Fun Facts about Horses, Dogs, & Food!
If you’re a fan of Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit, you’ll love our fun and interesting facts about horses, dogs, and food — facts that could come in quite handy!
Horses: Did you know…. ???
• Veterinary surgeons were referred to as farriers in the 1600s and 1700s until 1796 when the British Army’s Board of General Officers re-named them “veterinary surgeons”.1
• A horse’s teeth take up a larger amount of space in their head than their brain.2
• A horse’s heart typically weighs between 4kg and 4.5kg and is about the size of a basketball.3
• Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), commonly found in many horse supplements, is made either by a reaction of sulfur and methane gas, or with petroleum byproducts and paper mill waste.4
• Studies at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College shows that the intestinal microbiome of a horse consists of quadrillions of microbes. A quadrillion is larger than a trillion, and is written with 15 zeros!5
• A British study in 2013 showed that horses feel calm and relaxed when listening to classical and country music. The same study discovered that jazz and rock music agitated horses. Any noise over 21 decibels caused horses to become stressed.6
To put this in perspective:
- Whispering from five feet away is 20 decibels.
- A refrigerator is at 50 decibels.
- Normal conversation and background music is 60 decibels.
- Chainsaw, leaf blower, and motorcycle clock in at 106-115 decibels.
- A riding lawn mower registers 90 decibels.
- A tractor is about 92 decibels.
- A weed-eater is 96 decibels.
Dogs: Did You Know… ???
• A dog’s nose print is unique, much like a person’s fingerprint.7
• Teddy Roosevelt had a bull terrier named Pete, who ripped a French Ambassador’s pants off at the White House (The French government formally complained about the incident.).8
• Obesity and cancer are the top two health issues in dogs in the US.
• The first commercial dog food was invented by James Spratt, a lightning rod salesman from Ohio, who came up with the idea while living in England and observing street dogs eating the non-perishable, staple of common seamen called “hardtack.” Spratt called his dog food the “Patented Meat Fibrine Dog Cake” and began operations in the US in 1870.9
His ingredients consisted of: grains, beetroot, vegetables, and dried, unsalted gelatinous parts of dried meat meal. Americans generally fed their dogs table scraps, and Spratt set about convincing Americans to feed dogs his biscuits instead. Thus began the transition from humans sharing their food with their dogs, to feeding “dog food.”
Food: Did You Know… ???
• Spirulina contains 25 times more beta carotene than raw carrots. 10
• Sunflowers are native to South and North America. Sunflower plants have been used to extract toxins such as lead, arsenic and uranium from contaminated soils. They were used to reduce contamination following the Chernobyl disaster and after Fukishima.11
• Almonds: It takes 1,000 pounds of almonds to make 1 pint of almond oil.12
• Flax: In the 8th century, King Charlemagne of France passed a law requiring his subjects to consume flax. Today Canada is the largest producer and exporter of flaxseed in the world.13
• Chimichangas originated in Tucson, Arizona in the 1950’s. The name Chimichanga (meaning “thingamajig”) was coined by a cook who was trying to not curse in front of the kids.14
• There are over 1,000 varieties of bananas all over the world, but the banana sold in most supermarkets is a genetic clone of the Cavendish variety. Since the Cavendish does not have seeds, it must be cloned by farmers to continue production.15
• The Aztecs used cocoa beans and chia as currency.16
• In ancient Egypt workers could be paid in radishes, onions, and garlic.7
• During the Middle Ages black pepper was an expensive spice and sometimes used by nobleman to pay their taxes.18
• Carrots were originally purple or white, according to the National Carrot Museum in the UK. The orange carrots of today are the result of a genetic mutation in the late 16th century.19
• It is said that the classic American “macaroni and cheese” returned with Thomas Jefferson to Virginia after his sojourn in Italy. However, Jefferson was most likely not the first to introduce macaroni (with or without cheese) to America, nor did he invent the recipe. He did, however, help to popularize it by serving it to dinner guests during his presidency. A recipe for macaroni in Jefferson’s own hand survives.20
• High-frequency sounds enhance the sweetness in food, while low frequencies bring out the bitterness. Examples of high frequency sounds are birds chirping, a child’s squeal, women’s voices, a whistle. Low frequency sounds are thunder, a bass drum, a man’s deep voice.21
- Sp Coll Morris, 1906, The Horse, Its treatment in health & disease, London. University of Glasgow Library Special Collections, https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/library/files/special/exhibns/month/nov2008.html
- Redrup, G. 2020, 29 fascinating facts about horses, Horse & Hound, https://www.horseandhound.co.uk/features/horse-facts-653825
- Ball, M. 1998 >Heart Murmurs in Horses, the Horse, https://thehorse.com/14678/heart-murmurs-in-horses/
- Konaklieva and Plotkin. “Anti-inflammatory Sulfur-Containing Agents with Additional Modes of Action.” Anti-Inflammatory & Anti-Allergy Agents in Medicinal Chemistry. 2007. Vol 4. pp 271-277.
- Oke, S. DVM, 2017, Exploring the Equine Microbiome, The Horse, https://thehorse.com/18361/exploring-the-equine-microbiome/
- Lesté-Lasserre, C., MA , Music Genre’s Effect on Horse Behavior Evaluated, The Horse. January 2013, https://thehorse.com/115110/music-genres-effect-on-horse-behavior-evaluated/
- Andrei, J. Startup Company Tracks Lost Dogs Using Their Nose Prints. (DogTime.com), https://dogtime.com/lifestyle/81055-track-lost-dogs-nose-prints
- Theodore Roosevelt’s Pete, (PresidentialPetMuseum.com) 1999-2018, https://www.presidentialpetmuseum.com/theodore-roosevelts-pete/
- Slater, D. Who Made That Dog Biscuit? The New York Times Magazine, August 2014, https://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/03/magazine/who-made-that-dog-biscuit.html
- Spirulina Pacifica, Chlorella-World, https://www.chlorella-world.com/spirulina-info-16-w.asp