14 Popular Dog Myths It’s Time We Stopped Believing
When you get a dog, it becomes a member of your family. You love it and are ready to give it the best life possible. But are you always able to fully understand your pet? Is the information you know about dogs up to date with recent studies?
We at Bright Side adore dogs and after we reviewed some reliable sources, we realized that many widely spread tricks people use don’t work, and many tips from dog experts often do more harm than good.
1. If a dog yawns, it means it wants to sleep.
Sometimes, dog owners may notice that their dog yawns in situations that are not supposed to make them sleepy, like during playing or when being pet (especially by other people), for example. But it doesn’t actually mean that the dog is bored or wants to sleep. Yawning for dogs is a way of dealing with anxiety and reducing stress.
2. Dogs’ saliva has healing properties.
Some people are so sure about this that they intentionally let dogs lick the cuts and other injuries on their bodies. But they should never let them do this!
There’s no way we could say that dogs’ mouths are clean — they don’t use toothpaste, they eat food off the ground, they lick their own bodies, and a lot of germs can get into their wounds along with saliva. This can all cause an infection.
Don’t let dogs lick their own wounds. In order to help them heal faster, you can prevent licking by putting a special collar around the dog’s neck.
3. The best food for dogs is raw meat.
Some dog owners believe that dogs ought to be fed with raw meat since their closest relatives (wolves) eat meat in the wild. But they’re not taking into account the fact that during the thousands of years of living together with people, dogs have adapted to completely different foods. Besides, meat doesn’t contain enough nutrients and vitamins that dogs need and it may contain parasites and pathogenic microorganisms.
4. Fluffy dogs should be shaved in summer so they’re not hot.
Many dog owners shave their pets in the summer thinking that it’s the right way to save their pets from the heat but in most cases, it’s not true. That’s because dogs have something called an undercoat. In winter, it becomes thicker and protects the dog from the cold. And in spring, when the dog loses their hair naturally, there’s an undercoat so that the animal feels comfortable. If you shave a dog’s fur, the structure of the new fur will be disrupted — it may curl or get entangled. It’s better to find a different way to prevent the dog from overheating.
5. Dog shoes are merely fashion accessories.
Dog shoes can actually be quite necessary in some cases. Obviously, nature is supposed to take care of everything and make sure that the dog isn’t cold when it walks in winter or any other weather but it’s very unlikely that nature expected us to spread reagents all around — like how we put asphalt on the roads that turns into real lava in hot weather. Besides, the paws of some house dog breeds are way more sensitive than the paws of other dogs.
6. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
You can and should teach your dog new tricks no matter what age they are. Obviously, this can take more time and patience with older dogs. Dog experts think that a clicker is one of the most effective ways to teach older dogs. This is a device that clicks when you press a button. Professionals also recommend using electrical collars and other ways to train dogs in a more aggressive way.
7. If a dog is excited when the owner comes home, it means it loves them very much.
If your dog loses control when you come home (it runs in circles, jumps, whimpers, or even pees), it doesn’t mean that it loves you more than a dog that greets its owner just by wagging its tail. It only means that the dog wasn’t trained properly. There are different ways to make a dog greet its owner in a calm manner.
8. All dogs love swimming.
If you lift a dog over a pool, it will start moving its paws (you’ve probably seen videos like this) but it doesn’t mean that all dogs are great swimmers from birth. Yes, most dogs love swimming and do it with joy, and they can be taught to do so. But some dogs can’t even stay above the water’s surface.
The dogs that have a powerful chest and a heavy skull are not very good swimmers — bulldogs, mastiffs, dachshunds, and boxers, for example. Small dogs should be put into water in a more careful way because they’re more prone to hyperthermia.
9. If a dog doesn’t contact other animals, it doesn’t need vaccines.
Not all existing vaccines are absolutely necessary for your dog. The list of necessary vaccines can be different depending on the location of where you live. However, all dogs need vaccines from rabies, plague, enteritis, and leptospirosis, even if the dog lives in an apartment and rarely goes outside. That’s because there is still a small risk that they can become infected. But before you get your dog vaccinated, you should consult a veterinarian.
10. If a dog’s nose is dry, it means it’s sick.
This myth has been dispelled many times already but dog owners still continue to touch their pets’ noses and worry if it turns out to be warm or dry. A cold, wet nose doesn’t always mean that the dog is healthy, sometimes it may signal that the pet has rhinitis. Look closer at the skin on your pet’s nose. If it’s cracked or covered with something, it may be a sign of illness. But in general, you should pay attention to the behavior and the appetite of the dog instead of worrying about the temperature and the humidity of its nose.
11. Dogs need to chew on bones.
For centuries, people have continued to believe that dogs need bones. This myth has been depicted in literature and art but in fact, bones can do far more harm than good. The most dangerous bones are long, boiled, and tubular like those from a chicken leg. Dogs can chew on them and easily swallow sharp pieces that can injure their digestive tract. In some cases, it can even lead to death.
There are a lot of different dog treats in pet stores that you can definitely give to your pets. You can also give your dog a fresh bone that it can’t chew into pieces.
12. If a dog is waving its tail, it means it’s friendly.
This misconception often leads to unpleasant situations: a dog is wagging its tail, a person tries to pet it and the dog bites them. People are used to thinking that a wagging tail means that a dog is friendly but this isn’t always true.
You have to pay attention to other signs like if a dog that really wants to be pet sits down on its hind legs, gives its back to you, rolls around you, and wags its tail. If a dog’s body is almost motionless and it only shakes its tail, it’s likely that the animal is feeling tense and may attack you.
13. Stray dogs are healthier than purebreds.
This myth is so popular that many people don’t even get their dogs from the street vaccinated. People say this because these dogs have lived in the streets for centuries, so they assume their immune systems are strong enough to handle anything. But it’s not true. The life expectancy of stray dogs is very low. They die from the same diseases that kill purebred house pets, it’s just that people don’t realize it.
14. If a dog pees in your home, you should put its nose in the puddle.
It’s been a long time since it was proven that this trick is not true. Teaching a puppy to pee outside is sort of like teaching a child to go to the toilet. Only positive motivation works: let the dog “do their business” outside more often.
What other dog myths do you know? Maybe you’ve noticed some other dog habits in your experience? Share your stories with us.