Debunking dog myths you may have been told are true.

So today we’ve got a dog myths quiz to test your random canine knowledge. See how you score. You have a 50/50 chance of getting these right, so pretty good odds if you need to have a guess. Bonus points for also knowing the reasons why with a maximum score of 2 points each, 20 points total.

Share this quiz with your dog-loving friends to compare results.

Are you ready? Fact or Fiction? *Score each with a tick or cross and reason why.

1. Over a thousand stray dogs were put to sleep in 2018 in the UK?
2. A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s mouth?
3. Does a cold, wet nose mean a dog is healthy?
4. Dogs can catch a cold?
5. Dogs don’t have sweat glands?
6. Dogs are colour blind?
7. I should brush my dog’s teeth?
8. Do dogs cry when they feel pain?
9. Spaying and neutering is good for a dog’s health?
10. Does a wagging tail indicate happiness?


Let’s work through the answers…

Over a thousand stray dogs were put to sleep in 2018 in the UK? Tragically, this is a fact. In 2018, an estimated total of 1,462 stray dogs were put to sleep across the UK. That’s approximately 3% of all the 56,042 stray dogs in the UK. Of these 261 were put to sleep due to ill health, 412 due to behavioural problems, 82 under the Dangerous Dogs Act and sadly 25 were unclaimed or no-one wanted to rescue them. On a more positive note, the UK is moving in the right direction with the number of dogs euthanised decreasing every year. You can read the full Dogs Trust Survey Report 2017-18 which provided these statistics here: Does a cold, wet nose mean a dog is healthy? Fiction. Dogs keep their noses cold and wet by licking them. You can tell this because when a dog wakes up their nose is typically dryer and warmer as they haven’t been licking it in their sleep. So the temperature and moistness of a dog’s nose isn’t the best indicator of health. Sometimes a dog’s nose can be dry due to allergies. Sunburn can also affect the coolness and dryness of the nose. If your dog’s nose is unusually hot, it’s a good idea to check their temperature and call your vet if your dog also has a fever or is showing any other symptoms of concern. A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s mouth? Highly unlikely. Dogs have been found by Harvard Researchers to have 600 types of bacteria in their mouths a similar amount to people! Gum disease is the most diagnosed problem in dogs and this nearly always leads to tooth loss. Unlike human dentists, dogs don’t have dentists that do root canals, fill cavities or put crowns on their teeth due to the cost and stress caused, particularly affecting older dogs. Similar to humans, oral bacteria can access interior organs through open gums and contribute to serious health problems, such as lung/heart/kidney disease.

Dogs can catch a cold?

Fiction. This isn’t true as despite similar symptoms, dogs can’t get the same common cold that we can. What’s often confused with a human cold is their sneezing, watery eyes and nose. However, these symptoms are often accompanied by a persistent cough which sounds similar to a honking goose with retching. These are classic kennel cough symptoms – an upper airways infection caught through saliva droplets. In most cases dogs will recover from kennel cough without treatment in 3 weeks. In some cases antibiotics will be needed from the vet.

Dogs don’t have sweat glands?

Fiction. Dogs do have sweat glands called apocrine glands, associated with every hair follicle on their body. However, dogs only produce sweat from areas not covered with fur such as their paws and nose. Look out for damp footprints from your dog walking on hard surfaces in the summer.


Dogs are colour blind?

Fiction. Dogs see colour, but just can’t see as many colours as we can. They have just two kinds of colour-detecting cells within their retinas unlike most people who have three cones. Neitz’s research demonstrates, ‘For dogs, what most people see as red most likely appears to be dark brown, while green, yellow and orange all look “yellowish.” Something that looks blue-green to humans — say, the ocean or a pool of water — looks gray to a dog, and purple objects just look blue.’

I should brush my dog’s teeth?

Fact. It is a good idea to brush your dog’s teeth to prevent the build-up of plaque and the potential for gum disease and tooth decay like in humans. It’s recommended to brush your dog’s teeth at home at least two or three times per week using pet toothpaste rather than human as this can upset a dog’s stomach.

Dogs cry when they feel pain?

Not as a rule. Symptoms tend to be more subtle. Signs that may indicate your dog is in pain include breathing changes, snapping or nipping, heart and pulse changes, changes to the pupils of the eyes, squinting, pawing at their eyes, posture changes such as a rigid stance or ‘prayer position’ with front legs on the floor. The combination of these signs depends on where a dog is experiencing pain and how severe it is.

Spaying and neutering is good for a dog’s health?

Fact. Neutering male dogs prevents testicular cancer and reduces the risk of prostate disease. Spaying a female dog helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors which are malignant or cancerous in about 50% of dogs. ‘Spaying female dogs eliminates the risk of a womb infections called pyometra. This has been shown to affect up to 25% of un-neutered bitches and can be fatal.’ Blue Cross.

For female dogs:
• Reduces her chances of developing breast cancer.
• Prevents her from developing a potentially life-threatening infection of the womb called pyometra.
For male dogs:
• Stops him from developing testicular cancer.
• Reduces his risk of developing prostate disease.
• Means he’s less likely to get an aggressive response when he meets other dogs
• Reduces behaviour like urine marking and humpingBlue Cross article:

A wagging tail indicates happiness?

It’s true that wagging tails can indicate a happy dog, however it can also be a sign of fear and anxiety. Look at the dog’s overall body language to determine which is true.

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Author: Karen White