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What are the Top Dog Myths?

What are the Top Dog Myths?

The list of top dog myths is a long one. It seems we’ve all heard a dog myth or 2 that we now believe as fact.

There are myths around your dog’s nose, mouth, vision, grass eating habits, exercise needs, and how they age.

Everyone has an opinion on what a wet nose means or what eating grass is all about or how much exercise a dog really needs.

Now, we’re dog people at SierraSil. Some days it seems like there is more office chatter about our dogs then there is about our kids. Yeah, we know how it is.

And this is exactly why we want to talk about dog myths.

We can’t include every dog myth we’ve been told or read about. So, do visit our Leaps & Bounds Facebook community page and tell us about the dog myths you’ve been told.

Let’s work together to bust these dog myths and get the facts out there about wet noses, grass, exercise, vision, senior dog health, and so much more.

Myth #1: The Wet or Dry Dog Nose

Touch your dog’s nose, if it’s wet, your dog is sick. Or is it, if it’s dry, your dog is sick?

What is the scoop with your dog’s nose – does it really tell you anything?

The truth is, your dog’s nose has nothing to do with his health.

A wet nose can become dry in minutes and a dry nose can get wet very quickly.

The wet or dry nose probably tells you more about the weather – is the air dry (dry nose), is it humid or raining (wet nose), or did your dog stick her nose in the water dish (wet nose).

Of course, do pay attention if your dog’s nose is constantly running, looks dry and cracked, or if your dog is rubbing her nose frequently.

Myth #2: Your Dog’s Mouth is Cleaner than Your Mouth

Dog Mouth is Full of Germs
A Dog's Mouth is Packed with Germs

Oh, don’t worry – dog’s mouths are clean,” is a frequently heard comment after you’ve been licked in the face or on the mouth by a dog.

What a strange myth. How can your dog’s mouth be cleaner than yours?

The fact is your dog’s mouth is not cleaner than your mouth. In fact, it’s packed full of germs.

Think of the things your dog eats on a daily basis. Think of where he licks himself. Think of your dog chewing on your wood furniture or eating your sweaty socks.

And let’s not forget that most of us don’t brush our dog’s teeth. Yes, more germs.

But don’t worry if your dog does lick you on the face or mouth – the majority of the germs in your dog’s mouth are not harmful to you.

We don’t want you to stress about the germs in your dog’s mouth. Assuming you’re adhering to your veterinarian’s advice on keeping your dog healthy, you don’t have to worry.

Myth #3: The Need to Eat Grass

You know the sounds. The sounds of your dog getting ready to and then vomiting.

Your dog might react this way after eating grass.

However, this does not mean that your dog is eating grass as a way to make himself vomit.

Your dog might in fact vomit after eating grass. But he’s not doing this because he’s sick or has the need to vomit.

The truth is your dog is eating grass because he likes it. Maybe it’s the taste, the texture, the smell, or something else.

Like anything your dog eats, when she eats too much, the stomach can become irritated, and your dog might vomit. The same happens with grass.

If you have a grass-eating dog, make sure your dog is not munching on grass that has been chemically treated.

And do monitor the frequency of vomiting in your dog – high frequency can be an indicator of an illness.

Myth #4: Dogs are Colorblind

No, dogs are not colorblind. Or actually, it’s hard to tell you if your dog is colorblind or not.

After all, we can’t fully see what your dog sees. This myth has long roots back to a time when scientists didn’t fully understand the structure of canine eyes.

We now know that dogs do see color. However, your dog doesn’t see color the same way you do.

Scientists now know that the types of cones in your dog’s eyes mean that your dog likely has an easier time seeing shades of blue. Your dog can likely see blue, greenish-yellow, and different shades of grey.

Myth #5: Playing in the Yard is Enough Exercise

Fun and Games with Your Dog
Be sure your dog gets outside to run and play.

Your dog loves to be out in the backyard all day long. She spends the day poking around, digging (sigh), sniffing, chasing her tail, and taking in the fresh air.

This day-long outdoor time must be enough exercise – right?

Wrong – dogs are pack animals. This means that your dog doesn’t run, walk, or even play actively enough when she’s alone.

