The Basics of Canine Senses

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The Basics of Canine Senses

A dog’s nervous and sensory systems are essential to his health and well-being. Perceptions and reactions to his environment are dependent on his senses; movement is controlled through the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord); and the endocrine system (the hormone-producing glands) controls his patterns of behaviour.


Canine vision is inferior to human during the day, but is superior at night. Dogs do see colours, but not as distinctly as humans (in pastel as opposed to strong colours), and their peripheral vision is better than ours. In addition to the upper and lower eyelids, there is a third eyelid – the nictitating membrane (haw), which is comprised of a thin sheet of pale tissue tucked away in the corner of the eye. Its function is to help remove dust and dirt from the surface of the eye (cornea) by moving across it during any inward movement, and also to help keep the eyeball moist and lubricated.


A dog’s hearing is vastly superior to that of a human and he is, therefore, more sensitive to sounds than we are – especially those at high frequencies which we cannot hear (hence the use of ‘silent’ dog whistles). A dog’s mobile ears help to pinpoint the source of a sound, since they can be directed towards it.


A dog’s primary sense is his sense of smell, as it is essential in relation to his sex life and hunting for food and water. The area in a dog’s nose for detecting scent is nearly 37 times larger than that in humans, and is approximately 100 times more powerful than a human’s. The parts of the brain that process signals coming in from the nose are far greater in size and complexity in a dog than are the corresponding parts of the human brain.

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Home made Dog diets

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Home made diets

Home made diets are important in the dog feeding. Many a times, the commercial diets consist of food items that have artificial coloring agents and flavoring agents that are harmful to the dog’s body. Home made food items have the guarantee of freshness in the preparation unlike the ready-made commercial items.

The preservatives added in the commercial food items may not be the suitable ones to the dogs from the health point of view. Even in case of renal diseases in dogs, the home made diets may be made with ground beef, slices of bread, calcium carbonate, boiled eggs etc.

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Dry vs. Canned Dog food

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A look at Dog food

These types of food materials are different with different grades of liking by the dogs. Dogs like dry foods only if they are tasty only and however, on comparison, the dogs prefer only the canned food items. Reason for such preference by the dogs is that in case of canned food items, the moisture is about seventy to eighty per cent but in case of dry food, it is only about ten per cent.

However, if you view it in terms of nutrients, often the dry food contains nearly ninety per cent nutrients whereas the canned food items contain only less per cent of nutrients and most of the times. It is only soy products that are structured so well to look like meat pieces.

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Dogs need different diets at different ages

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Feeding your Dog

Dogs need different diets at different ages. Yes. This is true. For example, the puppy needs milk as the major food item while an adult dog may need beef or chicken in addition to the boiled egg and milk. So depending on the age factor, the diet schedule varies in reality for the dogs like any other species.

Puppies need greater amounts of protein, fat and carbohydrates than an adult dogs. Furthermore, puppies need more frequent feeding schedules in a day, unlike an adult dog. The movement based requirements of diet are more in the case of puppies, since they are often more active than the adult dogs.

Elder dogs need restricted protein but the protein needs to be easily digestible and easily assimilated in the body. The diet schedule should have ample supply of water for them. Feeding aged dogs too much protein may finally lead to over burden to the renal structures and ultimately, the dog may end up damaging filters in the kidney.

This is true especially when the immune system of these dogs is compromised due to many factors. Similarly, the elderly dogs need less food only because the movements of the adult dogs are highly restricted and hence, they have to spend a limited of energy.

Female dogs in the pregnancy stage need not be fed a full stomach since it may cause some discomforts to the animal. However, the pregnant animal and the nursing animal need special type of food items that deliver a balanced type of nutrition with proper supplementation of vitamins and minerals.

The nursing animal with puppies need to be fed with enough amounts of calcium and hence, there will not be any calcium based deficiency and the bones of the puppies will be strong without any curving.