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8 Myths / Misconceptions About Dogs

Published on December 3, 2014

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Mythbusting Pender-style!

Some sayings that have been around for centuries are true but some are simply myths that can put you or your pet at risk.  How many of these myths have you heard before?

MYTH 1:  A warm or dry nose means my dog is sick.

TRUTH:  The temperature of a dog’s nose does not indicate health or illness.  A dog’s nose is often dry and may or may not be warm if he has just woken up (and this is normal).  However, if your dog’s nose is persistently dry and crusted, this may be a sign of a health problem.

MYTH 2:  Dog mouths are cleaner than human mouths.

TRUTH:  Dog mouths contain high amounts of bacteria!  Think about the stuff your dog eats off the ground, out of the trash or the areas he licks on himself. This myth originated because of a dog’s rough tongue is good at removing dead tissue and stimulating circulation to let wounds heal faster.  However, sometimes licking a wound introduces bacteria and may irritate the wound further.

MYTH 3:  Dogs eat grass to make themselves throw up.

TRUTH:  We have no proven answers to why dogs eat grass. Research has shown that some dogs just like to graze on grass, but enough grass will create minor irritation and cause the dog to vomit.

MYTH 4:  Female dogs should have one litter before being spayed.

TRUTH:  There is no evidence that allowing dogs to go into heat to produce a litter before being spayed has any health benefits at all.  In all actuality, spaying a dog after she has gone into heat or had a litter can raise the risks of surgery and her chances of getting uterine infections or mammary cancer later in life.

MYTH 5:  Garlic prevents fleas.

TRUTH:  Garlic has not been proven to be beneficial in battling fleas; in fact, large amounts of garlic can actually be harmful to your dog.  There have been many advancements in flea and tick protection over the past decade and all of the products our doctors recommend have been proven safe and effective.  Remember, it is always better to prevent fleas then to treat them so keep your pet on flea/tick protection year-round!

MYTH 6:  A few table scraps are OK for my dog.

TRUTH:  Certain table scraps (i.e. bones or fat/grease) can be dangerous to some pets. They may not be able to digest these scraps and it can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as pancreatitis.  Plus, table scraps are empty calories for dogs when they need precisely balanced nutrition to remain healthy.  Some bones, such as chicken bones, become more brittle when cooked and can break into sharp pieces when chewed; these pieces can puncture the stomach or intestines, requiring surgery to repair.

MYTH 7:  Dogs that are mostly indoors don’t need heartworm prevention.

TRUTH:  Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes which easily come inside our homes.  Most heartworm prevention also includes medicine that deworms your pet.  A recent study found that 30% of potting soil has parasite eggs in it so even if your pet never goes outside there is a good chance he/she is still being exposed to heartworms and other worms!

MYTH 8:  Frequent baths make dogs smell nice and it’s good for their skin.

TRUTH:  While baths can make your pet smell nice, you may be stripping the natural oils out of your dog’s coat.  These natural oils keep the dog’s skin and coat healthy and stripping the oils out could cause an increase in dander, white flakes on the coat, and itchiness.  Human shampoos can irritate dog’s skin because they are not designed for dog skin and coats.  Use only shampoos that are for dogs because dogs require a higher pH balanced soap than humans.

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