Pet Myths Debunked

Animals have been part of our lives since the beginning of history. They’ve served many different roles: friend, protector, hunting buddy, tracker, and therapist, to name a few. Over the ages, quite a bit of lore has evolved around our furred and feathered friends. It’s always interesting to look back through history and read the different legends and tales. However, there is a downside. Many superstitions and old wives ‘tails’ still persist, even to this day! A local London, ON vet goes through some of the most common ones in this article.

Cat Myth: Cats Always Land On Their Feet

As with many old legends, there is a grain of truth to this one. Fluffy is quite lithe, and can twist herself in midair. We’ve all seen those impressive kitty acrobatics! However, just because our feline friends are capable of doing some crazy kitty gymnastics does not mean that they are impervious to injury. In fact, there is a specific type of injury that is used to describe the injuries cats get when they fall from high places: High Rise Syndrome. This is one reason it’s important to make sure your screens and windows close well.

Cats Have Nine Lives

It’s not too hard to see where this one came from. Fluffy does have a knack for both getting herself into mischief and for narrowly escaping danger. Despite this old saying, though, our furry friends only have one life, just like the rest of us. (We’re not sure that Fluffy ever got this memo, but that’s another topic.)

Black Cats Are Unlucky

This old tail has actually done quite a bit of harm to our feline pals, but still refuses to die. These rumors go way back to the Dark Ages, when Fluffy was mistakenly accused of being linked to witchcraft. Unfortunately, this led to a public backlash against black kitties: many, sadly, were killed. The old superstitions still purrsist to this day. It doesn’t help that black cats are a popular Halloween motif. In fact, the PR was so bad that there are now a few different awareness days dedicated solely to black cats.

Kitties Can Teleport

To be fair, we aren’t quite sure about this one. Let’s just say we have our suspicions about Fluffy’s ability to use wormholes and bend space and time to her will. We’ll follow up when we have confirmation. 

Cats All Hate Water

There is a bit of truth to this one. Some of our feline buddies certainly do not care for getting wet. There are some kitites that like the water. A few, such as the Turkish Angora, even enjoy swimming.

Fluffy Can See In The Dark

It is true that cats can see better at night than we can. However, Fluffy can’t actually see in the dark. In fact, you may want to get a nightlight to help your furry friend get around better at night!

Kitties Only Purr When They Feel Happy

As anyone with a cuddly furball can attest, our feline pals do tend to start their engines when they’re feeling content. Many cats purr when snuggling with their humans. However, this isn’t just a signal that Fluffy is feeling happy. Cats also purr when they are sick, scared, or lonely. The thinking is that this may be a way for them to soothe themselves.

Myths About Dogs

Fido has also gathered his fair share of rumors and speculation. Here are some of the big ones about Man’s Best Friend:

Only Happy Dogs Wag Their Tails

It’s not too difficult to see where the confusion came from on this one. Dogs do wag their tails when they’re happy. In fact, some pups get so excited they can even hurt themselves by smacking their tails on things. This is called Happy Tail Syndrome. The confusion here comes from the fact that dogs don’t only wag their tails to show that they are feeling cheerful. Pups that are nervous, wary, suspicious, or uncertain also wag their tails. They just tend to do so much more slowly. Think of tail speed as a mood gauge. Fast wags=excited doggo. Slower ones? Not so much.

One Dog Year Equals Seven Human Years

Dogs don’t age at the same rates throughout their lives. Plus, big dogs and small dogs also mature and age differently. So, this old saying is not really a good gauge. If you aren’t sure whether your canine pal is a puppy, adult, or senior, reach out to your London, ON veterinarian.

Dogs Enjoy Hugs

This one is more of a misunderstanding than a myth. To be fair, some dogs don’t mind being cuddled. Fido tends to be very fond of his owners, so he probably won’t mind if you want to hug him. However, hugs don’t really translate well into doggy language. They actually are close to the body language dogs use to show dominance over each other.

This is actually pretty important. If you have children, you’ll want to make sure they understand this as well. It would be very easy for a child to innocently hug a dog … and for the dog to mistake the gesture for one of aggression.

Dogs See The World In Black And White

Another common misconception about Man’s Best Friend has to do with his vision. It’s true that Fido doesn’t see the same way we do. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t see color at all. The way your pet sees is actually more akin to being colorblind. While blues and yellows may look the same to Fido, he can see reds and greens, though they will look a bit grey.

If Fido’s Nose Is Dry, It Means He Is Sick

If you could immediately tell if a dog was sick because of how dry their nose is, well, we’d have a lot less diagnostic tests and equipment in our pet clinic. This one is false, though, like many of the other things we’re mentioning here, there is a grain of truth to be found.

Wet noses allow Fido to detect scents more easily. Your dog’s nose secretes a special mucus, which is designed to trap scent molecules.

Your canine pal’s nose can be dry for a few reasons. Senior dogs often have rather dry noses. This could also mean Fido has just taken a long nap, and hasn’t licked his nose for a while. It may also be dry out.

That said, this can be an indication of dehydration, which is definitely a serious health concern.

This seems a good time to point out actual signs of sickness. 

Here are a few of the big ones: 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Limping
  • Bloating
  • Staggering
  • Warm Back
  • Changes In Appetite, Weight, or Behavior

Dogs Should Eat Like Wolves

Many people are interested in feeding their pets natural diets. That’s definitely something to be commended! However, it’s important to understand Fido’s nutritional needs. While our canine pals were descended from wolves, they split onto their own branch of the family tree thousands of years ago. Fido’s diet should be based mostly on meat, but that should be supplemented with other things, such as healthy fruits and veggies, and perhaps rice, eggs, or other items. Be sure to ask your London, ON veterinarian for specific advice on this.

Pets Should Have A Litter Before Being Fixed

It’s unfortunately not uncommon for people to assume that pets will be healthier and happier if they are allowed to have a litter of babies before being spayed or neutered. This is actually false. Not only are there no physical benefits, encouraging pets to breed only adds to the ever-rising numbers of homeless animals.

Make An Appointment At Your London, ON Veterinary Clinic

Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your local London, ON pet hospital, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!

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