Top Animal Myths
- Cats always land on their feet after a fall: Despite their keen sense of balance and acrobatics, many cats are actually injured falling from high elevations. Pet owners should always monitor cats on outdoor balconies and keep screens secure.
- Dogs actually have “clean” mouths and when they lick their wounds, they are helping the healing process: Dogs’ mouths actually have numerous types of bacteria. Repeated licking of a wound, even a minor one, can lead to more serious skin problems. Always check with your veterinarian whenever your pet has a skin wound or a wound that won’t heal.
- Cats need milk in their diet: This well-known fallacy has its roots in antiquity. Although many cats do LIKE milk, it is not necessary in their diet. In fact, many cats will display signs of digestive upset, such as diarrhea, after drinking milk.
- Cats can be fed an all tuna diet: Again, many cats LOVE the flavor and taste of tuna. Despite this love, an all tuna diet is actually bad for cats. High levels of magnesium can increase Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease. The presence of Thiaminase in tuna will actually destroy one of the B vitamins, leading to nutritional deficiencies. It is okay to feed small amounts of tuna as a treat.
- If your dog eats his feces, he has worms! Many dogs will eat their feces as well as other dogs’ feces. Although this is a disgusting behavior and pets can acquire parasites from the habit, it is not strictly a sign intestinal parasites. Many mother dogs will do this to clean her newborn puppies and some pets will do it as an attention getting behavior. The problem may also be poor nutrition and a learned habit. In any case, your veterinarian will be able to help you stop the problem.
- Another sign of worms is when a dog “scoots” across the ground: Although dogs with tapeworms will scoot due to the itchiness of the worm segments, not all scooting dogs have worms. Anal sac disease is the most common reason for “scooting”. Other reasons include diarrhea and allergies. Even this problem can be an attention getting behavior and after medical problems are ruled out, some re-training may be required.
- Cutting off a cat’s whiskers causes loss of balance: Cat’s whiskers are not involved in maintaining balance, only as an aid to “feel” their way through their world. This may cause a cat to loose its sense of spatial orientation and you may notice some different behavior.
- Female dogs should have at least litter of puppies before spaying: This old wives tale has been around for a long time and is totally untrue. There is no known benefit to allowing a pet to reproduce unnecessarily. Spaying a female before her first heat virtually eliminates her risk of developing breast cancer. A look at any local animal shelter will turn up many dogs and cats who are offspring of this type of needless breeding.
- Pets eat grass because they know they are sick: Many pets will eat grass and then vomit, but this does not mean that they are sick. Some dogs and cats even eat grass simply because they like it. The most reasonable explanation for this behavior, at this time, is that it is an instinctual habit leftover from wild dogs and cats who used the grass to try to purge themselves of internal parasites. Theories of nutritional deficiencies abound, but no confirmation has been found. Changes in your pet’s grass eating behavior (suddenly eating more or less grass) should be investigated by your veterinarian.
10) Pets with warm, dry noses are sick: It’s possible that your pet has a warm nose because he’s been lying in the sun! Unless you see other signs of illness, such as depression, lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea, there probably is no need to worry! As always, if you see signs of illnesses or just have concerns about your pet, contact your veterinarian. The staff at your veterinary hospital can help you decide when you should bring your pet in for examination.