As pet lovers and owners, we’ve heard all of the stereotypes appropriated to the various species – Cats always land on their feet. Dogs’ mouths are cleaner than humans’, etc., etc. But, these are just examples of the many myths that have been making the rounds for years. And, while some have some truth to them, others are as far-fetched as a turtle with wings! So, let’s dive in and debunk some of the most common pet myths:
- Myth: Dogs only see in black and white. While dogs can’t see every color or see as vibrantly as humans do, they can in fact perceive color. For instance, they’re able to see shades of yellow, green, and blue.
- Myth: Dogs’ mouths are cleaner than humans’. Dogs’ mouths actually contain as many bacteria as humans’ mouths, so it’s hard to determine which is in fact “cleaner.” The real difference is that a dog’s mouth contains different kinds of species-specific bacteria compared to a human’s.
- Myth: Wagging dog tails and purring cats are a sign of happiness. While both of these responses can mean that your pet is happy, they can also be a sign of stress, anxiety, pain, sickness, or just be a form of self-comfort.
- Myth: Cats always land on their feet. Cats do possess those quick, air-righting reflexes that help them to land on their feet, but that doesn’t mean that they’re always able to do so successfully. For instance, when cats fall from lower heights, they tend to land on their side, which can cause injury. Similarly, if they fall from greater heights, the impact could cause serious injury.
- Myth: You can skip your pet’s flea and tick prevention during colder seasons. The fact is, fleas can live outside even in the coldest temperatures, and ticks can come back with the fluctuating temperatures that we see even in winter. So, it’s recommended that you keep your pet’s flea and tick regimen going year-round for their continued protection.
- Myth: Dogs eat grass when they’re sick. Dogs can actually eat grass for a number of different reasons, not just when they’re feeling sick. Sometimes they eat it to improve digestion, fulfill some sort of nutritional need, or because they’re just bored.
- Myth: Dogs can feel and express guilt. While many dog owners certainly believe this when looking into those puppy eyes after scolding their beloved four-legged companions for doing something bad, we’ve only proven that dogs feel the primary emotions – happiness, sadness, and fear. Guilt is a secondary emotion that isn’t innately in them. So, it is believed that this perceived guilt response is actually something dogs learn from their human’s reaction. They’re simply responding to what their owners are doing and feeling.
By unlearning these common myths and gaining a better understanding of who your pet is underneath all of their unconditional love and snuggles, you can learn how to better care for and support them. And, that can ultimately make your bond stronger.