We adore our four-legged friends, but how much do we really know about our pets? Dogs are actually amazing little creatures – check out these 24 weird and wonderful dog facts…
1. Dogs curl up when they go to sleep to keep themselves warm, and because of an intrinsic instinct to protect their abdomen and vital organs from predators.
2. Ever wondered why your dog spins around before lying down to sleep? It’s a nesting trait that comes straight from your doggie’s dog ancestors – similar to how you plump up your pillows before bed.
3. Don’t rush your dog when he’s choosing a place to do his business. It’s been found that dogs are extremely sensitive to changes in polarity, and they’re actually aligning their bodies with the Earth’s magnetic field. (And they say we’re the smarter species?)
4. When he kicks his legs out after going to the bathroom, your dog is actually using the scent glands on his paws to further mark his territory. (This is my patch now.)
5. Feeling stressed or anxious? Petting your pooch lowers your blood pressure and just generally makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
6. A dog’s nose is wet due to a thin layer of mucous that helps it absorb scent. When a dog licks its nose, it’s actually sampling that smell.
7. Spiked collars were used in ancient Greece to protect dogs’ throats from wolf or predator attacks.
8. Dogs have three eyelids – the third is known as a nictitating membrane or “haw,” which helps keep the eye moist and protected.
9. A dog’s noseprint is as unique as a human’s fingerprint – no two are the same.
10. Dalmatian puppies are born completely white and develop their adorable black spots over time.
11. Dogs only sweat through the pads of their feet.
12. A dog’s whiskers are incredible sensory devices and some curious characters use them to check if they’ll be able to fit into a small space.
13. On average, dogs are believed to be as smart as two-year olds. In fact, they can recognise and understand about 250 words and gestures.
14. Dogs that have been spayed or neutered live longer than those that haven’t.
15. Worried about leaving your dog alone? A piece of your clothing that smells like you will comfort them and help curb their separation anxiety. Bless.
16. It’s true – dogs feel jealousy if you pet other dogs (or humans) in front of them.
17. However, don’t let those puppy dog eyes fool you. Dogs don’t feel guilt or any kind of remorse over bad behaviour – they’ve just learned how to act in order to please us. Little tricksters.
18. Dogs can be trained to detect changes in the human body. In fact, there are diabetic alert dogs that recognise the scent that humans release when their insulin levels drop.
19. Aside from making them the cutest species on Earth, dogs’ ears have more than a dozen separate muscles that control their movement.
20. Just like humans, dogs learn how to communicate and cooperate with one another by socialising with other dogs, which is why it’s crucial to do this from their puppy years.
21. When your dog yawns or sniffs the ground, it’s not because he’s tired of listening to you. It’s actually a dog’s way of calming itself (or you, or another dog) and to show he means no harm.
22. Dogs sneeze to show other dogs that they aren’t being aggressive.
23. Ever wondered if your dog knows how long you’ve been away? Turns out they do – dogs have a sense of time and can actually tell the difference between an hour and more.
24. A puppy that lifts its paw to you is actually greeting you in friendship and asking you to play. Seriously, can they get any cuter?
Compiled by Food and Decor Editor, Claire Badenhorst
As the food and decor editor of Woman&Home, Claire enjoys nothing more than eating great food in beautiful locations. In a perfect world, she would travel for a living and have a Lord of the Rings marathon every weekend.