Myth 1: Dogs see in black and white

A common dog myth is that canines see the world in shades of black and white, but this is far from the truth. While dogs do not perceive colours the same way we do, they are not colour blind. Dogs have dichromatic vision which means they see the world primarily in shades of blue and yellow#.

Understanding the nuances of canine vision helps explain why a green ball might be tricky for your dog to see in green grass, or why a red ball might not stand out as much to your dog as it does to us.

Myth 2: Dogs eat grass when they are sick

It’s not unusual to hear people talk about their dog eating grass as a symptom of being unwell. But studies of canine grass eating behaviour^ found that dogs may eat grass for a variety of reasons, including hunger. Nibbling on grass is considered part of normal dog behaviour. However, if you notice your dog consuming excessive amounts of grass, vomiting, or displaying other unusual signs, it’s best to check in with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health concerns (use our online tool to find your closest GapOnly® vet).

Myth 3: If dogs are dragging their bottom, they must have worms

The belief that a dog dragging their bottom, a behaviour sometimes called “scooting”, is always indicative of worms is another common misconception. While it’s true that worms can be a potential cause of an irritated bottom, in adult dogs this behaviour is more likely to be due to other problems including anal gland irritation, allergies, or other discomforts in the anal area.

One way to rule out worms as a potential cause of anal irritation is to ensure your dog is up-to-date with preventative treatments. That way if you notice your dog scooting, it’s more likely to be due to another cause.

Myth 4: If a dog’s nose is dry, they are sick

This one is a little more complicated. A moist nose is normal and can help dogs with their amazing sense of smell. However, a dry nose is not always a sign that something is wrong and in fact, it can be completely normal. A common time for a dog to have a dry nose is when they have just woken up, because while dogs are napping, they are not sniffing so their nose doesn’t need to be wet.

Nose dryness can also be influenced by environmental factors like humidity. That said, there are diseases that can cause a dry nose in dogs including dehydration, fever, allergies, and autoimmune diseases. There are two key take-home messages to keep in mind:

  1. Consider your dog’s nose dryness in context of their apparent health, behaviour, and any other signs of illness.
  2. If your dog’s nose looks abnormal with cracking, excessive tissue, bleeding, swelling or other signs this could mean there’s a problem that should be investigated.

Myth 5: Dogs age seven years for every human year

We’ve all heard the saying that one dog year equals seven human years, but it’s not quite that simple. Dogs age at varying rates, and this is influenced by their size and breed. Studies show smaller dog breeds generally reach maturity more rapidly than larger breeds*. As dogs age, the differences continue, with larger dogs generally aging more quickly than smaller dogs.

In general, this means the life expectancy of small dogs is longer than large or giant breeds. These distinctions in aging make it clear that the simplistic 7-to-1 ratio does not accurately represent the complexity of how dogs age compared to humans.

So there you have it, five common dog myths busted. Dogs are amazing creatures so understanding the truth about their health and behaviour allows us to be better dog parents, so we can continue to live healthy and happy lives together.



#Color vision in the dog, Cambridge University (2009)

^Grass eating patterns in the domestic dog, Canis familiaris, University of New England (date not published)

*AAHA Canine Life Stage Guidelines, American Animal Hospital Assocation (2019)


Supporting research:

Reduction in grass eating behaviours in the domestic dog, Canis familiaris, in response to a mild gastrointestinal disturbance

Caring for senior cats and dogs

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