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Common Myths About Pets

March 15, 2024

Fluffy and Fido have been a part of our lives since the beginning of time. They have been our friends, guardians, hunting partners, and therapists, just to name a few. Our furry friends have also been the subject of a lot of stories over the years. Reading about different myths and stories from the past is always fun. However, there is a downside to this. A lot of myths and old wives’ tales are still around today! A Markham, ON veterinarian discusses some of the common ones in this article.

Cat Myths

Kitties Always Land On Their Feet

Like many old stories, this one has some truth to it. Fluffy is very agile and can twist herself while she’s in the air. Unfortunately, just because our feline friends can do some crazy kitty gymnastics doesn’t mean they can’t get hurt. Make sure your screens and windows close well!

Fluffy Has Nine Lives

It’s not too difficult to understand where this one came from. Fluffy does have a way of getting into trouble and then just barely getting out of harm’s way. However, our feline pals only have one life, just like us. (We’re not sure if Fluffy got this message, but that’s a different subject.)

Black Cats Are Unlucky

Our animal friends have been hurt by this old tail a lot, but it still won’t go away. These stories go all the way back to the Middle Ages, when Fluffy was wrongly thought to have something to do with witchcraft. Unfortunately, this made people wary of black cats. Sadly, those old beliefs are still around today. 

The fact that black cats are a common Halloween theme doesn’t help. There are even days set aside just to raise awareness about black cats.

Our Feline Pals Can Teleport

To be honest, we’re not really sure about this one. We have some suspicions about Fluffy’s ability to use wormholes and change the course of space and time. We will follow up as soon as we know.

Cats Hate Water

There’s some truth to this. Many of our feline friends really don’t like getting wet. Certain kitties actually like being in the water, though. In fact, some, like the Turkish Angora, even like to swim.

Fluffy Can See In The Dark

Cats really can see better at night than people do, but they can’t see in total darkness. You might want to get a nightlight for your pet to help them see better at night!

Cats Purr Only When They Are Pleased

Anyone who has ever made friends with an affectionate cat can attest to this. Kitties do tend to purr when they’re happy, or when they are cuddling with their owners. There’s more to this cute quirk, though. Cats also purr when they are sick, scared, or lonely. People believe this could be a way for them to calm themselves down.

Dog Myths

There have also been a lot of stories and guesses about Fido. Some of the most important ones about Man’s Best Friend are listed below:

Only Happy Dogs Wag Their Tails

It’s not hard to see where the misunderstanding came from with this one. When dogs are happy, they do wag their tails. (Some dogs get so excited that they hit their tails on things hard enough to hurt them! The name for this is Happy Tail Syndrome.)

However, dogs don’t just wag their tails to show that they are happy. If a puppy is scared, suspicious, nervous, or unsure, the pooch may wag its tail, but slowly. Tail speed can be thought of as a mood indicator. Dogs that wag their tails quickly are happy. A slow wag can be a sign of unease.

Seven Human Years Equals One Dog Year

This old proverb is really not a good way to measure your pup’s age. Dogs don’t age at the same rate throughout the course of their lives. Also, big dogs and small dogs age at different rates. Talk to your Markham, ON vet for more information on this. 

Dogs Enjoy Hugs

Many people have the wrong idea about this one. To be fair, many dogs really do like being petted and cuddled. Your own dog probably won’t mind if you want to hug him. 

However, dogs don’t see hugs the same way we do. To our canine pals, they may actually be a sign of domination. 

This is actually pretty important. If you have children, make sure your kids understand this. A child could easily hug a dog to show affection, only for the dog to think something different.

A Dry Nose Means Your Dog Is Sick

This one is also wrong. If a dog’s dry nose could tell us right away that Fido is sick, well, we wouldn’t need as many diagnostic tests and tools in our pet clinic! 

Let’s delve into the grain of truth behind this one. Fido can smell things better when his nose is wet. The mucus that comes out of your dog’s nose is specially made to catch scent molecules.

There are several reasons why your dog’s nose might be dry. Old dogs tend to have dry noses. Fido may have just woken up from a long nap and hadn’t licked his nose in a while. 

That said, dry noses could be a sign of dehydration, which is a very dangerous problem.

Now seems like a good time to talk about real proof of sickness.

These are some of the most important ones:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Bloating
  • Swelling
  • Withdrawal
  • Grumpiness
  • Staggering
  • Breathing Issues
  • Changes in Thirst/Appetite
  • Skin/Fur Problems
  • Limping

Generally, anything that seems out of the ordinary for your pet could be a red flag. Contact us immediately if you notice any of these, or anything else that seems unusual for your canine buddy. 

Fido Should Eat Like A Wolf

A lot of people want to give their pets natural foods. We understand! However, it’s important to know what Fido actually needs to eat to stay healthy. Yes, your pooch does need a lot of meat in his diet, but that isn’t all he needs to eat. Man’s Best Friend is technically an omnivore.

Although dogs are related to wolves, they split off into their own branch of the family tree a very long time ago. Fido should eat mostly meat, but he should also eat healthy fruits and vegetables, rice, eggs, and other things. Of course, you don’t want to go the other day and not give your pup enough meat. Get specific help on this from your Markham, ON veterinarian.

Pets Should Have Litters Before Being Spayed

Many people think their pets will be healthier and happier if they have kittens or puppies before they are spayed or neutered. In fact, this is not true. Not only are there no health benefits, but letting pets have babies only adds to the growing number of animals that need homes.

Set up a time to see your Markham, ON veterinary clinic.

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

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