11 Unmasking Common Myths About Dogs: Separating Fact from Fiction

11 Common Myths About Dogs

Last Updated on January 24, 2024 by Fumipets

Unmasking 11 Common Myths About Dogs: Separating Fact from Fiction


Dogs, our loyal companions for centuries, often find themselves at the center of various myths and misconceptions. In the realm of pet ownership, these myths can shape our understanding of canine behavior, needs, and overall well-being. In our pursuit of providing the best care for our furry friends, it becomes crucial to unravel the truths behind common dog-related myths.

Join us as we embark on a journey to dispel misconceptions, ensuring that our beloved canine companions receive the care and understanding they deserve.

Common Myths About Dogs

There are all sorts of myths about dogs out there. You may have heard some of them before, and others might surprise you. We will explore some of the most common ones and set the record straight. From why you should use dog grooming products and not human ones to how often you should bathe your pup, read on to learn the truth about these popular myths!

1. Dogs need a bath once a month.

This is one of the most common myths about dogs out there. In reality, how often you should bathe your dog depends on several factors, including their coat type, skin condition, activity level, and more. For example, if your dog has a thick coat, you may only need to bathe them every few months. On the other hand, if they have sensitive skin or skin conditions, you may need to bathe them more often, but with a special shampoo that provides allergy relief for dogs. Bathing too often will strip their beautiful coat of natural oils, so be sure to consult your veterinarian or groomer before deciding on a bathing schedule.

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2. Grooming products for humans can be used on dogs.

This is a myth that could actually harm your dog. Human shampoos and conditioners are not formulated for dogs. They can strip away the natural oils in their coat, leading to dryness and irritation. Instead, stick to dog-specific grooming products designed to be gentle on their skin and coat. And while you’re at it, toss some salmon oil for dogs into their routine to help make their coat nice and shiny!

3. Going in the backyard to do their business is enough exercise.

Did you get healthy and fit from walking into and out of the bathroom in your house? No? Wow, shocking. Given that, it’s probably safe to assume your dog feels the same way. Unfortunately, just because they have a backyard to run and play in doesn’t mean they’re getting the exercise they need. In fact, most dogs need at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day, whether that’s a walk around the block or playing fetch in the park.

If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise, they may start to exhibit behavioral problems, such as chewing on furniture or excessive barking. It also puts them at risk of becoming obese, which, according to research, is a growing problem in our pet dogs and cats.

4. Dogs only need one type of food their whole life.

Just like humans, dogs need a balanced diet to stay healthy. As they age, their nutritional needs will change. For example, puppies need food high in protein and fat to help them grow. In contrast, senior dogs need food that is easier to digest and has fewer calories. If your dog has had a medical issue like pancreatitis, they’ll need to stay on a low-fat diet regardless of their age. So it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian about what food is best for your dog at different life stages and their unique health situations.

5. Dogs only need one vaccine per year.

This is another myth about dogs that needs to be put to rest. Some folks think they’re good if their dog gets their rabies shot. Unfortunately, this is leaving your dog at risk. The truth is, your dog may need several vaccines per year, depending on their age, health, lifestyle, and geographic location. The American Animal Hospital Association recommends four must-have vaccines, and several more are suggested.

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At the very least, your dog should be getting rabies, parvovirus, distemper, and adenovirus type 2 vaccines. You should also ask your vet if they recommend bordetella, Lyme disease, leptospirosis, and influenza vaccines. But while we’re talking about it, vet visits are also an excellent time to talk about all your dog’s health issues, so you can get advice on topics like joint pain relief for dogs and why your dog is shedding so much.

6. A wagging tail means your dog is happy.

Wrong. Dogs wag their tails for all sorts of reasons, not just because they’re happy. A wagging tail can also indicate fear, aggression, stress, or pain. Bet you didn’t know that! What you need to look at is the entire dog’s body. In the same way, we’d observe more than a person’s tapping foot. We should also be looking at a dog’s panting, what their ears are doing, and their body position or movement. The tail is only one piece of the puzzle.

