This week we are busting some of the most common PET MYTHS.
“Cats always land on their feet”
Perhaps the most commonly cited myth of all, this unfortunately is not always true! Whilst cats do have excellent balancing skills and an innate ‘righting reflex’ that helps them to land the right way up, there is a limit – falling off the backyard fence is not the same as falling from the balcony of a high rise building, even to the most gymnastic of cats.
“Dogs can only see in black and white”
By comparing the light-sensitive cells at the back of dogs’ eyes to our own, we know that dogs do in fact see in some colour, just less vibrantly than we do. They also lack cells that are sensitive to red light, so may confuse red with green.
“Milk is a great treat for a cat”
A cat lapping up a saucer of cream may seem content, but dairy products are far from the ideal treat for felines. Most cats are no good at digesting lactose, so ingestion of milk can lead to diarrhoea and painful bloating of the intestines.
“Dogs can be left in the car if the window is cracked open”
This myth is very dangerous – dogs die in hot cars, no matter how many windows are open! Even if you are just quickly popping into the shops- don’t risk your dog’s life. Leave them at home with shade, shelter and access to fresh water especially in the warmer months.
“Cats can’t be trained”
Whilst cats are generally less eager to please than dogs, they are more than clever enough to learn some tricks. Through positive reinforcement with treats, they can learn to come when you call, to give you a high five, and to ring a “doorbell” when they want to come in!
“Female dogs and cats want to have a litter before they are spayed”
Although we might find it sad if our bitch or queen “hasn’t had the chance to raise some babies,” they certainly won’t! Dogs and cats don’t experience regret like we do, and there are some significant benefits to spaying early, which you should discuss with your vet so that you can work out what is best for your animal.
“You need to dominate your dog using aggression to make him behave”
The ‘dominance theory’ of canine behaviour, which was based on the social interactions within a captive wolf pack, has been debunked by multiple veterinary behavioural experts and can be highly distressing for your dog and dangerous for you both. If you are having difficulties with training, ask your vet if they can recommend a behaviourist or any helpful resources.
“Garlic stops dogs and cats from getting parasites”
Garlic is in fact toxic to dogs and a useless anti-parasitic treatment in either species! To find out which products will be best at stopping your pet from getting worms, fleas, ticks and other parasites, speak to your veterinary practice.
“Cats prefer to be left alone because they are solitary animals”
Cats are high frequency-low intensity socialisers, which means that they like to have the chance to interact often but will tire of it quickly, and they like to be in charge of when the interaction starts and ends. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t spend time with your cat – on the contrary, it means that you should make yourself available to them as often as possible! They are in charge, after all.