18 Common Dog Myths That Are Completely False

Written By Jill Taylor

Dogs have been our loyal companions for centuries, and as a result, many false myths about them have appeared. There are too many examples to list, but the following 18 incorrect things often said about dogs are by far the most common.

A Dry Nose Means a Sick Dog

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It’s a common misconception that a dry nose means a sick dog, with Business Insider explaining that it’s actually a sign of dehydration. A dog with a consistently dry nose, paired with other symptoms, may indeed be sick, but a dry nose by itself is not actually a sign of bad health.

Dogs See in Black and White

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Contrary to the old myth that dogs see only in black and white, dogs see colors, though not as clearly as humans. They see the world in shades of blue and yellow but cannot see the range of colors from green to red.

Old Dogs Can’t Learn New Tricks

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The saying that old dogs can’t learn new tricks is misleading; older dogs are fully capable of learning new things! They might need more time and patience compared to younger dogs, but the key to success is consistent, gentle training that matches their strength and speed.

A Wagging Tail Means a Happy Dog

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While a wagging tail can mean your dog is happy, it can also show many other emotions, including anxiety, upset, or even aggression. To understand how a dog feels, you must read all of its behaviors and body language, not just the tail!

Dogs Eat Grass When They’re Sick

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Many people believe the myth that dogs eat grass when they are sick to make them vomit if they have a stomach upset. However, grass-eating is normal for dogs and doesn’t necessarily indicate illness. According to Psychology Today, this could stem from innate habits formed by their wolf ancestors.

Table Scraps are Good for Dogs

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Contrary to popular belief, feeding dogs table scraps is not good for them, as it can lead to an imbalance in their nutrition and cause health issues like obesity and organ problems. No one wants that! A properly balanced dog food diet is much better for your canine’s health.

More Baths Mean a Cleaner Dog

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Overbathing can harm a dog’s skin, so the myth that more baths make your dog cleaner is not true. In fact, overbathing can actually lead to dryness and irritation! The ideal bath amount depends on the dog’s breed, coat, and lifestyle, so asking your vet for advice is the best thing to do.

If a Dog’s Tail is Tucked, It Means It’s Scared

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A tucked tail can mean your dog is scared, but it can also mean plenty of other things. It can show submission, not feeling safe, or even pain. Looking at the context and other body language cues is important to pinpoint how a dog is feeling clearly, just like with a wagging tail.

Dogs Naturally Hate Cats

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The idea that dogs and cats are natural enemies is not true. American Kennel Club states that while the two species have their differences, plenty of dogs and cats become friends, even napping and playing together. This can happen when the two animals are properly introduced and socialized.

Garlic Keeps Dog Fleas Away

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Garlic is sometimes said to keep dog fleas away or repel them, but it’s actually harmful to dogs and can lead to toxic reactions. Always choose a vet-approved flea treatment rather than relying on potentially unsafe home remedies that you find on the internet!

Indoor Dogs Don’t Need to be Vaccinated

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Some people think that dogs who spend all their time indoors don’t need to be vaccinated. However, this is yet another myth; dogs can still come into contact with diseases through germ-covered objects, other pets, or when they do go outside for walks or playtime, so get your dogs jabbed!

You Can’t Teach a Small Dog Not to Bark

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All dogs, even small ones, can be trained not to bark, disproving the myth that small dogs can’t be taught not to bark. Trying to figure out why your dog is barking is the first step to putting a stop to excessive barking. Then, remember to follow through with consistent, positive training methods.

Dogs Only Sweat Through Their Feet

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Suggesting that dogs only sweat through their feet is not true. Dr. David Marlin explains that dogs actually sweat all over their bodies, just like us humans. Some other ways that dogs cool down are through panting and sweating a small amount through the pads of their feet.

One Human Year Equals Seven Dog Years

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The idea that one year for us humans is the same as seven years for a dog is inaccurate! In fact, a study highlighted by the Independent shows that some large dog breeds age ten times faster than us humans! In some cases, certain smaller breeds can live longer than larger breeds.

Dogs Smell Fear

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Despite the common myth, dogs don’t smell fear…how would that work?! Dogs are certainly very sensitive to human emotions and can pick up on subtle signs of fear, such as body language, but they don’t literally smell fear. Their reactions are based on reading each person and their behavior.

A Happy Dog is a Healthy Dog

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A dog appearing happy doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Dogs are often good at hiding pain or illness, just like humans, so regular check-ups with a vet are the only way to know if your dog really is healthy. These are important for ensuring your dog’s well-being and ensuring it remains healthy.

All Dogs Know How to Swim

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Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs know how to swim. Some breeds, especially those with large, heavier bodies and short legs, may struggle in water. Make sure to introduce your dog to water slowly, and if you are unsure about your dog’s capabilities, use a well-fitting life jacket.

Dogs Prefer to Be Alone When They Are Sick

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Last but not least, while some dogs may seek solitude when they’re not feeling well, it’s a myth that this is true of all dogs. Some dogs may look for comfort and prefer to be with their owners. This is why it’s so important to watch your dog’s behavior and give it the care and comfort it needs!

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