It is a reflexive action for many dogs to try to pull away their back leg if it is lifted. Avoid lifting the leg to the side because this is uncomfortable for most dogs. Instead, pick up the foot and gently pull forward or backward. Don't be upset or punish the dog, just struggle through it and praise your dog when he or she is still. If you have a medium or large dog, you may be able to get away with clipping the nails on the hind feet without having to lift the foot.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, 3–4 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the United States and many more are confined to cages in shelters because there are many more animals than there are homes. Spaying or castrating dogs helps keep overpopulation down.[75] Local humane societies, SPCAs, and other animal protection organizations urge people to neuter their pets and to adopt animals from shelters instead of purchasing them.
Domestic dogs have been selectively bred for millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes.[17] Modern dog breeds show more variation in size, appearance, and behavior than any other domestic animal.[17] Dogs are predators and scavengers, and like many other predatory mammals, the dog has powerful muscles, fused wrist bones, a cardiovascular system that supports both sprinting and endurance, and teeth for catching and tearing.
Citing a 2008 study, the U.S. Center for Disease Control estimated in 2015 that 4.5 million people in the USA are bitten by dogs each year.[176] A 2015 study estimated that 1.8% of the U.S. population is bitten each year.[177] In the 1980s and 1990s the US averaged 17 fatalities per year, while since 2007 this has increased to an average of 31.[178] 77% of dog bites are from the pet of family or friends, and 50% of attacks occur on the property of the dog's legal owner.[178]

In 1758, the Swedish botanist and zoologist Carl Linnaeus published in his Systema Naturae the binomial nomenclature – or the two-word naming – of species. Canis is the Latin word meaning "dog",[21] and under this genus he listed the dog-like carnivores including domestic dogs, wolves, and jackals. He classified the domestic dog as Canis familiaris, and on the next page he classified the wolf as Canis lupus.[3] Linnaeus considered the dog to be a separate species from the wolf because of its cauda recurvata - its upturning tail which is not found in any other canid.[22]
As humans became more sophisticated, so did their dogs. Eventually, there emerged specific breeds of dogs, custom-bred to suit the breeders’ local needs and circumstances. The Greyhound, for instance, was the foundation type for the immense Irish Wolfhound and the dainty Italian Greyhound. All three have a distinct family resemblance, but you’d never mistake one for another.
Every serious dog owner will tell you that caring for your pet today is made easier, more convenient, and a lot safer if you equip yourself with only well-thought-out, independently-tested, and customer-approved gadgets. These items are not intended to replace the tender loving care and affection that dog owners can provide, these can nevertheless enhance the way we care for our pets. As such, we have scoured the market for the best gadgets every dog owner needs to help make being a pet parent a lot more meaningful for you.
Dog communication is how dogs convey information to other dogs, how they understand messages from humans, and how humans translate the information that dogs are transmitting.[103]:xii Communication behaviors of dogs include eye gaze, facial expression, vocalization, body posture (including movements of bodies and limbs) and gustatory communication (scents, pheromones and taste). Humans communicate to dogs by using vocalization, hand signals and body posture.
This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.

Dog behavior is the internally coordinated responses (actions or inactions) of the domestic dog (individuals or groups) to internal and/or external stimuli.[94] As the oldest domesticated species, with estimates ranging from 9,000–30,000 years BCE, the minds of dogs inevitably have been shaped by millennia of contact with humans. As a result of this physical and social evolution, dogs, more than any other species, have acquired the ability to understand and communicate with humans, and they are uniquely attuned to human behaviors.[18] Behavioral scientists have uncovered a surprising set of social-cognitive abilities in the domestic dog. These abilities are not possessed by the dog's closest canine relatives nor by other highly intelligent mammals such as great apes but rather parallel some of the social-cognitive skills of human children.[95]
Yes, though it is usually better to use dog clippers if you can get them. Dog clippers are designed to cut dog's hair, which usually has a coarser top coat and a softer undercoat, but not every dog has this type of coat. For instance, Yorkies and similar breeds only have one type of hair, more like humans, and so it actually makes perfect sense to use human clippers on this kind of dog.
A Colorado study found bites in children were less severe than bites in adults.[179] The incidence of dog bites in the US is 12.9 per 10,000 inhabitants, but for boys aged 5 to 9, the incidence rate is 60.7 per 10,000. Moreover, children have a much higher chance to be bitten in the face or neck.[180] Sharp claws with powerful muscles behind them can lacerate flesh in a scratch that can lead to serious infections.[181]
Clean your dog's ears. It's normal for a clean ear to have some wax in it, but there shouldn't be any particular smell to it. To clean your dog's ears, apply some ear cleaning solution (bought at a pet supply store) to a cotton round. Not too much or it will drip into the ear while wiping. Wipe dirt and wax away from the inner ear, but don't rub vigorously, as this might cause sores. Don't push too far into the ear, either. If your dog has drop ears like a bassett hound, wipe the inside of the ear flag as dirt collects there as well. The groomers rule of thumb is to clean only what you can see.

In the United States, cats and dogs are a factor in more than 86,000 falls each year.[183] It has been estimated around 2% of dog-related injuries treated in UK hospitals are domestic accidents. The same study found that while dog involvement in road traffic accidents was difficult to quantify, dog-associated road accidents involving injury more commonly involved two-wheeled vehicles.[184]


A common breeding practice for pet dogs is mating between close relatives (e.g. between half- and full siblings).[81] Inbreeding depression is considered to be due largely to the expression of homozygous deleterious recessive mutations.[82] Outcrossing between unrelated individuals, including dogs of different breeds, results in the beneficial masking of deleterious recessive mutations in progeny.[83]

In mythology, dogs often serve as pets or as watchdogs.[208] Stories of dogs guarding the gates of the underworld recur throughout Indo-European mythologies[210][211] and may originate from Proto-Indo-European religion.[210][211] In Greek mythology, Cerberus is a three-headed watchdog who guards the gates of Hades.[208] In Norse mythology, a bloody, four-eyed dog called Garmr guards Helheim.[208] In Persian mythology, two four-eyed dogs guard the Chinvat Bridge.[208] In Welsh mythology, Annwn is guarded by Cŵn Annwn.[208] In Hindu mythology, Yama, the god of death, owns two watch dogs who have four eyes. They are said to watch over the gates of Naraka.[212]

Clear the dog's eyes. White-haired breeds or those with large eyes that water a lot (Pekingese, Pugs, Pomeranians, etc.) may need more maintenance in this area than others. Depending on your particular dog, this step may be a simple matter of wiping or pulling eye debris away from the corners of the eyes. Long-haired or white-haired dogs may need special attention to make sure that all gunk is out of the coat, as they may get tear stains. You can buy products made for removing "tear stains" from a white coat at a pet supply store.
×