Carrying on from last week, here are some more commonly held beliefs about our canine friends which are actually anything but true.
• Mutts are always Healthier than Purebreds
All dogs, regardless of breed, can get sick and develop diseases. Purebred dogs are more likely to have genetic diseases, but mutts can become just as unwell..
• Female Dogs Should Have a Litter Before Desexing
This is completely untrue. A female dog that has never borne a litter of pups is less likely to develop infections of the uterus or doggie breast cancer – so have her desexed early.
• Wagging Tail = Happy Dog
Yes, happy dogs do wag their tails – but so do aggressive, anxious, and fearful dogs. Wagging is a sign of both excitement and agitation. It’s all about reading other body cues such as stance to determine just what kind of wag it is.
• Only Male Dogs Hump or Lift their Leg
Humping and leg lifting is a dominance behaviour – and even dominant female dogs will do it, even if they have been desexed.
• Dogs Eat Grass if they are Sick
While it’s true that many dogs will vomit after eating copious amounts of grass, they don’t actually eat grass because they feel unwell. Scientists believe dogs eat grass as a result of being descended from wild wolves. Wild wolves ate every part of their kill – including the last meal of their prey – which was often grasses and berries. Greenery was, as such, once a normal part of a canine diet.
• Licking a Wound is Good for Healing
Dogs will naturally lick at any wound they have, but it is more of an irritant and hindrance to healing than of any benefit. Too much licking can actually prevent healing – hence the need for the “cone of shame”.
• An Indoor Dog Doesn’t Need Heartworm Treatment
ALL dogs need preventative heartworm treatment – regardless of whether they ever go outside at all. Heartworm is carried and transmitted by mosquitoes – and these can easily make their way inside.
• You Will Always Know When you Dog is Sick
Not necessarily. Dogs hide their vulnerability as a matter of survival instinct – and by the time it becomes obvious that a dog is unwell, illness or disease may be advanced. Be attuned to what is normal for your pet – and have any concerns assessed by your vet promptly.