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  • Ann Hohenhaus: "One human year equals

  • seven dog years."

  • Myth. Myth. We could cut it right there.

  • Carly Fox: "Certain dog breeds are hypoallergenic

  • because of their fur."

  • This is a major, major myth.

  • "Only male dogs hump."

  • Hi, I'm Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, I'm the staff veterinarian

  • at the Animal Medical Center

  • here in New York City.

  • My name is Dr. Carly Fox, and I'm an emergency

  • and critical care staff veterinarian

  • at the Animal Medical Center.

  • Hohenhaus: Today we're debunking dog myths.

  • Fox: I think, honestly,

  • the majority of male dogs

  • do like to hump, but I guess female dogs

  • also can be seen to exhibit that behavior.

  • Hohenhaus: But males hump more than females.

  • Fox: Definitely, yeah. But, I mean,

  • I guess female dogs can also hump,

  • I mean, if they're in the mood.

  • Hohenhaus: Next myth: "Dogs are colorblind."

  • Dogs are partially colorblind.

  • People used to think they were totally colorblind.

  • Dogs have a little bit of ability to see color,

  • and so they see things

  • in kind of blue, yellow, and gray.

  • But they don't see a lot of color.

  • Fox: "Dogs don't like to be hugged."

  • I mean, biggest myth.

  • Physical touch is one of the things that

  • makes a dog a dog, so I can't imagine

  • that dogs don't like to be hugged.

  • I mean, dogs will literally climb onto your laps

  • in order to be hugged, so this is an absolute myth.

  • You can't and shouldn't just

  • go up to any dog and hug it.

  • Dogs still are different, just like people are.

  • Some people are huggers, some people are not.

  • So some dogs don't love that very direct attention

  • from someone perhaps they don't know,

  • so be sure to ask the owner

  • if you can pet or hug their dog,

  • and read the dog's signs.

  • Hohenhaus: Next myth: "One human year

  • equals seven dog years."

  • Myth. Myth. We could cut it right there,

  • but there's some really interesting research

  • behind this question.

  • So, the seven years probably comes

  • when people lived to be about 70

  • and dogs lived to be about 10,

  • so 70 divided by 10 is seven.

  • That's where that number maybe comes from.

  • Nobody knows, it's a myth,

  • so there's no data behind it.

  • Then, a number of years ago,

  • a group of researchers at Purdue University

  • looked at developing a formula for dog age

  • based on the size of the dog

  • and the dog's chronologic age,

  • or how many calendar years it was old.

  • And that formula might actually be the best.

  • This is a myth, but there are ways

  • that you can calculate your dog's age

  • based on a complicated mathematical formula.

  • Next one. Fox: Oh, OK.

  • "You should shave fluffy dogs in the summer."

  • This is mostly a myth.

  • A lot of people will shave their dogs in the summer

  • because they think it will make them cooler.

  • That's not necessarily true.

  • Dogs have adapted to all types of weather,

  • and they actually will shed

  • different coats at different times of the year

  • in order to sort of be

  • comfortable in that weather.

  • Hohenhaus: I think they don't like to be shaved

  • because they feel naked.

  • Fox: Yeah, probably. I mean,

  • why wouldn't they? They have no idea.

  • Hohenhaus: Yeah, they've never not had hair before.

  • So I'm not sure that shaving them

  • is always a good thing either, so myth.

  • "Dog saliva can heal wounds."

  • When's the last time you got bitten by a dog?

  • Fox: Probably, like, last year.

  • Hohenhaus: And it's ugly.

  • It is not healing wounds; it's making wounds worse.

  • This is a total, total myth.

  • Dog bites are really nothing to laugh about,

  • and most veterinarians get bit on the hand,

  • and so we're always worried

  • because we work with our hands,

  • so any dog bite needs to see a veterinarian

  • because it's a potentially infected injury,

  • and you need to go to your physician

  • to have that bite looked at.

  • Fox: "Certain dog breeds are hypoallergenic

  • because of their fur."

  • This is a major, major myth.

  • So, all dogs produce allergens,

  • and some dogs will produce

  • more allergens than others.

  • Dogs that don't shed, like poodles,

  • or smaller dogs that shed less

  • are less likely to produce a large amount of allergen

  • that can cause allergies in the environment,

  • and it really has to do with how often they shed

  • or if they shed at all.

  • But definitely all dogs produce allergens,

  • and all dogs could be allergenic,

  • but some dogs will produce less.

  • Hohenhaus: And now we have a different myth:

  • "You can't teach an old dog new tricks."

  • I think that's an idiom rather than a myth, isn't it?

  • Some famous saying.

  • I think that that is a myth.

  • Training a dog is never easy,

  • and it involves repetition

  • and persistence and rewards

  • in order to successfully train a dog,

  • but I don't think age is the problem.

  • I think we're more of the problem

  • in not sticking with training a dog.

