Sherry Davis

Friday, Aug 02 2013 04:00 PM

SHERRY DAVIS: Dogs see in color, just not the same as humans

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    By Felix Adamo/ The Californian

    Columnist Sherry Davis.

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By Sherry Davis

One of the questions I get asked most often is, "Do dogs see in color?"

Although most people of my generation grew up hearing that dogs were colorblind and could only see in shades of gray, scientific fact replaced that long-held myth and we know for a fact that dogs see in color.

So perhaps the real question should be, "Do dogs see color the same as humans?" Well, not exactly.

The eyes of people and dogs both have light catching cells called cones. People have three cones and dogs have two with the ability to see a full range of color vision based on the diversity of the cones in response to different wavelengths of light.

Test trials done at the University of California, Santa Barbara, confirmed that dogs see fewer colors than normal humans with their color spectrum made up of yellows, blues and grays.

Violet=dark blue, blue=light blue, light blue=gray, blue-green=gray, green=yellow, yellow=darker brownish-yellow, orange=brownish gray, red=dark brownish gray or black.

Dogs may not see the full-range of colors humans do, but compared to their highly-advanced sense of smell, they win by a nose.

***

JoEllen Minner lost the column I wrote on overheating in dogs, and since it appears that we will remain in the grip of 100-degree temperatures for some time, it's information worth repeating.

Dogs do not sweat to regulate body temperature. They shake or fluff their fur to circulate cool air to the skin and pant as a primary method of cooling off. The rapid exchange of cool outside air with the warm, humid air inside the lungs, plus the evaporation from the tongue, helps keep the dog's temperature in normal range.

When the outside air temperature is equal to or higher than their body temperature, evaporation won't help and heatstroke can occur.

Danger signs include:

* Bright red tongue and gums

* Thick, sticky saliva

* Rapid panting

* Elevated temperature (normal range from 100.5 degrees F to 102 degrees F) occurs when heat production exceeds heat loss.

Body temperature higher than 106 degrees F can be deadly. A dog can go into shock and may develop failure of the liver, kidneys, lungs, heart, or brain. Gums may turn pale, the dog may act weak or dizzy, develop a bloody nose, bloody vomiting or diarrhea, and can go into a coma when the brain begins to swell.

At temperatures of 106 degrees and higher, the body's blood-clotting system can fail.

* Dogs with flat, pushed-in faces like English bulldogs, pugs and Pekingese tend to have shorter windpipes, which keeps them from breathing as efficiently as longer-nosed dogs. These dogs often have trouble in weather that wouldn't bother other dogs. Higher-risk dogs may snore, snort or make lots of respiratory noises.

Sherry Davis is a dog trainer/owner of CSI 4 K9s. Email her at csi4k9s@yahoo.com. These are her opinions, not necessarily The Californian's.

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