Caring for Your Dog: Common Myths & Realities
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Whether it's a tip from a neighbor or something you discover on the Internet, myths about dogs can steer you in the wrong direction. Here are the facts about some common myths:
Cats have nine lives… and dogs have?
While we may wish dogs had nine lives, they only have one. To ensure your dog has a long, healthy and happy live, it’s important to schedule regular veterinary visits. Your dog needs annual wellness check-ups, vaccines, dental exams and nutritional consultations… just like we do. Going to the veterinarian shouldn't only be for when your dog is sick.
A few table scraps are OK for my dog
Did you know that one ounce of cheddar cheese for a 20lb dog is like a human eating more than one and a half chocolate bars? Table scraps are empty calories for dogs. They need precisely balanced nutrition for their specific lifestage and special needs to remain healthy. Hill’s™ Science Diet™ dog foods are great because they give dogs exactly what they need without any excess nutrients that might be harmful.
Dogs wag their tail when they are happy
Dogs wag their tail for many reasons and the most common occurrence is that they are either happy or nervous. Learning to read what your dog is telling you, whether they are large or small, will go a long way in helping build your relationship.
Letting my dog out in the yard is enough exercise
Dogs need mental stimulation as well as physical activity. If you just leave your dog out in the yard alone they might not get much of either. So it’s important to take them for walks, play fetch or simply run around together. Different sized dogs may require different levels of activity. Not only will it make for a happier, healthier dog but it will also help to strengthen your relationship. Check out more dog exercise tips for large breeds and small to medium breeds.
My dog's nose is warm and dry. Does that mean he's sick?
If your dog has a dry nose it means your dog has a dry nose. Maybe he just woke up or something. But a dry nose has nothing to do with a dog's health. Focus on the unusual to detect signs of a potential problem. Call your vet if you notice swelling, difficult breathing or if your dog has a runny nose for more than a couple of days.
Can a canine tell what color T-shirt you're wearing?
It depends on which dog you're asking. Dogs can distinguish colors, but not as well as humans. So don't ask them to coordinate your outfits. The fact is different types of dogs tend to see different colors. Color is just one of many visual messages canines detect in their environment. Brightness, movement and contrast also help a pooch see eye-to-eye with the world around them.
Frequent baths make dogs smell nice. But can they also cause doggy dandruff?
They sure can. So let's not cause a dry-skin blizzard. Keep the washings to a minimum and make sure you only use soap that's made specifically for canines. Human shampoo can irritate a dog's skin. If you take these steps and still notice flakes when your dog shakes, talk to your veterinarian to make sure you're providing proper nutrition for a healthy coat.
Do dogs heal themselves by licking their wounds?
Yes, to a certain extent. A small amount of licking can help clean a wound, but excessive licking can actually slow down the healing process. It can even cause further damage to the wound and invite infection. Also consider that licking can turn into a bad habit that's hard to stop. So if you suspect it's getting out of hand, focus on re-directing your dog's tongue to something more tasty.
Brushing a dog's teeth is silly. Give me a break.
Well actually, your dog will have the last laugh when his breath makes your eyes water. Routinely brushing your dog's teeth not only freshens breath, it also limits the risk of oral disease and gives you a chance to notice anything unusual happening to teeth and gums. Seriously, don't brush off brushing. It can make your dog more pleasant to be around and help prevent an array of serious health problems down the road. Ask your veterinarian for help getting started.
When dogs scarf down grass like it's fettuccine Alfredo, does that mean they're sick?
While several theories about animal grass consumption exist, veterinarians have no proven answers. However, research indicates an amazing possibility: Animals may just like to eat grass. So don't panic if your dog nibbles at the lawn from time to time. If the nibbling turns into a daily feast, talk to your veterinarian.
If you put garlic on your dog's food, will it help get rid of his worms?
No way. Forget you ever heard this one. Other than giving your dog the impression you're a gourmet Italian chef, putting garlic on his food won't do much. Restrict your garlic to your world-famous spaghetti sauce. Your dog will never miss it.