If the sight of a puppy doesn’t stir your heart, do you even have one? Jokes aside, puppies are some of the cutest baby animals on Earth. There’s evidence that humans have had a soft spot for these irresistible bundles of joy for thousands of years. We’ve studied them and learned a lot about man’s best friend in infancy and beyond.
Studies suggest that 'puppy dog eyes' are a result of evolution. Dogs and wolves have similar muscles in their faces but not around the eyes. Dog's eyes are more expressive, which they may have developed over millennia of domestication due to nurturing responses from human beings. Siberian huskies are similar to wolves and don't have these facial muscles. Dogs also make eye contact with people, and this connection leads to the release of oxytocin and makes us feel good.
People are always talking about cat naps. But have you ever noticed how long puppies sleep? They're away in dreamland for up to 20 hours every day. And the sleep doesn't just inspire 'awws' from humans; it helps with the puppy's brain and body development. Because sleep serves such an essential function at this age, you need to place puppies in a space where they won't be troubled by external stimuli.
Little kids start to lose their baby teeth around the age of six. Puppies have baby teeth, too—they just work on a different timeline. When your little fur baby is between three and six weeks old, baby teeth come in. And they lose these baby teeth approximately ten weeks later. Your puppy should have a full set of adult teeth by eight months. You can avoid taking your adult dog to the dentist by starting to brush its teeth when it's a puppy, between two and four months old.
If you've ever wondered about the linguistic roots of the word puppy, it likely comes from the Old French word poupee, meaning doll or plaything. Around the 16th century, the word's meaning shifted from toy dog to young dog. Before that, young dogs were referred to as whelps. But the word puppy also serves other purposes in the English language today. Consider puppy fat or puppy love, terms that were in use more than a century ago too.
There's no greater homage paid to baby dogs than artist Jeff Koons's 1997 sculpture, Puppy. It's a permanent installation and still stands 40 feet tall outside the Guggenheim Museum in the Spanish city of Bilbao. The sculpture depicts a West Highland white terrier, and two times a year, fresh flowering plants blanket a structure built to sustain them for the season.
Puppies mean big money in Hollywood. Celebs do the rounds with their pet Pomeranians and chihuahuas, and highly trained movie animals command high fees. According to dog trainer Teresa Ann Miller, puppies are easier to ready for roles than you'd think. They're sponges that learn quickly—all it takes is persistence, clickers, and many treats. The results are worth the effort— audiences love seeing baby animals doing their thing.
Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl has been around for well over a decade, and it's as beloved as ever. Super Bowl counterprogramming doesn't get much better than seeing shelter puppies duking it out adorably to raise awareness for their cause. Talk about cuteness overload! And with kitty half-time shows and other special appearances in the mix, it's no wonder millions of viewers still look forward to this TV tradition.
Puppies are born blind and deaf. Being heavily pregnant isn't conducive to hunting and finding food, so dogs evolved to be pregnant for shorter periods. This means that puppies do a fair bit of developing after their mommas give birth. Cue all that sleeping, almost like they're still in the womb. It takes about two weeks before puppies open their eyes, and their sense of smell and touch keeps them going for the first few weeks of their lives.
While approximately 10,000 human babies are born in the U.S. every day, about 70,000 puppies come into this world. When you look at global figures, there are 1.2 million puppies born every day. Just the thought is enough to melt a dog lover's heart. But around three out of eight puppies in a litter die within weeks of being born. Fading puppy syndrome is responsible for half of these deaths. Puppies appear well at birth but lose interest in suckling for various reasons, including inadequate lactation or constipation.
One of the most popular segments on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon involves puppies. Jimmy and a celebrity sit across from each other, and they both take turns answering quiz questions. The winner of each round gets a sweet puppy to cuddle. There’s usually a lot of playful doggy squirming, and the star of the day gets a dopamine boost from all the snuggles.
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