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13 Facts About Your Dog That Will Make You Love Them Even More

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Imagine a roommate who lives in your home, doesn't pay rent, expects you to make all of their meals, and occasionally uses the carpet as a toilet.

We wouldn't put up with this kind of behavior from a person, but luckily dogs are cute enough to get away with it.

Of course we love our pets, and we spend as much time as we can with them, but how much do you really know about your pet?

Even lifelong dog owners may be surprised by these 13 facts.

1. A dry nose isn't unhealthy

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The two things dog owners seem to know about their pet's nose are:

  1. It's wet.
  2. When it's dry, something is wrong with my dog.

But that's not strictly true.

Dogs lick their noses to keep them wet, which helps their sense of smell by absorbing water particles.

It's true that a dry nose can be a sign of sickness, but it's also caused by humidity and sleep - when your dog obviously can't lick their nose.

You should be more concerned if your dog's nose is covered in crusty, discolored mucus.

2. "Butt sniffing" is very scientific

We all know that dogs sniff each other's rear ends to "say hello," but what kind of greeting is that?

In fact, dogs have anal glands that release chemicals, and your pet's sniffer can unlock a lot of information from their scents.

Your dog can tell another animal's age, emotional state, and even their diet from the chemicals.

Thankfully, the one thing they don't get is a whiff of the nasty smell - their nose blocks it out.

3. Dogs aren't color blind

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Here's another peace of tried-and-true wisdom that's totally false.

In fact dogs can see in color - they just see in less colors than humans.

Dogs see the world in yellows and blues - without reds and greens.

That makes things look very different, but it's unfair to say they're color blind.

You could even say dogs have sharper eyes than us, because a special membrane lets them see in the dark too.

4. Chewing on toys is good for your dog's health

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Did you know that your pet has to fend of plaque on their teeth, just like you?

If you're not brushing your dog's teeth, bacteria-causing plaque can build up over time.

Eventually, it can become painful, irritating, or even dangerous for your dog's health.

BarkBox
BarkBox

Thankfully, some extra durable chew toys will help them keep plaque at bay.

To protect my dog's teeth, I keep my house stocked with chew toys using BarkBox.

For just $21 a month, the subscription service sends you $40 worth of goodies - including dog treats and toys.

It's reliable and pet friendly. Plus, you can exchange any items your dog doesn't like at no extra cost.

Right now, you can even sign up for a special deal on their Super Chewer box, which is perfect for dogs who treat their chew toys like... well, chew toys.

5. Your dog is smarter than you think

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I'm convinced my dog only knows three words - walk, treat, and food - but science says our pets can learn a lot more.

Most breeds can learn around 150 English words, which is comparable to a two-year-old human's vocabulary.

The smartest breeds, like Poodles, German Shepherds and Border Collies, can learn up to 250. Some dogs have been identified with vocabularies of more than 1,000 words.

Meanwhile, Afghan Hounds and Basenjis have a reputation for being a little dim.

6. Dogs can dream - and they're probably thinking of you

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Researchers who studied the brainwaves of sleeping dogs find they're remarkably similar to a human's.

That means that dogs really can dream just like us.

So what do they think about?

Experts guess that - like us - they dream about their everyday lives. That includes playing with their owners and chasing squirrels.

Here's something we can't quite explain: small dogs dream seem to dream more than big dogs.

7. Dogs don't age the way we think they do

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If a dog is five in "people years" they're 35 in "dog years," right?

Wrong.

It's a little more complicated than that: large dogs age faster than small dogs, and your dog's breed plays a big part in their real age.

Along with unique health problems, dogs with flat faces (like bulldogs) usually have shorter lives than dogs with snouts.

You can use this calculator to learn how old your dog really is.

8. Dogs actually do sweat

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It's true that your pet controls their temperature mainly by panting, to breathe out hot air from their bodies.

But dogs do sweat on one part of their bodies: the pads of their feet.

A healthy buildup of sweat is actually what causes "Frito feet," when your dog's paws seem to smell like the famous snack.

9. A dog's nose is his calling card

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Those little bumps and grooves on your pet's nose can tell you a lot.

In fact, each dog's nose is so unique that the surface of their sniffer can be used like a fingerprint.

Some kennel clubs will actually take a print of a dog's nose to identify them with.

10. Owning a dog is great for your health

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I don't really feel relaxed until I get home from work and see my dog, so I can believe that they're good for the body and soul.

In fact experts say owning a dog lowers your blood pressure, encourages you to exercise and lose weight, increases your body's supply of stress-fighting hormones, and helps prevent depression.

Exposure to pet dander at an early age may even prevent children from developing allergies as they get older.

All that and they're adorable!

11. Dogs are afraid of storms for a reason

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My dog is very relaxed (as in, she doesn't get up from her bed unless I have food in my hand).

But when a thunderstorm rolls around she gets very nervous and agitated.

Many owners find that a storm will set their dog off, and there's a surprising reason for this behavior.

A storm can actually be physically irritating for your dog.

The buildup of static electricity in the air can actually hurt your dog's ears, making them act out.

Experts say you can easy the pain by gently wiping their ears with dryer sheets, but make sure they're unscented.

12. Their weird sleep habits are ancient

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Why does your dog walk in circles before lying down? To keep predators and pests away.

Really.

Walking in circles was a way for your dog's wild ancestors to check out their surroundings, flatten any tall grass, drive away bugs and rodents, and mark their territory for other dogs.

The reason why dogs curl into a ball when they sleep is very similar: the position protects a dog's organs from attacking predators.

So if your dog sleeps splayed out on your bed like a starfish, it means they really trust you.

13. Not all tail wagging is friendly

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Dogs "talk" to us using their body language, but it can be a little confusing.

A wagging tail is a friendly, playful gesture, but only sometimes.

If your dog's tail is wagging high or low, it could be a sign of their agitation or fear.

Keep a close eye on your dog's tail for this behavior when they're meeting strangers.

Did you know any of these facts already?

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I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com