MYTH #1: My pet’s nose is dry and/or warm, which means he is sick.
The temperature, dryness or moistness of a dog/cat’s nose is not a reliable indicator of their health, nor does it indicate an illness. A dog/cat’s nose can change from dry to wet and back to dry several times a day; changes with daily activity, genetics, even environment.
MYTH #2: My cat purrs only when she is happy.
Yes, cats purr when they are happy and content. Cats will purr to comfort their young. However, cats also purr in times of fear, pain, or distress.
MYTH #3: Every wagging tail means a happy dog.
Yes, dogs wag their tail when they are happy, friendly and excited. However, dogs will also wag their tail when they are scared, insecure or aggressive. It is important to pay attention and interpret the rest of the dog’s body language and use caution when approaching a dog you don’t know.
MYTH #4: My dog is eating grass because he is sick.
Dogs eat grass for many reasons: boredom, behavioral issues, to fulfill a nutritional need, to improve digestion, or just because it tastes good. A sick dog does not eat grass with intention of vomiting, though doing so, often does result in vomiting.
MYTH #5: Dogs and cats only need to go to the vet when they are sick.
Just like humans, pets should have regular routine medical care to ensure the best health. The popular idiom applies: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Preventing diseases is much easier and cost efficient than treating the disease. Yearly exams, weight checks, vaccinations, monthly preventatives (to prevent fleas, ticks, heart worms, intestinal parasites) and routine diagnostics are an integral part of keeping your furry family member as healthy as possible.
MYTH #6: My dog/cat is not painful because she is not crying out/whining.
Animals can be stoic, tough and protective. Lameness is a sign of pain, despite an otherwise happy attitude. Other signs of pain could include (but are not limited to) licking at a particular area, slow and arched gait, irregular posture, pacing and restlessness. If your pet is showing some of these symptoms, or others, an exam by a veterinarian is warranted.
MYTH #7: One dog year is equivalent to seven human years in age.
Dogs do age more quickly than humans, but the seven to one ratio is not accurate. A dogs size, breed and genetics play a part in determining a dogs lifespan. On average, a smaller dog will tend to live longer than a large or giant breed dog.
MYTH #8: My cat does not need flea preventatives because he is only indoors.
Fleas thrive very well in regulated temperatures in the home. Fleas can easily hop onto a human and catch a ride inside your home and then onto your pet. Fleas can develop in the cracks between the boards of hardwood floors and hide in carpet fibers. The lifecycle of a flea has four stages: egg, larval, pupae, adult. In the pupae stage, the cocoon can protect the developing flea from environmental conditions and insecticides/repellants for months, if the environmental conditions are not optimal for emergence.
MYTH #9: Shaving/clipping my long haired dog’s coat will help keep her cooler.
Most dogs with long hair have better protection from the sun and better temperature regulation. Their coat works like a thermostat to help regulate their body temperature in both hot and cold weather. The undercoat and outer coat form an insulated barrier that helps with this temperature regulation. Dogs will naturally shed hair in the summer to help stop them from overheating and tend to grow thicker coats during the colder months. Dogs cool themselves by panting, not by sweating, like in humans. Dogs only sweat in the pads of their paws, which is not an effective method of cooling. A dogs coat is also protective against harmful effects of the sun and UV rays.
MYTH #10: I read it on the internet, so it must be true.
The internet can be both a blessing and a curse. There is a vast amount of information on the internet about pet care, which can be helpful, but also can be misleading and downright false. The information found on “Dr. Google” is virtually unregulated and its quality ranges from experts to pure quackery. Be sure to pay attention to which websites you are trusting and which forums you are reading. Check the source and research the credentials of the author. It is best to consult with your veterinarian about issues and concerns.