I could go on and on about this and probably come up with a lot more than 5, but there’s plenty of time to do some sequels. So in no particular order, here are 5 of some of the most common myths people ask about on a daily basis. (I use the word dog in this, but they all apply to cats as well.)
1. My dog must be sick because his nose is warm.
There are several places to take an accurate temperature on the dog, but the nose is not one of them. Note the multiple corollaries to this one: My dog’s nose is cold/dry/wet therefore he must be sick. I would love to be able to predict a dog’s state of health based on how his nose feels- it would make my job a lot easier!- but sadly, a warm nose means only that his nose is, well, warm.
2. My dog isn’t hurting that badly, because he’s not yelping.
This is usually said in relation to a limping dog. If you’ve ever known a person who was injured, or maybe even just someone who was arthritic, I imagine they probably don’t moan and groan every single time they take a step. That just takes too much energy, unless you are of course looking for attention and/or sympathy. Considering dogs are in general even more stoic that most humans, it stands to reason that they have a good ability to remain quiet even when they are experiencing discomfort or pain. Oftentimes people have no idea how much their dog is hurting until they treat the problem, and are then amazed at how much more spry their dog has become.
This also applies to pets with dental disease, when owners assume they are OK and not in need of treatment because they are able to eat despite a mouth full of rotting teeth.
3. My dog doesn’t need heartworm preventive because he’s not around other dogs.
Heartworms are spread by a bite from an infected mosquito. A dog can be infected with heartworms even if they have never met another dog in their life. Although there are some areas of the country where heartworms are endemic, even in areas with a low heartworm prevalence, like my own, we have been seeing it more and more. It’s so easy to prevent and so difficult to treat, there really is no reason to skimp on this medication.
4. I don’t need to neuter or spay my dogs because they are brother and sister. They know better.
Dogs, sadly, are not blessed with the societal norms that we are. Should they heed their biological imperative and procreate with a relative, there is no jail time, no fear of being ostracized from the community, no neighbors making rude comments about Deliverance, etc. So when it happens, the only one who looks bad is you.
5. My dog doesn’t need a dental cleaning. I brush his teeth once a week.
You brush your teeth twice a day (hopefully) or more, and you still need to get your teeth cleaned. Although we have suspected it for years, a recent paper in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association confirmed the link between dental disease and heart disease in dogs. It’s not just about the breath!
P.S. I don’t believe you about the tooth brushing.