Old Wives' Tales About Dogs: Dispelled

Is it true that seven human years are equivalent to one dog year? Can dogs really smell cancer? Here, we debunk some commonly held canine myths.


Dog Age

Though many believe one human year equals seven dog years, this is a common misconception. When your dog reaches 2 years of age, it will age about five dog years to every human year in smaller to medium-sized breeds, and one human year for every six to seven dog years in larger breeds.


Nose Color

A dog's nose can actually change color in the winter months due to a condition called snow nose (or winter nose). In winter months, owners of black-nosed dogs may notice their pets' noses turning a pinkish color, which is believed to be caused by an enzyme deficiency. Any sudden changes should be examined by a veterinarian.


Dog Doctor

The ability of dogs to detect cancer via scent receptors ("their sniffer") is, in fact, a truth. A German research report revealed that dogs are able to find early-stage lung cancer, and countless reports have revealed that canines can sniff a cancerous growth in humans long before the growth is visible with the naked human eye.


Tail Wagging

When a dog wags its tail, it is not necessarily a sign of friendliness. Dogs wag when they are fearful, disconcerted, aroused and more. Watch its body language, such as posture and ear positioning, and always ask a dog's owner about petting it first.


Eating Grass

Dogs that eat grass are not necessarily sick. Some dogs may like the taste, but other theories suggest their bodies might instinctively crave nutrients that are lacking in their regular diet.


Guilt Trip

Finding a puddle of piddle in the house may not be pleasant for humans, but dogs do not feel guilt when humans disapprove. Instead, they are reacting to the emotional response of their owner, regardless of when the accident occurred.


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