Most people are aware of the basic facts about domestic dogs. For example, they're the descendants of wolves and have excellent sniffers. But amongst all the common knowledge about our canines, there are plenty of interesting doggy facts that you might not know. Click through for 10 tidbits about your furriest friend that may surprise you.
DOGS CAN SMELL DISEASES
We all know that dogs have a powerful sense of smell, but did you know that a dog can smell cancer in humans? A study from 2006 shows that even dogs with just a little training can sniff out some forms of breast and lung cancer in human subjects. And they’re highly accurate, too. The same study shows that dogs can detect these cancers with a sensitivity of 88-97 percent.
DOGS ARE AFFECTED BY SECONDHAND SMOKE
You would never think to smoke cigarettes in the same room as your infant or child, but would you think twice about smoking with your dog in the room? Your pooch is just as likely to be adversely affected by secondhand smoke, which has been associated with nasal and lung cancer in dogs.
DOGS CAN READ YOUR FACE
Unlike wild dogs and wolves, our domestic friends look to their humans' faces for cues and to pick up emotion. Scientists have been studying how dogs and humans interact for years. Centuries of living side by side have made us highly attuned to each other. In fact, a recent study suggests that dogs can understand a smile by their human counterparts. Researchers recognize that this is likely because a smile is usually paired with something positive, like a treat or a pat on the head.
DOG JAWS EXERT HUNDREDS OF POUNDS OF PRESSURE
It varies by breed, but on average a dog’s jaws can exert between 150-400 pounds of pressure. That’s compared to 120 pounds for humans and 600 pounds for a lion. The larger the dog, the wider the jaw. A Mastiff, for example, can bite down with 552 pounds of pressure.
DOGS CAN FEEL ENVY
Did you know that dogs can sense inequity when it comes to treatment by their canine and human peers? A recent study involved having one dog watch another dog perform a trick and receive a treat for doing so. When the spectator dog was asked to do the trick, he was not given a treat. After that, he refused to perform the trick. Jealousy has also been observed between mother dogs and their litter if her human owners show more attention and love toward the puppies.
DOG NOSES ARE LIKE FINGERPRINTS
Just as no two humans have the same fingerprints, no two dogs have the same nose prints. Each adorable little bump and ridge is unique to your dog. While there are companies that will store your dog’s nose print information in a database, the best way to identify your dog is still by using a microchip. Nose prints are not widely used to identify pets the same way that fingerprints are used to identify humans.
THUNDERSTORMS CAN HURT YOUR DOG
You might think your canine is afraid of thunderstorms because they’re loud and scary, but there can be a number of other factors at play that cause this reaction. Air pressure often changes during thunderstorms. A dog’s sensitive ears may be hurt if it’s a particularly severe storm. The best thing to do is be aware of this fact and make sure your pup is as comfortable as possible.
INSTINCTS CAUSE DOGS TO CIRCLE BEFORE LAYING DOWN
You might have noticed that your pup walks in circles before laying down. This often-adorable behavior dates back to your dog’s wild days, when canines had to make their own beds out of the grass or dirt. Even though this wild behavior has mostly been bred out of our dogs, they still retain some ancient instincts.
DOGS ARE HOTTER THAN PEOPLE
We all know the ideal human temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit — anything above that means fever time. For your furry friend, however, 101-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit is healthy, with smaller dogs having even hotter bodies. If you notice a temperature upwards of 104 or below 99, however, it may mean your dog is sick. Get the pooch to the vet immediately.
Next: What Type of Pet Parent Are You?
DOGS ARE THE MOST DIVERSE-LOOKING MAMMALS
Thanks to centuries of selective breeding by humans, dogs are the most diverse-looking mammals in existence. From a barrel-chested Bulldog to a towering Great Dane, dogs originated from wolves. So next time you pick up your Pomeranian, remember that deep down below that adorable fluff is the genetic makeup of a feared predator.
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