Dogs really are fascinating creatures! Read the latest installment in our series on fun dog facts.
Q: Do Dogs Watch TV?
A: Sort of. It all has to do with something called “flicker perception,” which measures the eye’s ability to perceive flickering light. The human eye can’t detect flickering above 55 cycles per second, but dogs can usually perceive up to 75. Images on a television are redrawn about 60 times per second – which means that the images look real to humans (because they appear continuous) but flickering to dogs (because they can perceive the slight gaps between images). This means that images on the television might appear less real to your dog, even if they look real to you. However, as technology improves the flicker rate for TV images might increase – which means that eventually, the images on the TV screen will also look real to your dog.
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Q: Do dogs perceive time?
A: Yes, but not as well as humans do. Research on dogs and other animals suggests that non-humans lack episodic memory – that is, they can’t travel back in time to revisit past memories the way that we do. Research done on other animals also indicates that they don’t plan for the future – so even though it might seem like rodents are “planning” for winter when they hoard nuts, they are doing this more out of instinct than careful human-like foresight. Biology also plays a role in telling an animal when time has passed, and dogs are more in tune with their bodies’ circadian rhythms than humans are. So when your dog sits next to his food bowl at the same time every night, it’s not because he knows it’s six o’clock, it’s because his body is telling him that it is time to eat again!
Q: Do dogs have sweat glands?
A: Yes, but not many! Humans have sweat glands all-over our bodies, although some are more concentrated than others. When your body overheats, you sweat, and when the sweat evaporates it lowers your body temperature. But dogs only have sweat glands on the pads of their feet. The main way that dogs cool off is by panting with their tongues hanging out of their mouths, which allows the moisture on their tongues evaporate. And while you might not like to walk around in a fur coat on a summer’s day, dog fur actually also helps keep your pet cool because it acts as an insulator, keep out heat in the summer and cold in the winter.
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