Even though your dog is outside playing and relaxing in the backyard all day, you still need to take your dog out for daily walks and to the dog park. Hint: you’ll feel great getting out for the dog walk as well – after all, you need to take care of your joint and mental health.

Not only is a daily (or multiple daily) walk important for your dog’s joint health, it’s also key in maintaining your dog's mental health and healthy weight.

Make sure your dog is getting her walks in, time at the dog park, and play time in the backyard.

Myth #6: Teaching a Senior Dog New Tricks

The myth that you “can’t teach a dog new tricks” has more to do with us humans than dogs.

Yes, you can teach your senior dog a new trick.

The root of this myth stems from the way many people are resistant to change or learning new skills when they’re older.

But just as we know that this is not true for humans – it’s also not true for dogs.

Anyone who has adopted a senior dog, knows that any dog – regardless of age can learn. It just takes a different approach than training a puppy.

If you’re trying to teach your senior dog something new, remember that your older dog might have issues with hearing, seeing, or smelling.

This happens when dogs age, so be aware of these sensory changes as you’re trying to entice your dog with an all-natural dog chew or with a new dog toy.

Myth #7: That Wagging Tail

There’s nothing better than a puppy bouncing around with a wagging tail.

This makes us smile and feel comfortable around the dog.

A wagging tail signals to most of us that the dog is friendly, happy, and wants to be petted or played with.

You likely know this already but reading your dog’s body language can be tricky. This confusion over body language also applies to your dog’s tail.

Yes, a wagging tail can mean the dog is friendly and happy, but it can also mean that your dog is stressed, afraid, or anxious.

A dog’s tail does tell you a lot, but it doesn’t give you the full story about your dog’s mood and mental health.

Look for other body language signs such as how your dog is holding her head, the sounds she’s making, the brightness (or lack of) in her eyes, the angle of her ears, and her overall body position.

The more you understand your dog’s body language, the easier it is to keep your dog safe when out on walks or a run in the dog park.

Because most people assume a dog with a wagging tail is friendly, it is tempting to reach out to pet or cuddle strange dogs. Speak up if you’re unsure about your dog’s mood – this protects everyone from an unfortunate experience.

Number One Dog Fact: Your Dog’s Joint Health Is Important

SierraSil Leaps and Bounds Dog Chews for Joint Health
SierraSil Leaps & Bounds Dog Chews

We couldn’t finish this blog post without reminding you of the importance of your dog’s joint health.

Regardless of the age, agility, mobility, and activity level of your dog – his or her joint health matters.

Watch our video about Leaps & Bounds and see how our all-natural dog chew has changed the lives of some special dogs.

Think of how you feel when your joints are stiff and sore. Your dog feels the same way as you do.

Learn more about Leaps & Bounds and how our all-natural dog chews can help support your dog’s joint health mobility.

4 Fun Ways to Work-Out with Your Dog

4 Fun Ways to Work-Out with Your Dog

Your dog loves to and wants to move. Whether it’s playing tag in the backyard, your daily morning dog walk, or going out for a hike in the woods – your dog is happy to work-out with you.

We want you to embrace this joy for movement and have put together our 4 favorite ways to work-out with your dog.

This movement and working out with your dog helps keep your dog’s joints healthy, encourages a healthy weight (for you and your dog), supports your dog’s mental health, and gives both of you all-important bonding time.

Before starting a new work-out with your dog, it’s important you honestly think about your dog’s current level of fitness and age. If your dog is not used to running, hiking, or agility games – it’s very important you start slowly.

As well, you need to be aware of your dog’s age and any current health conditions. If you have a senior dog with joint health concerns or have some doubt about what your dog should be doing – please consult your veterinarian.

Above all else, when working out with your dog, you don’t want to do anything that causes your dog to become injured.

Read on for our 4 suggestions on how you can work-out with your dog.

How to Run with Your Dog

To run with your dog, it’s super important that you’re aware of your dog’s current fitness level.

Just as you’ll develop injuries and muscle soreness by doing too much running too soon – the same applies to your dog.

