5 Fascinating Facts About Dogs You (Probably) Never Knew

Photo: Joe Cook

To put it simply, dogs are awesome. Whether they’re asking for your food, barking at their leash to convince you to take them on a walk, being loyal companions and reliable workers, or simply greeting you when you get home, dogs do all of the little things that put smiles on faces around the world. Here are some strange and interesting facts that you probably don’t know about your dog…

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Photo: Nikita Mehrotra

Why do dogs poop where they do?

And you thought that dogs just poop anywhere and everywhere they like, but no!  Researchers tested the poop habits on 70 dogs, from 37 different breeds, and found that the dogs preferred to poop when their bodies were aligned in a north-south direction, as determined by the geomagnetic field. Many experiments were done in order to conform this. Scientists from Czech University of Life Sciences said, “We measured the direction of the body axis in 70 dogs of 37 breeds during defecation (1,893 observations) and urination (5,582 observations) over a two-year period. After complete sampling, we sorted the data according to the geomagnetic conditions prevailing during the respective sampling periods. Our analysis of the raw data indicates that dogs not only prefer N-S direction, but at the same time they also avoid E-W direction.” While this may just seem completely coincidental, vet researchers of the study took into account various other factors such as sunlight, rain, weather, and the surrounding area, and this was the only factor they found that was consistent with their findings.

Study proves dogs poop according to the Earths Magnetic field, Megan McCormick
Study proves dogs poop according to the Earths Magnetic field, Photo: Megan McCormick

Why do dogs have whiskers?

Whiskers are highly sensitive to subtle changes in air currents. They serve as receptors for important information about the size, shape and speed of nearby objects. This can also help dogs “see” objects more clearly, even in the dark. Being able to feel vibrations in the air also helps dogs sense approaching dangers.

Photo by seeks2dream, humansfordogs.com
Photo by seeks2dream, humansfordogs.com

One surprising health benefit for humans

It is hypothesised that dogs may be able to detect cancer. According to a 1989 case study in The Lancet, a patient reported that her dog would constantly sniff at a mole on her leg, and once even tried to bite the lesion off. Prompted by this, she had her mole checked out and found it to be a malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer). In another research experiment, a trained eight-year-old black Labrador named Panda correctly detected colorectal cancer in 33 out of 37 samples of people’s breath and stool that scientists had collected. According to the article in the journal Gut, Panda appeared to be highly accurate at detecting early-stage colorectal cancer. To find out more about how this works, check out this link.

Linus, a 2-year old German Shepard who is a part of the cancer detection team. Linus also works on the Duke team of breast cancer detection dogs.
Linus, a 2-year old German Shepard who is a part of the cancer detection team. Linus also works on the Duke team of breast cancer detection dogs.

Are dogs colourblind?

No! Normal human eyes contain three kinds of colour-detecting cells called cones, and by comparing the way these cones are each stimulated by incoming light, our brains distinguish red wavelengths from green and blue wavelengths from yellow. Dogs eyes, like those of most other mammals, contain just two kinds of cones. These enable their brains to distinguish blue from yellow, but not red from green.

Dogs are not colourblind, corgidogs.org
Dogs are not colourblind. Photo: corgidogs.org

Dogs’ sense of smell is 10,000 times stronger than that of humans

Even though a dog’s brain is only one tenth of the size of a human brain, the part that controls smell is 40 times larger than a human. Ever wondered why your dogs nose is wet? The mucus on a dog’s nose actually helps it smell by capturing scent particles. When a dog’s nose is dry they may lick it to aid them in scent.

7 amazing facts about your dog’s sense of smell, dogster
Photo: dogster

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