Myth vs. Facts About Dogs

A Dogs Nose Should be Warm and Moist

This is one of the biggest health myths out there and probably one of the most we get owners calling us about saying their dog’s nose is dry and flakey so they must be sick. The dog’s tear ducts empty into the nose, and when they have a runny nose and ‘sniff’ to keep it from dripping, dogs lick their noses, making their nose wet. Sometimes your dog’s nose will be dry if they’ve just woke up or if it is cold outside. Older dogs will have more dry and flakey noses because of the buildup the keratinous cells over many years. Brachiocephalic dogs like pugs and bulldogs have dry noses more commonly because they have troubles licking their noses due to their short snout. However, there are some conditions that have a dry nose as a symptom, like dehydration, sunburn or allergies. If you are ever concerned with your pet, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Females Should Have One Litter or Heat Cycle Before Being Spayed

Many people believe that a dog/cat should be spayed after they have a litter, but this is another myth. Females don’t even need to have a heat cycle before they are spayed. It is found that females who are spayed before their first heat cycle are healthier when they are older and getting your pet spayed before their first heat cycle reduces the chances of mammary tumours developing later in life by 60%. Breeding your dog can turn out to be time-consuming and a huge expense for you. It also makes spaying your animal in the future a higher anesthetic risk and may have a longer or more difficult recovery from the surgery. It also contributes to the overpopulation problem of dogs and cats here in Grande Prairie.

Dogs are Colorblind

It’s unsure of where this myth came from since there is no way of seeing through a dog’s eyes. However, science has concluded that there are two of the three photoreceptor types that are required to see colours in a dog’s retina which means that dogs are able to see colours like different shades of yellow, blue, and grey but their colour spectrum still isn’t as great as ours.

My Dog/Cat Doesn’t Have Worms Because I Would See Them In Their Feces

We hear this myth almost on a daily basis from clients but, the true answer is that you only see worms in your pet’s feces/vomit if they are heavily infested. Puppies are almost always heavily infected because they obtain worms from their mother from sucking milk and then all the puppies have worms and pass them to each other through feces quickly accelerating the population rate of worms in their den. Because of the high number of worms that puppies are exposed to, we recommend deworming them once a month for 3-4 months (usually with their puppy vaccines) and then 2-3 times a year as adults. If you have any questions or concerns about deworming, please see our other blog on deworming or call us at 780-539-0636.

Dogs Need Bones

Bones are good for satisfying the chewing needs of a dog and help clean their teeth and break off tarter; however, there are many cautions to take when it comes to giving your dog bones. Giving your dog a small bone (smaller than the length of their muzzle) is dangerous because they can swallow the bone and cause a blockage which would most likely need surgery to remove it. Poultry and pork bones, or cooked bones of any kind, are strictly forbidden. They splinter into shards that can cause choking and serious damage to the dog’s mouth, throat, or intestines. Any bone, in fact, once chewed into small pieces, can block the intestines and lead to a nasty bout of constipation, cause lacerations of the mouth and internal organs, or can lodge in the throat with fatal results. Many veterinarians say that raw meat bones are the best bones for a dog. It’s best to give a bone to your dog after a meal because you don’t want your dog to ingest too much bone. Take it away after 10 to 15 minutes and place it in the refrigerator. Dispose of a bone after three or four days. Large breeds such as German Shepherd Dogs, Bloodhounds and Mastiffs should be given large bones. Bones should be larger than the length of the dog’s muzzle so it will be impossible to swallow whole. A beef shank bone is a good example of the type of bone to give to a large dog. Supervision is important. Periodically check on your dog when he’s chewing a bone. The best bones to give are simulated bones that look like a bone and wear down like a bone but won’t splinter and cause possible damage to your dog’s health.

If you have any questions, give us a call at 780-539-0636.

Written by: Lisa Fox, RVT