LIFESTYLE

Dog Facts for Kids: Teach The Little Ones To Be Friendly

Dog Facts for Kids
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Dogs are such great additions to any homes! With more than a hundred officially-recognized dog breeds, and even a lot more mixed breeds, these fur babies sure do give any family many years of happy moments with them. For households with children, it can be an interesting thing to tell some fun dog facts to kids.

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These facts can be anywhere from crazy to funny and weird.

Kid holding a Beagle

This can also be a method of sharing some facts about dogs for kids to let them know more about the pet.

Something cool

  • Dogs do not need night vision goggles to see in the dark. Their eyes have tapetum lucidum, which is a special membrane that enhances night vision.
  • The common myth that dogs are colorblind is not true. They can see color, but not as vibrant as how we see them.
  • Speaking of eye structure, dogs are equipped with three eyelids, an upper and lower lid, and a «haw» or commonly called as the third lid. This third lid helps in moisturization and protection of the eyes.
  • According to the APPA or American Pet Products Association, more than 60% of American households own one. That is more than seventy million homes across the United States.
  • Dogs have 42 teeth, compared to humans that have 28 to 32 permanent teeth.
  • Dogs have an elevated normal body temperature that ranges from 101.0 to 102.5F.
  • Unlike humans, our fur babies can only sweat in particular areas of the body, focusing on the paw pads. The main source of heat exchange is by panting.
  • Dogs have an amazing olfactory ability, or sense of smell. They have over ten thousand times a more acute sense of smell in comparison to humans. This is why there are some breeds being used to detect game or even cancer, thanks to their hyperactive sense of smell. Another cool fact is that dogs are believed to have the ability to smell your feelings, but this is not entire accurate. Dogs have the ability to determine changes in your scent and interpret them to a particular feeling.
  • While dogs have a distinct doggy odor, there is a breed with almost no scent at all – the stuffed-toy like Samoyeds.
  • The average heartbeat for large dog breeds range from 60-100 beats per minute, while smaller breeds can go as much as 140 beats per minute.
  • If humans have unique fingerprints, dogs got unique nose-prints which can also be used to identify the dog.
  • The United States currently holds the largest dog population in the entire world with over 70 million dogs, coming on second place is France.

Something cute

  • Dogs are probably the most expressive pets you will ever have. Aside from their demeanor, they are also equipped with more than twelve individual muscles that steer the movement of their ears.
  • The dog is the most popular animal to star in movies. From Beethoven, to Balto, to Hachiko, their demeanor and story surely captures our hearts.
  • The longest-living dog is an Australian Cattle Dog named “Bluey.” Bluey lived an amazing 29 years and 160 days. That is equivalent to more than 140 years old in human years.
  • Speaking of longevity, most toy dogs have an average lifespan of 14-16 years with Chihuahua having the longest life expectancy with 16-17 years.
  • The tallest dog ever is a Great Dane named «Zeus» which stands a towering 44 inches when he was measured in October 2011. Great Danes are one of the tallest breeds, but the Irish Wolfhound is on the top spot for average height.
  • There are numerous distinct features in some dog breeds. These range from the iconic patterns of the Dalmatian, the cute blanket-like wrinkles of the Sharpei, and the blue-black tongue of the Chow Chow.
  • Speaking of distinct features, Dalmatian puppies are born with a plain white coat. The spots develop as they grow older. On the other hand, the Sharpei become less wrinkled as they age.
  • There are specific breeds that have a special affinity to children. These include the Newfoundland, Poodles, Old English Sheepdog, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier which is often referred to as the “nanny dog”.
  • Aside from sit, stay, and play dead, there are other tricks that they can learn. In fact, some dogs can do math, and some even “sing”.
  • The most popular dog breed in the United States is the Labrador Retriever, which has been on the first place for a quarter of a century already. The Labrador Retriever is followed by the German Shepherd and the Golden Retriever on second and third place, respectively.
  • Dogs can dream! Like us humans, they also share a similar sleeping pattern where dreams do happen. This is the reason why they have sudden random movements while they are sleeping. All we have to know is what their dreams are all about.

Understanding dogs

Our young ones should learn both fun facts and important things about dogs. This allows them to appreciate being a responsible pet owner and to keep them away from harm as well. As a supervising adult, it is essential to let them, especially the very young children, know that dogs are not toys that they can ride at all, and some basic facts  that they should know.

