6 Common Pet Health Myths Debunked

Pet health is a complicated topic, and with so much information at our fingertips these days, it can sometimes be difficult to separate fact from fiction. There are a lot of myths floating around, and in some cases, believing them could be harmful to your pet’s well-being. Here we’ll look at 6 of the most common pet health myths, and then give you the facts!

Remember: never hesitate to contact your veterinarian if you have ANY questions about your pet’s health. Making that phone call can not only save you time and anxiety, it could also save your pet’s life.

MYTH #1: If a dog’s nose is warm or dry, it means that they are sick.

FACT: The temperature or wetness of a dog’s nose is no indication of their health status. Many dogs have a warm and dry nose when they first wake up, for example, and a wet and cold nose after drinking water. While a warm or dry nose is no indication of a health problem, you should contact your veterinarian if you ever notice any unusual changes to your dog’s nose, such as crusting, bleeding, or discharge.

MYTH #2: Cats get sick less often than dogs.

FACT: Cats can get sick just as often as dogs (even indoor cats), but they are more likely and more capable of hiding their symptoms than dogs — in fact, they are famous for doing so. This makes it all the more important to keep up with your cat’s annual visits to the vet so that your veterinarian can give your cat a thorough once-over and check for any health conditions that they might be hiding.

RELATED STORY: The Importance Of Taking Your Cat To The Vet

MYTH #3: Pets only need to be protected from heartworms in the summer months when mosquitoes are active.

FACT: The American Heartworm Society suggests that all pets — regardless of where they live — should be protected all year round. Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal condition, so make sure that your pet is protected with a heartworm preventative, such as a tablet or topical treatment.

MYTH #4: Dogs eat grass to make themselves throw up.

FACT: This myth gets a lot of play, but the truth is that while eating grass CAN cause vomiting, it is most likely not the reason that your dog is consuming it. Many dogs consume grass because they simply like the taste, because they are bored, or because they have learned that eating grass will start a fun game in which you chase your pal to get them to stop. Eating small amounts of grass shouldn’t be harmful to your dog, but make sure that they aren’t also eating poisonous plants or foxtails, and contact your veterinarian if the habit seems to be getting worse.

RELATED STORY: Dog Vomiting Mucus? Here’s Why, And What You Can Do About It

MYTH #5: Feeding your pet garlic can rid them of tapeworms.

FACT: This myth most likely got started because of garlic’s pungent smell. It has also been suggested that garlic can treat and prevent fleas. The truth is that garlic won’t do a thing for tapeworms or fleas, and in fact, garlic is poisonous to pets and can cause anemia if consumed in large quantities. If you ever notice tapeworms (they look like small grains of rice) in your pet’s stool or near their rear end, contact your veterinarian. They will most likely prescribe a deworming medication. To protect your pet from fleas, use an oral or topical treatment.

MYTH #6: Pets take care of their own dental health, so you don’t need to brush their teeth.

FACT: Pets need all the help they can get when it comes to dental care. Most veterinarians agree that 75% or more of the health problems they see in pets are related to periodontal disease or gum disease, and studies have shown that most animals have signs of dental disease by 3 or 4 years old! While feeding crunchy dry food and giving your pet healthy chews or dental chews like Greenies can help to reduce some tartar buildup, you still need to brush your pet’s teeth. Brushing your pet’s teeth every day is the best course of action, but doing it at least once a week can go a long way in preventing dental problems.

Know any other pet health myths? Leave a comment and let us know, and consider signing up for PetPlus to save on your pet’s health care and more.

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3 Comments

  1. 1

    Can you please post something regarding “lumps/bumps” on dogs. My mixed-breed, Rex, is a rescue & is probably by now 12 years old. Don’t know much about his prior life except that he was horribly abused. Been noticing a “squishy bump” on his back leg. Rex is otherwise fine. Just want to make sure all is well. Thanks

    • 2
      PetSavvy Editors

      The best advice I could give you is to go to the vet and have Rex’s bump looked at. I would be reluctant to make a diagnosis without seeing the “squishy bump” in question. Even if there are no other symptoms present at the moment, it doesn’t rule out something more serious.

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