  • Fox: Yes, they actually did a study about this,

  • and they did the same teaching of a trick

  • to young dogs and old dogs,

  • dogs that were six months to a year

  • and then dogs that were 10 years old.

  • And they actually found out

  • that both sets of dogs can learn a new trick.

  • However, the dogs that were older,

  • it took them twice as long to learn it.

  • So they can learn it, it's just something

  • that requires more time,

  • and that's definitely something that

  • you are going to have to commit to.

  • But it's possible,

  • and they definitely can learn new tricks.

  • Hohenhaus: "Dogs feel guilt."

  • I think that humans want the dog to feel guilt

  • for making a mess, chewing the furniture,

  • taking the fringe off the sofa,

  • destroying the pillows,

  • 'cause we want them to be like us.

  • So, I don't think dogs

  • necessarily can really feel guilt,

  • but since they're not talking,

  • it's really hard to know if that's true or not.

  • Fox: Our dogs will display guilt-like behavior

  • when they do something wrong,

  • like, they'll put their ears back, they'll hide,

  • they'll look very guilty.

  • But I think in most cases,

  • that's really a reaction to you

  • and your tone of voice

  • or your anger at them

  • and your body language

  • rather than true guilt.

  • Hohenhaus: One of the reasons

  • that dogs have been

  • so effective in integrating

  • themselves into our lives,

  • the lives of humans for millennia,

  • is because they are very good

  • at picking up on social cues.

  • Fox: "When dogs wag their tails,

  • it means they're happy."

  • I would say in a lot of times

  • when dogs wag their tails,

  • it seems like they are very happy.

  • However, tail wagging is a behavior in dogs

  • that can mean many different things,

  • not necessarily happiness.

  • Hohenhaus: And I think the wag matters.

  • So you've got a dog whose tail is quivering like this,

  • that is not a happy wag.

  • Think about the Labrador, swish, swish, swish, swish,

  • they're pretty much always happy.

  • And then there's the dog who their tail quivers

  • and then it curls under.

  • That's not a happy wag either.

  • That's a "I'm really upset" wag.

  • So in addition to looking at the ears

  • and the eyes and the body posture,

  • ask yourself, what kind of wag is this dog doing?

  • Because that's gonna give you an indication

  • on the mood of the beast.

  • Fox: "Human food is bad for dogs."

  • Well, there are very particular

  • types of human food

  • that are definitively bad for dogs.

  • For example, chocolate is obviously bad for dogs.

  • Grapes, raisins are toxic to dogs.

  • Onions, garlic, those things are bad for dogs.

  • However, human food in general

  • is not necessarily bad for dogs.

  • We do wanna always limit the quantity

  • of human food for dogs.

  • I usually tell people less than 10% of their diet

  • should be human food.

  • Just human food in moderation

  • is not bad for dogs.

  • Hohenhaus: Well, dog food is

  • good balanced meal for a dog.

  • I interpret it to mean, should I cook for my dog?

  • And that is a bad idea because what we eat

  • is not a balanced diet for a dog.

  • And so home-cooked diets run a huge risk

  • of being deficient in nutrients

  • that are critical for your dog,

  • mostly deficient in calcium phosphorus.

  • So cooking for your dog, unless you've had a diet

  • made by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist,

  • is a bad idea.

  • "Dog mouths are cleaner than human mouths."

  • No. Human bites are

  • supposedly worse,

  • although we don't see a lot of human bites

  • at the Animal Medical Center.

  • But all of us have been bitten by a dog,

  • and we know that those

  • can get really badly infected.

  • What I've read is that if a

  • human bites another human,

  • it's awful, it's a terrible infection that you get.

  • So, no, I don't know that either is better.

  • Fox: Dog mouths and human mouths

  • are actually,

  • it's interesting,

  • they're sort of similar.

  • Both humans and dogs have over 200 types

  • of bacteria in their mouth.

  • However, because

  • disease is not really transmissible

  • between dogs and humans,

  • or there's not that much zoonotic potential

  • between dog saliva and human saliva,

  • they're clean in that, you know,

  • making out with your dog,

  • you won't contract the common cold,

  • but making out with a person, perhaps you can.

  • So, in that case, they sort of are cleaner.

  • However, they still have tons and tons of bacteria,

  • just like people mouths do.

  • Hohenhaus: "Dogs are afraid of their reflection."

  • This is...just no.

  • Just Google "puppies in mirrors,"

  • and you'll see that dogs love,

  • they're so enamored of that other dog

  • that they never met before.

  • They're really cute.

  • "Dogs can't digest grains."

  • So, this is a major, major myth.

  • Dogs can absolutely digest grains.

  • And not only can they digest grains,

  • but recent research shows

  • that they need grain in their diet.

  • Dogs on a grain-free diet are predisposed to

  • developing a very serious type of heart disease

  • called DCM, or dilated cardiomyopathy.

  • And dogs that are on a grain-inclusive diet

  • are not as likely to develop this heart disease.

  • So if your dog is on a grain-free diet,