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Dogs need good nutrition. Like kids, dogs should have a balanced diet every single day. These can be achieved by giving them dog food that is packed with vitamins and minerals, as well as required protein and other ingredients to ensure good health and long life.

Little boy with his dog in the park giving him to eat

Dogs need grooming. It is like how kids go to the barber shop or salon for a trim or a complete haircut, dogs are required to be groomed for hygienic, aesthetic, and health purposes. This helps the fur babies look good and feel good.

Dogs need exercise. Children can easily relate to dogs, especially breeds that have this child-like energy. Exercise requirements vary per breed, but it can be explained to the child that this activity is required to promote muscle and bone health.

Dogs need time with you. It is very important to let children know that there should be enough time between them and the dog. There should be a balance between rest and play, as well as attention. For larger dog breeds that stay in a dog house outside, it is necessary that there should be enough interaction.

Caring for the dog

Dogs can be playful, but they can still bite. Even with dog breeds that are known to have a very, very mild demeanor, they can still bite. Some bites can be considered as playful bites, while other bites can be due to defense mechanism or aggression.

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Dogs need to be handled with care. Big or small, they can still get injured after rough playing or accidental falls. Let the kids understand that dogs can be a lot playful, but they should also be handled with care to avoid possible accidents for both the dog and the child.

Facts for kids to remember

Here are some basic facts that every child should know about dogs.

Kid and two dogs

Help your child by teaching these basic principles:

  1. When the dog is wagging its tail, it doesn’t always mean that the dog is friendly. It is one of the basic methods of communication and can mean other things such as aggression.
  2. Unless you are sure that the dog is friendly, and the owner says it is alright to touch the dog, do not approach the dog.
  3. Children should know how to properly approach a dog. Before petting a dog, make sure that it sees you. You can offer the back of your hand first before touching him. Never attempt to touch him automatically because this can lead to aggression or anxiety.
  4. There are some dogs that don’t like to be petted on the head.
  5. When a dog comes to you, avoid looking at its eyes, and allow it to smell your hand. Any fast motions are highly discouraged. Avoiding direct eye contact means you are not an intruder of personal space or an aggressor.
  6. It is important to determine what to do if an aggressive dog comes to you. Stay calm and stand with your arms on both sides. Do not run away because it may lead to agitation and the dog will definitely chase you.
  7. If the dog attacks you, give it something to chew on. You can use your bag, a book, or your coat. Then, slowly move away until there is already a barrier between you and the dog such as a bench or a tree. In cases when the dog knocks you down, protect your face and roll into a ball and lie down until the dog runs away. After the surroundings is clear, check for any scratches or bites and immediately seek an adult to assist you in getting first aid.
  8. Stay away from obviously aggressive dogs. Stay away from yards or areas where dogs are chained until you are certain they the dogs are friendly.
  9. Never disturb a dog that is sleeping or eating. They are known to be defensive when it comes to their food. When a sleeping dog is frightened, they can act aggressive.
  10. Dogs love to be loved. If you love them, they will love you back.

It is such a great moment to share some nice and new information about dogs with children!

Greeting dogs infographic

It allows them to know more about dogs, and will help them understand their needs further and have a closer bond with their dogs.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

  • Alicia Jane

    Nowadays, I’ve noticed that there are many kids around who are very rough with dogs like pulling their ears, tails and muzzles. I think it’s parents’ responsibility to teach their children to respect animals otherwise they will become vulgar and insensitive adults.

  • You are right Alicia! Parents must teach their children that pets are not toys.

  • Leny Brown

    My dog is super duper friendly and loves to lick and say hello to everyone, especially at the dog park. There are times when toddlers around the park — same height as my dog and it makes me uneasy. I often switch to hyper-guardian mode especially when my pooch gets too close to these kids. I’m afraid my dog will knock some kid over to the ground.
    To all parents of small kids, is this a legitimate concern of mine? What do you think should you do (some parents seemed oblivious to dog-kid dynamics) when the park is open for kids AND dogs?

    • John Walton

      This actually depends on the dog’s size, Leny. If your dog is a small to medium-sized one, it should be fine because some dogs really tend to be really friendly. Just make sure to be careful as they can inflict playful bites often, especially if they get too excited.

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