In many parts of the world people grow up with the idea of having pets. A large number of them choose dogs as companions, typically opting to buy a puppy or pedigree breed. As a result of these decisions, combined with other problems, dogs have the status as “man’s best friend” and, at the same time, are a species condemned to constant extermination.
Writing about this subject in general terms is complex, as each country has its own culture and regulations. Nevertheless, by asking a series of questions I’m going to present some concepts that will make you see the pet market with different eyes, and question those myths about dogs that perhaps you thought were true.
One of the biggest problems with dogs is the ease at which they are able to breed. Many people breed puppies that they then try to give away, sell or simply abandon. Can you tell us which of these claims is false?
Of every 10 dogs born in the world, only one finds a permanent home.
A female dog needs to have at least one litter before being sterilized to maintain her mental health.
Every year in the USA 3-4 million dogs and cats die in shelters without finding a home.
In the United States alone, the pet food industry is worth more than $40 billion annually, making these animals a very profitable business. Do you know which of these countries has the greatest number of dogs per household?
In 2001, the world population of domestic dogs was estimated to be over 400 million, of which 110 million live in China alone, some 83 million in the United States, 75 million in Europe and some 30 million in Brazil. This figure increases a lot when you add all the stray and feral dogs around the world. But which was the first country in the world to have no stray dogs?
There are about 700 different breeds of dogs, approved by the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale). With a quick search online, it's clear that the sale of pedigree puppies is a highly profitable business and one which is easily accessed by would-be breeders. Guess which of the following statements is false:
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is one of the UK's most popular breeds, but also one of the most neglected. 6 out of 10 will die before they reach the age of 4.
In the US, these figures are even worse for the Pit Bull Terrier, which has suffered an alarming rate of abandonment after receiving a bad reputation in the press for being a violent breed.
Something similar is happening in Germany. The "Deutscher Schäferhund" (German Shepherd) has suffered a huge drop in popularity. Currently, 4 out of 10 dogs of this breed are abandoned in their first year of life.
There are many myths about dogs that are not true. Can you tell us which of the following statements is true?
A hot or dry nose indicates that a dog is sick.
If a dog is wagging its tail, it doesn't always means it's happy.
Pedigree dogs always have fewer health problems than mongrels.
Do you know why dogs lick their wounds?
Their saliva contains a high number of healing agents that accelerate the healing process.
They do so instinctively to remove dead tissue and stimulate circulation.
It is something that has no particular function. It's just itchy and it relieves them.
Many people say they know how dogs perceive the world, but do you really know how they see it?
In black and white, with certain shades of grey.
In colour, mainly in reddish and greenish tones.
In colour, mainly blues and yellows.
And finally, tell us which of these statements is false:
According to a study published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, dogs prefer to be petted by their owners than receive a treat.
According to research at the Schillerhohe Hospital in Germany, dogs can smell certain organic compounds that indicate that the person is sick.
According to a study published in Scientific Reports, contrary to popular belief, a little chocolate won't harm a dog, as long as it's proportional to the weight of the animal.
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