Fictitious Fido: Debunking Popular Dog Myths
There are myths and misconceptions about virtually every animal, but when it comes to pets, there are so many more! This is because we spend our lives observing and interacting with them so closely and often form many assumptions about their health and behaviors.
In a previous blog, we debunked several common cat myths. This week, The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center want to discuss popular dog myths and how these seemingly innocuous beliefs could result in negative outcomes.
10 Popular Dog Myths That Don’t Hold Water
- Dogs need to have at least one litter before being spayed for their health. Aside from the residual effect of pet overpopulation, this myth is entirely untrue. In fact, evidence shows that having your pet spayed before they go into heat can significantly reduce their chances of developing certain cancers, such as mammary cancer.
- A warm nose indicates illness. This belief may have been the result of widespread disease among canines, including distemper, a symptom of which was a warm nose. Actually, a warm, moist nose is the ideal for a healthy dog.
- I need to show my dog that I’m the boss. It was once thought that a tough love, Alpha approach to training was the best way to train dogs. Today, we realize that positive reinforcement, or reward based training, is more effective and doesn’t result in some of the behavioral challenges or fear that can ensue with owner aggression.
- Wagging is a sign of happiness. Yes, we’re sure your precious pal wags out of sheer joy, but did you know that wagging is not just a sign of happiness? It’s also a sign of aggression, curiosity, fear, and even pain.
- Shelter dogs can’t be trained. This is perhaps the saddest of all dog myths because there are so many deserving dogs who need homes. Most dogs who are shown patience and consistent training can become a star pupil. Love, patience, and professional training are the ingredients for success, especially when it comes to our sweet shelter pets.
- Only male dogs hump. This embarrassing habit is something we associate with males, but there are many females who hump and even urinate by lifting a leg. There are several reasons for this, including establishing territory, gaining social status, or just plain liking it (even though we don’t!).
- Dogs eat grass because they’re sick. The idea that dogs eat grass in order to vomit and make themselves feel better has been disputed. There’s no evidence that grass eating means there’s an illness at hand. Other theories suggest they may be ridding themselves of internal parasites or are simply in need of the added fiber. The jury is still out on this.
- Dogs only see in black and white. Not so! Dogs can see in shades of blue, yellow, and grey, but not as vibrantly as we can. Their inability to see the red-green spectrum is similar to humans with color blindness.
- A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s. Love those puppy kisses? Yeah, you may want to grab the Listerine. Dog mouths are full of bacteria and are probably a lot dirtier than our mouths, especially given the fact that dental hygiene is often overlooked in pets. So start brushing those canines (get it?) every day!
- Indoor dogs don’t need to worry about heartworm. This a big lie regarding indoor pets and parasite protection, which sets these pets up for exposure. Heartworm, fleas, internal parasites, and ticks can all be a problem for any pet because it only takes one instance of exposure to acquire an illness. Talk to us about your pet’s risk.
We accept walk-ins during our Doctor's Hours to meet your busy lifestyle. If you’d prefer to make an appointment, we offer those too!
News & Events
Meet Our Adoptable Animals!
We are currently fostering some great pets available for adoption! Visit our Featured Foster page HERE to view all animals available for adoption and make an appointment to meet them at our clinic by calling us at 630.530.1900!
Holiday Hours & Closings!
Please note our Holiday Hours and Closings! For Emergency Services during Holiday Hours, you MUST call 630.337.3070!
Holiday Mystic Market & Adoption Event!
Save the date and join us on Saturday, December 1st from 11AM - 4:30PM for a Holiday Mystic Market & Adoption Event! Meet the featured readers and shop the amazing handcrafted items! TV's Svengoolie will be signing autographs from 2PM - 4PM! Meet adoptable pets from local rescues and bring your own pet along for $10 photos with Santa (11AM - 2PM)! Enjoy treats and light refreshements! Please also consider bringing a toy to donate to Toys for Tots. All proceeds benefit Magnificent Mutts & Meows Rescue and Sacred Space Animal Sanctuary.
We Are a Toys for Tots Drop Off Location!
Now through Thursday, December 13th we'll be collecting for Toys for Tots! Stop by during our normal business hours to drop off any new, unwrapped toys. No stuffed animals or toy weapons, please. Many thanks for your generosity during the holiday season!