• Amber Calleran

Anatomy Series, 1: The Facts


Skull

  • Like in humans, your dog’s skull protects his brain. Interestingly, dogs’ skulls differ in terms of shapes and sizes.

  • The most common ones include:

  • Dolichocephalics: Long and pointed like a Whippet

  • Brachycephalics: Wide and broader like a Chihuahua

  • Mesocephalics: Medium size and shaped like a Labrador


Skeletal System

  • A dog has about 320 bones in the body and around 700 muscles.

  • However, dogs lack collar bones (unlike humans), giving them a larger stride for running.

  • The skeletons of today’s toy breeds mature in only a few months. However, those of giant breeds such the Mastiff take up to 16 to 18 months to mature.


Paws

  • The role of your dog’s paw pads is to cushion, provide traction and pump blood back up the leg. If the pads become injured or damaged it is likely to cause a decrease in limb function.


Tongue

  • Clustered around the tip of your dogs tongues are about 1700 taste buds that allow them to taste sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. In comparison, humans have 10,000 taste buds.


Teeth

  • Like humans, puppies are born toothless but they soon grow 28 razor sharp puppy teeth. Puppy teeth fall out (usually swallowed) at around 3 months as adult teeth push them through.


Eyes

  • Your dog’s eyes have 3 eyelids: lower, upper and third. The third eyelid acts as a windshield wiper, cleaning the eye and keeping it lubricated.

  • Dogs are red/ green colour blind and have a visual range of 250 degree visual range compared to humans who have 180 degree range.


Tail

  • Your dog’s tail is an extension of his spine, so any kind of injury to the tail can have a detrimental effect on his overall health.

  • The bones of the tail have special discs to cushion the gaps between them and the nerves and the muscles in the tail plays a significant role in bowel movements.


Neck

  • Depending on the size of the cervical 7 bones that your dog’s neck, it might be long or short.

  • The length of your dog’s vocal cords determines the loudness or pitch of his voice—his bark, grunt, or howl.


Gastrointestinal System

  • Dogs are omnivores and have a small intestine that constitutes about 25 percent of their total gastrointestinal volume.

  • It can take food about 6-8 hours to travel through the gastrointestinal tract, compared to that of humans that range between 20 and 30 hours.


Now you know a little bit more about how your dog is put together!

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