Here are some tips on how to run with your dog:

  • Don’t start running with your puppy. Your puppy shouldn’t start running with you until his bones stop growing. This really depends on the breed and size of your dog. Discuss this with your veterinarian.
  • Start slowly. Pay attention to your dog’s breathing. In fact, it’s best to start with a walk-run routine.
  • Keep the runs short. Slowly add running to your dog’s routine with 10 or 15-minute-long easy runs a couple of times a week.
  • Use a leash and comfortable harness. Look for a leash/harness combination that is designed for running.
  • Don’t let your dog run all-over the path or running trail.
  • Remember to keep your dog hydrated. And don’t feed your dog a big meal before you go out for your run.

How to Participate in Agility Games with Your Dog

One of the best ways to participate in agility games with your dog is to join a local dog agility club.

Look for an agility club that has a certified dog agility trainer. Discuss how your dog will be trained on the agility games. Ask questions about the types of agility games that are appropriate for your dog’s breed and size.

With the right training and environment, your dog will soon be hooked on playing on the dog walk, running through tunnels, weaving around poles, jumping through hoops or tires, and even balancing on a teeter board.

How to Hike with Your Dog

To start hiking with your dog, it’s important you do some planning and preparation. Regardless of the type and length of trail hike you plan on, it’s key that both you and your dog are prepared for the outdoors.

How to Hike with Your Dog
Hiking with Your Dog

To hike with your dog, remember the following tips:

  • Choose a trail that is not overly rugged. Start slowly with an easy to hike trail that is mostly flat and not very long.
  • Use a leash and harness. Make sure the leash and harness are comfortable and give both of you a sense of control. Look for a leash/harness set-up that is designed for an active dog.
  • Bring water and food for both you and your dog. There are lots of portable and collapsible dog bowls that make it easy for your dog to drink water on the trail.
  • Tell someone where you’re going and when you plan to be home. Don’t change your plans mid-way through the hike.
  • Remember to think about your overall safety – bring a map, water, cell phone, jacket, etc.
  • Think of your dog’s feet. Pay attention to the trail surface and make sure it’s not too hard on your dog’s tender paws.

How to Camp with Your Dog

When it comes to camping with your dog, it’s all about enjoying the great outdoors. And yes, camping with your dog is a work-out.

It’s very important that you choose a campsite that is dog-friendly. Don’t assume that every campsite or park accepts dogs. Read the rules and regulations for the campsite and if you’re in doubt – ask questions.

Bring a tent that is big enough for you and your dog to sleep in comfortably. No one wants to be crowded in an overstuffed tent.

Remember that when you’re at your campsite, you need to keep your dog leashed. Dogs are naturally curious, and it only takes a split-second for your dog to be distracted and wander off.

Bring a first aid kit for yourself and for your dog. Talk to your vet about the right types of bandages and other gear you should include in your first aid kit.

Don’t forget that the weather is out of your control. Bring extra towels, dog coats, booties, and blankets.

How to Play Flyball with Your Dog

Because flyball is a team sport, you need to join your local flyball club. Flyball is a super active and exciting sport for dogs of all breeds and sizes.

However, before you enroll your dog in flyball training class, it’s important you discuss this with your veterinarian. Because flyball is super-fast and requires a lot of dog agility, you need to make sure your dog’s joint health can sustain this activity level.

Flyball is a dog relay race. Typically, two teams of dogs compete side-by-side with each dog on the team taking a turn running and jumping through a flyball course to retrieve a tennis ball.

The cool twist on this sport is that to get the tennis ball, your dog must jump and land on a spring-loaded box that releases the ball.

Working Out with Your Dog

Above all else, it’s key that whatever sport or activity you choose is enjoyable for both you and your dog. If your dog doesn’t enjoy running or resists participating in agility games – don’t force your dog.

Have fun and explore different ways to stay active with your dog. You just might discover that your dog’s favorite ways of working out with you include playing fetch in the backyard or going on long daily walks in your neighborhood looking for new smells.

Remember to pay attention to how your dog is moving before, during, and after your runs, hikes, or sessions at the flyball or agility club. Your dog is very stoic and will do his best to hide any joint discomfort or other injury.

If you’re unsure about how your dog is responding to your new work-out routine – schedule a visit with your veterinarian.

Visit the Leaps & Bounds Facebook community page and tell us how you work-out with your dog. Share your top tips on how you keep working out fun for both you and your dog.

