Dogs can be quirky, that’s for sure. Just like cats, dogs have their own idiosyncrasies and behaviors that lend themselves to some pretty unusual myths. Over time, some of these ideas about dogs became facts. But are they really facts or just long-standing fictions that have readily been embraced?
Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital is here to separate fact from fiction by debunking common dog myths that can actually be detrimental to your pet.
7 Common Dog Myths That Simply Aren’t True
- Female dogs feel a sense of loss if they can’t have puppies. Let’s just chalk this one up to a bit of anthropomorphizing and say it isn’t true. There’s no evidence of emotional distress as a result of a lack of puppy parenting. While we’re at it, the myth that females should have one litter before being spayed is another misunderstanding.
The notion that dogs are healthier after a litter is erroneous, as well. In fact, the risk of developing infections and certain cancers is significantly decreased through spaying.
- Shelter pets are irreversibly damaged. This readily believed myth does an incredible disservice to pets who end up spending their lives in a shelter or are tragically euthanized. Most pets, with the proper training and attention, can blossom under the guidance and care of a loving owner.
- A wagging dog is a happy dog. There are a lot of good reasons to embrace this myth since, in many cases, wagging can be an expression of pleasure and happiness. However, wags are not meant to show positive feelings alone. Wagging can also be a signal of aggression, anxiety, or even pain or distress.
- Dog mouths are cleaner than our own. Before you concede to doggie smooches, you may want to break out the Listerine. While this old wives tale may have been started by the fact that dogs will lick their wounds to clean them, there’s nothing sterile about a dog’s mouth, which contains several bacteria.
- Canines see only in black and white. False! The cones found in a dog’s retina are better able to pick out shades of blue, and can therefore see in that spectrum of blue, yellow, and grey. Their vision is thought to be very similar to humans with red-green color blindness.
- Dogs age seven years for every one year of a human’s life. Although dogs lead shorter lives than the average human, the seven to one ratio doesn’t hold water. Some dogs age much faster than others, like a Great Dane who lives 6-8 years versus a Chihuahua who can live 18 years or more. Breed, lifestyle, and general health are strong factors in how quickly a pet shows signs of aging.
- Just playing in the backyard is enough exercise for dogs. On days you might feel a little lazy, this may be a myth you want to hold onto. Still, dogs need challenging activities, socialization with other pets and people, and interaction with you every day. Simply running around in a yard isn’t enough, and it will surely result in a bored and frustrated dog.
What are some of the dog myths you’ve encountered? Have you been fooled into believing any of the above? Please give us a call. We’re more than happy to answer any questions about these myths, including debunking myths about cats, as well!