Six Myths About Cats and Dogs

Shaggy Dog Stories

Dogs see the world in black-and-white. Not true. Dogs do see some color, but their color vision isn’t as good as ours. Dogs are better at seeing movement, which makes sense for a hunter. The sooner you can spot the tiniest movement of a prey animal trying oh-so-hard to hide, the sooner you can eat if you’re a hunter.

Dogs eat grass when they have a stomachache. Probably in-between. Dogs throw up bad things relatively easily, which is a pretty good adaptation for an animal that not only hunts but also scavenges. Grass does seem to trigger this reaction in some cases, but not all. Some dogs clearly enjoy eating grass or other greens, especially when they’re young or damp with dew, and they keep the greens down just fine. The truth is no one really knows for sure why dogs eat grass, but there’s probably no harm in letting them do so occasionally in small amounts. Just be sure it’s from an area that hasn’t been sprayed with toxins.

Dogs yawn when they’re tired. True, but there’s more. Dogs also yawn when they’re stressed, and when they’re excited. And they also can “catch” a yawn, just as we do. (And vice versa: Watch your dog yawn, or just think about your dog yawning, and you’ll probably yawn.) I think about a yawn as sort of an all-purpose relaxation and focus technique. Yawning increases the flow of oxygen and boosts the heart rate.

There are lot of other myths out there, and I’ll share some of those another time. I love to collect — and correct — all kinds of less-than-accurate information about our pets.

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