Myths

Pet Quiz

By:  Mark Hale, DVM?Bolivar, MO

 

Cat and dog fur causes allergies.       True    False

False:  Allergies are actually caused by proteins in skin secretions and saliva (known as dander.)  Saliva is spread by grooming.  Frequent bathing and grooming may help control the dander.  Vacuuming frequently may also help.

 

If you are allergic to cats or dogs, you should buy a "hypoallergenic" breed like a Sphinx cat or a Poodle.       True    False

False:  These breeds may shed less than others, but still produce dander and saliva.

 

Cats need to drink milk.       True    False

False:  After weaning, a cat does not require milk.  Milk causes gastric problems for some felines.  If you like to give your cat milk, do so in small quantities and be sure it isn't causing any problems such as diarrhea.

 

A well-fed cat doesn't hunt.       True    False

False:  Hunting comes naturally to most cats.  This myth was dispelled for us when our clinic cat Toughie caught a mouse.  No one has ever accused Toughie of being underfed!

 

All calico cats are female.       True    False

False:  According to a study by the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri, about 1 in 3,000 calico cats are not technically females due to a chromosomal abnormality. 

 

Pets eat grass or plants when they are sick (or have a vitamin deficiency).       True    False

False:  Anyone who has houseplants and housecats know how much they love to chew on any greenery.  This is not due to a dietary deficiency, but just because they want to.  Dogs sometimes eat more grass when they have stomach upset.

 

Dogs eat cow and horse manure because of a nutrient deficiency.       True    False

False:  Dogs eat manure just like they eat other disgusting things.  Sometimes it seems like the worse something smells, the more a dog wants to eat it and roll in it.

 

"Scooting" is always a sign of worms.       True    False

False:  When dogs scoot, it is usually due to perianal irritation.  This can be due to tapeworms, fleas, or more commonly full anal glands.

 

A healthy dog will have a cold, wet nose.       True    False

False:  While this is never a bad sign, not all healthy dogs will have a cold or wet nose.  Feeling a dog's ears and feet and checking the color of its gums are probably better ways to quickly check the health status of your pet.  If you have any doubts about the health of your pet, make an appointment to see your veterinarian.

 

For a healthy, shiny coat, feed your dog raw eggs.       True    False

False:  A quality canine feed is the best way to obtain a healthy coat.

 

 


To repel fleas, feed your dog garlic or brewer's yeast.       True    False

False:  No scientific evidence supports these claims.  Garlic eaten in excessive quantity can be harmful.

 

A cat will purr only when happy.       True    False

False:  Desmond Morris, a British zoologist, interprets purring as "a sign of friendship" and can occur when the feline is content with a friend or is in need of a friend as when it is in distress.  Cats purr not only when they are happy, but also when they are injured, giving birth, or even dying. 

 

Only a friendly dog will wag its tail.       True    False

False:  Happy dogs will wag their tails, but don't be too fast to approach.  Dogs will also move their tails when they are nervous, mad or ready to fight.  The dog's entire body language must be taken into account.

 

Neutering your hunting dog will make him lazy.       True    False

False:  While neutering your dog can make him less aggressive towards other dogs and people, it does not necessarily make him "lazy".  Early age neutering (around four months of age) is so much easier on the dog that I definitely recommend it.

 

Spaying your pet will make her fat and lazy.       True    False

False:  Even though, altering your pet can lower its metabolic rate, weight gain comes from improper diet and exercise (just like in humans!).  If any pet (altered or not) is becoming overweight, dietary changes must be made.

 

Prior to spaying, your dog needs to go through at least one heat cycle.       True    False

False:  According to Dr. Hunthausen of Animal Behavior Consultations, this myth may be responsible for the deaths of millions of dogs each year as unwanted animals are euthanized in overcrowded shelters. 

 

Spaying your dog before her first heat cycle has been shown to cut down on certain types of cancer that develop later in life. 

 

The same is true of cats.

 

An excellent time to spay or neuter your healthy dog is before it reaches 5 months of age. 

Healthy kittens may be spayed or neutered when they weigh 3 pounds. The recovery time in these young animals is amazingly quick.

 

A dog needs to have a litter to feel fulfilled.       True    False

False:  If reproductive hormones are eliminated through spaying, the dog feels no urge to reproduce.  The same is true of cats.