Debunking Common Dog Health Myths

In Dogsby Emotional Pet Support TeamLeave a Comment

Put several owners together at the local dog park, and the conversation always includes tips on how to care for their pets. Some of the information shared on dog health is actually a bit of folklore. Understanding some of these myths will make for a savvier pet owner, and a happier pet! Here are seven common myths about canine health and the correct information about each one.

Females Should Birth a Litter Before Spaying

This is a common argument of those who are against spaying female dogs. Nobody knows how it began, but it might be rooted in the belief that having a litter or going through heat once yields some long-term health benefits. In fact, female dogs do not have to go through breeding before spaying.

Dogs Need Vaccinations Every Year

Some owners avoid bringing in their pets for regular exams because they mistakenly believe that veterinarians vaccinate dogs every year.  While puppies require a full regimen of vaccines to protect against dangerous diseases, the same schedule isn’t applicable to adult dogs.

Most states require that a dog remain vaccinated against rabies. Other core vaccines protect against adenovirus, distemper, and parvo. Non-core vaccines are not always necessary for all canine patients. One example is bordetella, necessary only for dogs in frequent-contact situations such as boarding or day care.

A Dog With a Warm, Dry Nose is Sick

Some owners believe a warm nose is a sign of a pet fever. This myth might have arisen when canine distemper, a contagious virus, was much more common. 

A dry nose usually has nothing to do with canine health. A warm nose could have many causes. Some of the most common are normal fluctuations as the day progresses, genetics, and becoming overheated.

Table Scraps Aren’t Really Harmful

Sometimes they are. A number of foods that appeal to the human palate are off limits because they’re dangerous to dogs, which have specific dietary requirements.

They might look innocent enough, but garlic, potato leaves, grapes, walnuts, onions, and anything containing Xylitol could seriously harm your furry friend. Owners should avoid offering a cooked bone, which could splinter and perforate the bowel. Any table food high in sugar, salt, carbohydrates, or preservatives can cause endocrine problems such as pancreatitis.

Dogs Don’t Really Need Dental Care

The underlying myth is that only a small percentage of dogs experience dental problems in their lifetimes. The reality is that many suffer from dental issues such as gingivitis, broken teeth, and periodontal disease. Failure to get treatment can lead to complicated problems such as endocarditis and oral abscesses. 

Annual veterinary exams reveal existing and potential dental problems, as well as any other medical issues with your dog, and assess when a professional cleaning is necessary. Home care that includes daily brushing with a toothpaste safe for pets, a dental diet, and special dental treats can minimize accumulated bacteria and plaque that cause tartar.

One Human Year is Seven Dog Years

It’s a common belief that for every year its owner ages, a dog ages seven. This myth probably arose when someone compared the average lifespans of the two species and performed some quick division. While dogs do age at a faster pace than humans do, the rate isn’t consistent. It’s faster in a young dog and slows with age. Turning 1 for a dog is like being a human teen. However, a dog that’s 8 is at roughly the same point as its middle-aged owner. Breed and size appear to be the most important factors in estimating lifespan.

Indoor Dogs Need No Parasite Control

This is a mistaken assumption of owners whose dogs very rarely venture outdoors. Numerous indoor hazards can affect pets and humans adversely and merely walking to the car for a vet or grooming appointment exposes pets to parasites. Fleas can travel indoors on owners’ footwear or clothing and spread tapeworms. They can also cause problems such as skin irritation and infection, as well as anemia. 

Intestinal parasites cause diarrhea, vomiting, malnutrition, anemia, and weight loss. Untreated heartworm disease can become fatal. The best practice is allowing a veterinarian to screen a dog and using the recommended pest-control products all year long.

Don’t let common pet health myths steer you and your favorite pooch in the wrong direction. When a “fact” sounds a bit speculative, ask your veterinarian for clarification.

Named by the New York Times as the premier broker in Bay Head and Mantoloking and along the shore, Shawn Clayton comes with 30 years of experience and a family history. Real estate seems to be in Shawn Clayton’s blood and goes back four generations! His firm, Clayton & Clayton, has been in business since 1930.

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