10 Myths About Your Pet
You’ve probably heard it before: A wagging tail means a friendly dog. Cats and babies don’t mix. Table scraps are bad. But are these so-called nuggets of wisdom really true? Here, we debunk 10 commonly believed myths about our beloved pets.
Myth: A wagging tail means a friendly dog.
Fact: While it is true that cats instinctively control their fall and have an uncanny ability to land feet first, this is not always the case. Cats can be injured during a fall and they should not be ‘tested’ or allowed to climb in high places.
Fact: Not true. As with humans, your pet’s weight is typically related to food intake and exercise. An animal’s diet should be adjusted throughout its life to take into account age, activity and lifestyle.
Fact: A dog’s nose is usually cold because of the evaporation of the moisture put there by the dog’s licking. A dog could have any number of illnesses and still have a cold nose.
Fact: Dog-lovers aren’t the only ones who can enjoy a stroll with their furry companions. Yes, most cats can be easily trained to walk on a leash. Just be sure to keep your cat clear of temptations such as trees that it may climb and get tangled in.
Fact: This is sometimes true. Certain foods such as chocolate, grapes, garlic and onions can be toxic for your pet. (Read more on foods you should never give your pet.) You should also avoid giving your pet food that is spicy or high in fat. However, some foods such as carrots, apples, crunchy or lightly steamed vegetables and meat with the fat and gristle trimmed off are fine to share. If you are feeding your pet ‘people food’ on a regular basis make sure you use high quality ingredients and provide a balanced and complete diet. (See Cooking for your pet.) Note: Keep in mind that feeding your dog or a cat from the table even once can create a determined beggar.
Fact: While unpleasant breath can be normal, really bad breath can be a sign of dental problems. Ask your vet to look at your dog’s teeth regularly and follow a dental plan.
Fact: The fear that a cat can harm a baby by lying on it and smothering it is so widespread that some new families even consider giving up their cat upon the arrival of a new baby. However, if common sense precautions are taken, a cat should present no danger to your baby. These include keeping the cat out of the room where the baby sleeps, as well as never leaving the baby and cat unattended. As is the case with any pet, it’s a good idea to give your cat plenty of attention away from the baby so it will not feel abandoned.
Fact: Not true. In fact, many dogs and cats simply enjoy the taste and texture of grass. Beware, however, if your pet begins snacking in the garden. Certain common plants such as rhododendrons, daffodils, and marigolds can be toxic for pets. (See a list of poisonous plants for dogs and cats.)
Fact: While most cats like milk, they don’t actually need it if they are receiving a proper diet. In fact, many adult cats are lactose intolerant, and drinking milk can cause diarrhea.