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Common Pet Myths Debunked

March 15, 2024

Animals have been part of our lives since the dawn of time. They’ve taken on a variety of responsibilities, including friend, guardian, hunting companion, tracker, and therapist, to name just a few. Over the course of history, a great deal of lore has developed around our furry friends. It’s always fascinating to read through the various legends and myths. However, there is a cause for concern here. Many superstitions and old wives ‘tales’ still exist today, and some are actually quite dangerous. In this post, a local Beaufort, NC vet discusses some of the most common ones.

Common Myths about Dogs

Fido has definitely collected his fair share of rumors and speculation. Here are some of the major ones concerning Man’s Best Friend:

Fido Only Wags His Tail When He’s Happy

It’s not difficult to understand where the confusion stemmed from on this one. Dogs do wag their tails when they are joyful. In fact, some puppies are so eager that they can injure themselves by hitting their tails on objects. (This is known as Happy Tail Syndrome.)

What many people don’t know is that our canine buddies do not only wag their tails to indicate that they are happy. Puppies that are uneasy, distrustful, suspicious, or hesitant also wag their tails. They just do it more slowly. 

Think about tail speed as a mood indicator. Fast wags indicate that the pooch is enthusiastic. Slower ones can be more of a warning sign and, in some cases, a sign that a dog is considering attacking.

One Dog Year Is Equal To Seven Human Years

This age-old adage isn’t particularly useful. Dogs do not age at the same rate. Also, big and small canines mature differently. For instance, a Saint Bernard will reach his senior years long before a Pomeranian would. Ask your Beaufort, NC veterinarian for more information.

Fido Enjoys Hugs

This is a misconception, rather than a myth. To be fair, not all dogs dislike being cuddled. Fido is quite fond of his owners, therefore he is unlikely to complain if you hug him. Many pups love snuggling with their humans. However, hugs, do not translate particularly well into dog language. They are similar to the body language that dogs employ to assert dominance over one another. Therefore, pups can understandably mistake the intent.

This is actually pretty significant. If you have children, you should make sure that they understand this as well, and that they know to never hug a strange dog.

A Dry Nose Means Your Dog Is Sick

If we could diagnose Fido by looking at how dry his nose is, well, we’d have a lot fewer diagnostic tests and equipment here at our pet clinic. 

This rumor is false, but like many of the other things we’ve discussed, there is a grain of truth to be found.

There are several reasons why your dog’s nose may be dry. Senior dogs typically have dry noses. It could also indicate that Fido has taken a long nap and hasn’t licked his nose in a while.

However, this could be a sign of dehydration, which is very dangerous.

This appears to be a good opportunity to point out true symptoms of sickness. These include vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, weight loss or gain, limping, bloating, respiratory issues, trembling, and uncharacteristic behavior, such as grouchiness in a usually-cheerful pup. Contact your vet immediately if you notice any of these. 

Dogs Are Supposed To Eat Like Wolves

Many people want to feed their pets natural diets. We understand the intent, and appreciate the effort to make sure Fido is eating properly. However, it is critical to understand Fido’s dietary demands. While our canine companions descended from wolves, they diverged into their own branch of the family tree thousands of years ago. 

Fido’s diet should consist primarily of meat, but it should also include healthy fruits and vegetables, grains, eggs, and other stuff. Please talk to your Beaufort, NC veterinarian for precise guidance on your pup’s dietary needs.

Fluffy Always Lands On Her Feet

Like many old legends, this one has some truth to it. Fluffy is incredibly agile, and can even twist in midair. We’ve all witnessed those remarkable kitty acrobatics! However, just because our feline pals are furry little gymnasts does not mean they are immune to damage from falls. In fact, High Rise Syndrome is a term used to refer to the damage sustained by cats when they fall from heights. Make sure that your screens and windows close properly.

Our Feline Pals Have Nine Lives

It’s not too difficult to see where this one originated from. Fluffy has a knack for both getting herself into mischief and narrowly avoiding disaster. Despite this old proverb, our pets, like us, only have one life. (We’re not sure if Fluffy ever bothered to read this memo, but that’s another matter.)

Fluffy Hates Water

There is some truth to this one. Many of our feline friends certainly dislike getting wet. Some kitties enjoy being in the water. A few, like the Turkish Angora, like swimming.

Cats See In The Dark

It is true that cats see better at night than people do. Fluffy, on the other hand, does not have night vision. In fact, you might want to get a nightlight to help your feline pal navigate better at night.

Black Cats Are Unlucky

This ancient ‘tail’ has caused a great deal of pain to our feline friends, but it refuses to die. These legends date back to the Dark Ages, when Fluffy was falsely accused of witchcraft. Unfortunately, this resulted in a public backlash against black cats, with many unfortunately being killed. Even now, these ancient beliefs persist. 

It doesn’t help that black cats are a popular Halloween symbol. In fact, the public relations were so awful that there are now several different awareness days especially for black cats.

Kitties Can Bend Space And Time

To be frank, we’re not sure about this one. Let’s just say we have our doubts about Fluffy’s abilities to create wormholes and bend space and time to her will. We’ll follow up as soon as we obtain confirmation.

Kitties Only Purr If They’re Happy

As anyone with a cuddly furball can tell, our feline friends like to start their engines when they’re happy. Many cats purr when they are snuggled with their people. However, this is more than just a sign that Fluffy is happy. Cats also purr when they are ill, afraid, or lonely. This could be a way for them to relax.

Pets Should Have A Litter Before Being Fixed

Unfortunately, it is not unusual for individuals to believe that allowing pets to have a litter of babies prior to spaying them will make them healthier and happier. This is false. Not only are there no physical benefits to this, but encouraging pets to breed just increases the number of homeless animals. Ask your vet for more information.

Book an Appointment at Your Beaufort, NC Veterinary Clinic

Do you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your neighborhood Beaufort, NC pet hospital, for all of your pet’s veterinary care requirements. We are always happy to assist!

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