6 Facts About Dogs You May Not Know

Have you been deemed the dog expert in your friend group? Do you love fun facts? Do you need more topics as conversation starters for social situations? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, we’ve got you covered. Read on for some interesting facts about dogs from the Ambleside Animal Hospitalteam—they will wow your friends and party-goers, and make you appreciate more that your dog is special. 

#1: A dog’s nose is like a human’s fingerprint

Like a human’s highly individualized fingerprint—estimated to be one in 64 billion—dog nose prints are unique, too. Every dog’s nose has its own pattern, meaning no two dogs have the same nose.

#2: Dog noses are wet for a reason

We all know that familiar feeling of a cold, wet, boop from our pup’s nose, but did you ever wonder why a dog’s nose is wet? Your dog’s nose is moist to help them absorb chemicals in their environment, which they can then lick with their tongue, to better understand the smell. Moistness also helps them regulate their body temperature by dissipating excess heat—similar to panting. 

#3: Dogs dream

Dogs and humans have the same type of slow-wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM), and dream during the REM stage. If you’ve ever seen your dog twitching or moving their paws while sleeping, you may have wondered what they are dreaming about. Although evidence suggests that dogs do dream, we do not yet understand what they dream about. 

#4: Dogs can breathe and sniff at the same time

Dogs rely on their sense of smell in many situations, like finding food, avoiding danger, and communicating with other canines. Unlike humans, a dog’s nose is specially designed to allow them to separate air. Some air goes to the olfactory sensing area (i.e., the area that distinguishes scents), while the rest is used solely for breathing. This means that smells can stay in their nose at the same time that air moves in and out of their lungs. This is something humans cannot do—and it’s highly entertaining to watch people try! 

#5: Dogs are not colorblind

Many people think dogs see only in black and white, but their world is much more colorful, although they cannot see as many colors as humans. However, they likely don’t see like humans. Differences between humans and dogs include:

  • Rods versus cones — The retina is made of light-sensing cells, including rods and cones. Rods catch movement and work in low light, while cones control color perception and work in bright light. Dogs have more rods than cones in their retina, while humans have more cones than rods. 
  • Types of cones — Humans have three cone types, while dogs only have two. Each cone type registers a different light wavelength. Dogs lack the red-green cones, which means they can distinguish yellow and blue, but see red and green items as grey or brown. This explains why your dog may get excited about a yellow toy, but have no interest in the same toy in orange or red. 

#6: Dog ownership brings health benefits

A pet’s companionship can help manage loneliness and depression by providing their owners more opportunities to get outside and socialize. Dog ownership also brings major physical health benefits—regular walking or playing with pets can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels. Owning a pet is good for your soul, and good for your health. 

Because of a dog’s acute sense of smell—dogs have 10,000 to 100,000 times a human’s sense of smell—they can be trained to detect medical conditions in humans. Conditions they can sniff out include:

  • Cancer — Studies have shown dogs can sniff out a variety of cancer types, including breast, prostate, bladder, and lung.
  • Low blood sugar — Dogs can detect isoprene, a common natural chemical found in human breath that rises significantly when a person’s blood sugar is low. Organizations train dogs to alert their owner of the condition, and place them with insulin-dependent diabetics. 
  • Seizures — Dogs can detect a scent linked to epileptic seizures and alert their owner to take medication, or to move to a safer location before the seizure begins.

We could talk about dogs all day—in fact, we do! With these interesting dog facts, now you can work your dog into any conversation. And, you never know when these random dog facts will help you win a trivia game! At Ambleside Animal Hospital, we especially love talking about your dog’s health and wellbeing. Contact our veterinary team to schedule your dog’s regular wellness examination.