How To Care For Your Senior Dog’s Health

How To Care For Your Senior Dog’s Health

Your seven-year old dog might appear as energetic as a puppy, but don’t let this boundless energy fool you. We hate to tell you this, but a seven-year old dog is considered to be a senior dog. With this statistic in mind, we want you to be aware of how you can care for the health of your senior dog. Just as humans develop age-related health concerns, the same holds true for dogs. Learn how to care for your senior dog’s health and be ready with your questions at the next vet visit. Now, before we go any further, we do want to make sure that you’re not looking at your seven-year old dog and worrying about her health. Seven is just a benchmark age – just like 65 is for humans. Your dog, regardless of her age can live an active and full life – we just want you to have the knowledge you need to care for your dog as she ages.

What Happens as Your Dog Ages?

As your dog ages, she will display outward and inwards signs of the aging process. You might notice that your dog sleeps a bit more or that her coat is graying a bit. As well, internally, your dog’s organs are changing with age. There are some general guidelines on lifespans for dogs that are worth keeping in mind as you care for your dog:
  • Small breed dogs generally live from 10 to 15 years.
  • Medium breed dogs generally live from 10 to 13 years.
  • Large breed dogs generally live from 8 to 12 years.

Keep these generalized age ranges in mind as you care for your dog and as you notice any changes in her behavior, coat, habits, or mobility. With age, your dog is more likely to develop heart, kidney or liver disease, arthritis, cancer, and other joint-related conditions. As well, just like humans, aging dogs slowly lose some or all of their vision and hearing. This often occurs very gradually with your dog learning to adjust to these changes. However, if you notice your dog is slow to respond to your voice or is not moving around as easily – contact your veterinarian. Because dogs are very good at hiding their discomfort, it’s super important that you’re in tune with your dog’s mobility and activity levels. Your dog is smart and will hide any joint discomfort from you. Your dog may become reluctant to chase her favorite toy or might want to cut the daily walk a bit short or become reluctant to jump onto the couch – these are all indicators that your dog is suffering from sore joints. Many of the age-related problems your dog might be facing are typically not obvious to you, making it very important that your senior dog has regular veterinary visits. Typically, your vet will complete a number of age-related tests that can be used as benchmarks to monitor your dog’s health. When you visit your vet, bring a list of questions and remember to mention any changes in behavior, activity level, coat/teeth, or mood.


How to Keep Your Senior Dog Comfortable and Happy

The number one thing you can do to keep your senior dog comfortable and happy is to schedule regular veterinarian visits. We know that your dog dislikes the vet, but as your dog ages, it’s super important that your vet is looking out for her medical needs. Remember that veterinary medicine has come a long way and many age-related conditions can be treated – and the sooner the condition is identified, the better. There are a few things you can do at home and when out walking to help keep your senior dog feeling her best:
  • A comfortable dog bed: your dog needs to feel safe and comfortable when sleeping and resting. There is a wide range of dog beds available that can help ease any discomfort related to arthritis, weight loss, mobility issues, nervousness, and more.
  • Quality dog food: talk to your vet about the best food for your senior dog. Depending on your dog’s health, you might need to change her food. Talk to your vet about adding an all-natural dog chew such as Leaps & Bounds to your dog’s diet to help ease mobility issues. As well, remember to change her water daily – pay attention to any changes in water consumption.
  • Be ready to adjust your expectations: your dog is going to slow down with age, so you need to ease your expectations of what your dog can and wants to do. If your dog doesn’t want to go for a second walk or is not thrilled about the sub-zero temperatures – be ready to change your plans. It is important that your dog does still get in her walks, but don’t force the issue. As well, consider the effects that the temperature, rambunctious dogs at the dog park, and the walking conditions have on your dog.
  • Limit distractions: older dogs can become more nervous and sensitive to things that previously were not a problem. For example, kids, loud noises, hustle and bustle in the home, or a new environment can cause your dog to be fearful. Be sensitive to your dog’s reaction to these kinds of triggers.
Now, we don’t want you to be stressed out and worried about your dog’s health. Ageing is a normal part of life, and it’s important that you understand how aging impacts your dog. One of the best things you can do today is to simply take note of how your dog is walking, sleeping, eating, playing, and just generally being a dog – by paying attention to your dog’s everyday normal behavior, you’ll be more alert to changes and warning signs.