Happy Dog Day illustration with six happy dogs. Photo courtesy of Freepik.com.

Canine Confidential: Celebrate National Dog Day with Four-Legged Facts

August 24, 2021

Aug. 26 is National Dog Day! It’s the official holiday to celebrate dogs (not sanctioned by any government but rather by dog lovers everywhere). Break out the treats, go on a walk, and play fetch. Celebrate dogs, because they make great pets—and can even improve human health. (Petting a dog has been shown to reduce anxiety and lower heart rate). In honor of the Howliday, we present some lesser known four-legged facts.  

Dog's paws

Paws Smell like Popcorn

Some dog paws emit a popcorn-like odor. This is called Frito Feet, after the corn chips. It’s the result of bacteria living on a dog’s paw pads, an area that has a lot of moisture and not much circulation. There are also lots of folds and crevices between toes, where bacteria like to congregate. The result is a sweet-smelling, corny scent.

Dog, taken by James Barker on Unsplash

Some Dogs Love Carrots

What’s not to love? They’re sweet, crunchy, and full of vitamins. Dogs love to chew, and carrots provide excellent exercise for dog jaws. For some dogs, carrots make great—and inexpensive—treats. They’re great for stuffing Kongs too.

Man shaking dog

Oldest Dog Ever Herded Sheep

Bluey, an Australian Australian cattle dog (that is, an Australian cattle dog from Victoria, Australia), lived to age 29 years and 5 days. He spent most of his life as a working dog, rounding up cows and sheep.

dog tail; Photo by Priyadharshan Saba on Unsplash

Dogs Can Sprain Their Tails

Wagging lets you know dogs are happy—but too much tail use can lead to a sprained muscle. Limber tail, also called swimmer’s tail and swamp tail, is an overuse injury. It disproportionately affects retrievers and hunting dogs. Ouch!

chocolate lab drinking water; Photo by Rafael Ishkhanyan on Unsplash

Dog Drinking Defies Gravity

When dogs drink water, they curl their tongues backward in a ladle shape. It may seem counterintuitive, but this method creates a column of water that efficiently travels from the bowl into the dog’s mouth. They are not actually scooping water into their mouths.

Watch how dogs actually drink water in this slow-motion video.