If Our Pets Could Talk – October 2022

After writing this pet column for almost 12 years now I was looking for new things to learn about dogs that I did not know and thought you might find what I found to be interesting also. So, the following is sort of a dog trivia column. The more we learn the small things about our dogs, I think we will better understand them.

Dogs sweat through their paws only not any other part of their body. Because their paws are not large enough to cool them down, that is why they pant to ventilate and exchange heat.  Paws also serve another function – dogs have glands in their paws. When they scratch to cover something, they are leaving their scent there to mark their territory. 

Dogs have a ‘dominate’ hemisphere like humans. They can be right-pawed or left-pawed, and some can be ambidextrous – meaning they do not favor either side. Unlike humans, who are more likely to be right-handed, dogs are pretty likely to be a dominate right paw, left paw dominance, or no particular preference.

Whiskers help dogs ‘see’ in the dark. Dog whiskers are full of nerves and send sensory messages to their brains. The whiskers help them move around and orient themselves in tight places, especially when visibility is low.

Dogs are not totally colorblind. Dogs cannot see the same colors as humans, but they are not colorblind. They have two colors receptors, while humans have three.  A dog sees the world through everything in shades and a combination of yellow and blue.

Dog noses have  unique  patterns similar to the human fingerprint. In April 2021 the IAMS dog food company launched an App that uses this fact to help reunite an owner with their lost dog. You download NOSEiD, scan the dog’s nose and  then upload it to their database. If a person finds a lost dog they can use this App to search for the owner.

Smaller dogs can hear sounds in a higher frequency than big dogs.  Dogs  in  general can hear much higher frequency sounds at two times that of the human ear.  That is because the smaller the mammal’s head the higher frequencies can be picked up. The sound frequencies produced during storms [and cohetes] can actually be painful to the dog’s ears. Also the static electricity that accumulates in their fur due to change in barometric pressure can be unpleasant. So when a dog  is acting frantic during storms, it is not that they are unsure of what’s happening, they may be experiencing a painful physical reaction.

Dogs  have 18 muscles  that move their ears, which is important for picking up sounds. Plus, your dog’s ears can give you a clue as to how they’re feeling: If  they’re  lying flat back against their head, your dog  may be scared; if they’re pointing straight up, they’re alert.

Dogs do dream as they sleep, and scientists think that they dream similarly to us and replay moments from their day. You can tell that a dog is dreaming if they are twitching their legs or bark in their sleep, and smaller dogs have more dreams than big dogs.

Dogs can help their owners live longer. Not only do dog owners tend to live longer than people without dogs, do -owners are also more likely to survive and recover from major health events, such as heart attack or stroke. Studies  have  shown  interacting with dogs can boost your production of ‘happy hormones’  such as oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine,” says the American Heart Association. “This can lead to a greater sense of well-being and help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. And having a dog can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, ease depression and improve fitness.”

Always something new to learn about our family dog.

For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com

Jackie Kellum

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