7. A yawning dog is a tired dog.

Again, this simply isn’t true. Dogs may yawn when they’re tired, but they may also yawn when nervous, stressed, or feeling threatened. So if you see your dog yawning and think they might be tired, pay attention to the rest of their body language to see if that’s really the case. For example, you might see them licking their lips or holding their ears back, which could indicate anxiety or fear, so it’s best not to assume they’re just ready for a nap.

8. A wet nose is a healthy nose.

Nope, a wet nose simply means your dog’s nose produces the thin line of mucus that was designed to enhance their ability to smell. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re healthy. In fact, a dry nose can also be perfectly normal, especially if it’s cold outside or your dog just woke up from a nap.

And, beyond that, some dogs have drier noses in the same way that people have dry skin. And, yes, it can be fixed with the right product like a snout soother balm. The best way to gauge your dog’s current health is to pay attention to their energy level, appetite, and bathroom habits. If those are all normal, then chances are your dog is healthy, even if their nose isn’t wet.

Source: Algirdas Mazeika/Shutterstock.com

9. Dogs only see in black and white.

This one has been debunked time and time again, but for some reason it’s still a widely believed myth. The truth is that dogs have dichromatic color vision, according to research, which means they see some color, just not as vividly as we do. So they can see blues and yellows but not reds and greens.

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10. All dogs can swim.

Several dog breeds—especially those with big, heavy skulls and broad, powerful chests—aren’t designed for swimming and aren’t very good at it. Even within breeds raised for water work, like retrievers, there can be individual dogs who don’t have a natural affinity for the water and need to be taught how to swim. If you’re not sure whether your dog can or cannot swim, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and either invest in a doggie life vest or stick to land-based activities.

11. You need to assert your dominance.

This affects so many parts of your dog’s life, training, and, ultimately, your human-dog relationship. The dominance training philosophy was based on now-debunked wolf research conducted in sterile zoo environments. Dogs are not wolves, they are not caged in zoos, and they do not operate in the same way regarding their social structure. This training philosophy can actually do more harm than good. We now know that positive reinforcement is a much better way to train and live with our dogs.

Final Thoughts

While we didn’t touch on all the myths out there, we hope to shed some light on a few more common ones. The bottom line is that dogs are complicated creatures, and we still have a lot to learn about them. So, next time you hear someone spouting off one of these myths, maybe you can share the truth with them.

Questions and Answers about Common Myths About Dogs:


Do dogs only see in black and white?

No, this is a common myth. While it’s true that dogs see fewer colors than humans, they are not limited to black and white. Dogs see a spectrum of colors, primarily in shades of blue and yellow. Their color vision may not be as vivid as ours, but it certainly extends beyond a monochromatic view.


Is it necessary to feed a dog only dry kibble for optimal dental health?

Contrary to the belief that dry kibble is essential for dental health, it’s not the only option. While chewing on dry food can help reduce plaque, other factors like genetics, regular dental care, and the type of treats provided also play a role. Wet or raw diets, along with proper dental care, can contribute to a dog’s overall oral health.


Will a warm nose always indicate a dog is sick?

Not necessarily. While a warm and moist nose is often a sign of good health in dogs, it’s not a foolproof indicator of illness. Dogs’ nose temperature can vary throughout the day and can be influenced by environmental factors. Other signs, such as changes in behavior, appetite, or energy levels, should also be considered when assessing a dog’s health.


Can you not teach old dogs new tricks?

This age-old saying is a myth. Dogs of all ages can learn new tricks and behaviors. While puppies may pick up commands more quickly due to their boundless energy and curiosity, older dogs can be just as receptive to training with patience, positive reinforcement, and consistency.


Are certain dog breeds inherently aggressive?

No, the aggression of a dog is not solely determined by its breed. While some breeds may have predispositions, factors such as socialization, training, and individual temperament play crucial roles. Responsible ownership and proper training are essential to fostering a well-behaved and balanced dog, regardless of breed.



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