Have you ever wondered about the many urban legends about pets, and came to the conclusion that some of these ‘general truths’ seem questionable at best? Even in today’s world, where much information is available to us in just a click of a button, accurate and trustworthy information can be tough to find. Today, our in-house veterinarian Dr. Liao is here to help answer some popular pet myths.
Pet Myth: Cats always land on their feet.
Truth: While a feline’s ‘air righting reflex’ is one of the coolest things in the animal world, sometimes falls for housecats can be too low or too high, causing cats to fall on their sides or suffer internal and external injuries, despite their best efforts to land on their feet.
Pet Myth: Dogs see in only black and white.
Truth: While dogs can perceive color, they can see only shades of blue, yellow, and green. In addition, their vision is much blurrier in bright light.
Pet Myth: Cats should drink milk.
Truth: While cats may love the taste of milk, they are lactose intolerant creatures. However, they don’t know this and will often happily lap up a dish of milk or cream, oftentimes resulting in episodes of painful diarrhea, vomiting, and sometimes even pancreatitis.
Pet Myth: Dogs eat their own feces when they have a nutritional deficiency.
Truth: Dogs eat their own feces because some dogs find this smelly snack to be a delicacy, not because they have a nutritional deficiency. Gross but True .
Pet Myth: If my dog’s nose is dry and warm, he must be sick
Truth: While a wet, cold nose can be an indicator that our pet is healthy, the opposite doesn’t mean our pet is unhealthy. Dogs with dry, warm noses are often healthy. Instead, look for signs such as vomiting, lethargy, or coughing for indicators of sickness, and please call your local veterinarian if you see these signs.
Pet Myth: Dogs eat grass when they are sick.
Truth: This one can be a bit confusing because occasionally, some dogs will chew on grass to attempt to help alleviate digestive issues, especially when vomiting. However, many dogs often eat grass just because they like the taste and texture, or because they’re bored. Watch for signs of vomiting in correlation with the grass eating, as it might mean a visit to your local vet is due.
Pet Myth: Pets need to lick their wounds for them to heal.
Truth: Pets lick wound often, to debride loose, damaged tissue. However, continuous licking will lead to inflammation and subsequent infection. Please get an e-collar to stop your pet from licking an open wound and take them to a veterinarian.
Pet Myth: Female pets should have a litter before getting spayed.
Truth: In reality, spaying a pet prior to her first heat cycle actually decreases the chance of many health risks, such as developing mammary tumors and uterine infections. Currently, no evidence states that having a litter prior to getting spayed provides any long-term health benefits.
Pet Myth: Sibling pets do not need to be fixed because they will not mate.
Truth: Animals do not have any taboos against mating with siblings. They will mate with the opposite sex if given ample opportunity. So please, if you have sibling pets in the same household, please spay and neuter them, as inbreeding can cause many congenital and developmental issues in individuals within the litter.
Pet Myth: A wagging tail means the dog is happy and friendly.
Truth: While most times a wagging tail means a happy pet, there are times when a wagging tail can mean agitation, anger, aggression, or anxiety. It is best to assess corresponding body language (i.e. ears, back, fur, stance) to better understand overall mood and behavior as a response to certain stimulus.
Pet Myth: It’s okay to skip flea, tick, and heartworm prevention during winter months.
Truth: Fleas, ticks, and mosquitos can cause more severe diseases in your pets (such as anemia, lyme disease, heartworm disease, etc…), and can stay active in temperatures as low as 33 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, please keep your pets on flea, tick, and heartworm preventive medication year-round as preventative measures against these diseases.
Pet Myth: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Truth: You can definitely teach an old pet new tricks. Just like with people, with proper motivation and support, our older pets can learn new things every day as they age. Oftentimes, your senior pet will surprise you with their ability to learn and adapt.
I hope you’ve found these answers to some common pet myths to be helpful in raising a happy healthy dog. We’re happy to hear from you if there are any other myths you would like us to answer! Please feel free to reach out to our team on Facebook, Instagram, e-mail, or in the comments section if you have any other questions or if you’ve found this article helpful.
About the Author:
Dr. Zonram Liao D.V.M. is a Southern California native, and earned his undergraduate degree from University of California, San Diego before obtaining his veterinary degree from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. He is not only a firm believer in the use of supportive care supplements to improve the health and happiness of his patients, but also is a strong advocate of the benefits of preventive care medicine for his patients as well. During his free time, Dr. Liao enjoys spending his time outdoors fishing and hiking, playing basketball, watching movies, cooking, traveling, and trying new foods.