose is so astute that he can smell the equivalent of a half-teaspoon of sugar in an Olympic-sized pool.
  • Dogs are able to smell separately from each side of their nose. Think of this as an olfactory 3D. Fido uses information from each nostril to pinpoint the location of a scent’s source.

Covering Tracks? Not So Much

Does your dog sometimes kick dirt or leaves to cover his waste? Many people assume that Fido is trying to cover his scent, as cats do. However, Fido is actually using the scent glands in his paws to claim his territory, not to cover his scent.

A Pooch By Any Other Name

It’s interesting to learn about the backstory of our different canine companions. In many cases, the origin of a breed is reflected in its name. However, that isn’t always the case. For instance, Australian Shepherds originated in the United States, not Australia, and French Poodles came from Germany. The Labrador Retriever isn’t from Labrador, either.

This one isn’t confined to dogs. Guinea pigs are not from Guinea, nor are they pigs.

A Faithful Friend

Our canine companions are often praised and cherished for their love and loyalty. Dogs have driven themselves to exhaustion for their human friends. Fido has even risked—and sometimes sacrificed—his life for us! That’s truly amazing.

A Day In The Life

As a secret nod to his Shetland Sheepdog, Beatle Paul McCartney included a supersonic note that only dogs can hear at the end of the Beatles song ‘A Day In The Life.’ Play it for your pup, and see what he does!

Feel free to contact us any time if you have questions about your dog’s health or care. As your local Newburgh, NY pet hospital, we’re here to help!