Like old wives’ tales and urban legends, there are many dog myths out there that many of us have come to believe over time. These things range from the silly to the extreme. How do we know which ones are true and which ones are fake news? We asked experts and vets to weigh in and debunk the 10 worst dog myths and other interesting ‘facts’ about our favorite four-legged friends.
Worst Dog Myth #1: Garlic is a good remedy for fleas and ticks
Here’s a common myth on the internet: garlic gets rid of fleas and ticks. Unfortunately, this is not true. Garlic will not help with fleas and ticks in your pets. In fact, it will probably give your dog something called hemolytic anemia. A condition where the body attacks and destroys its red blood cells. You do not want your dog to have this because it is potentially fatal and the treatment for this disease is long and expensive. It’s not worth the risk. Skip the garlic.
Worst Dog Myth #2: Dogs have clean mouths
Many people believe that dogs’ mouths are clean because they think their saliva can heal wounds. This is absolutely incorrect. While dog saliva helps clean their fur, their mouths are not in any way antiseptic. Plus, if you really think about it, dogs eat their poop. Those cute doggy mouths are teeming with bacteria—and yes, they are very filthy.
Worst Dog Myth #3: Dogs can catch a cold
Dogs sneeze. That’s a fact. We have all seen it. So it’s pretty safe to assume that they also catch colds, right? Wrong! Dogs can get infected with certain viruses like leptospirosis and parvo. They are also susceptible to bacterial infections like pneumonia. Hard to believe, but they do not get common colds as humans do.
Worst Dog Myth #4: Rescue dogs are bad because you don’t know where they came from
They say you should never adopt a rescue from the pound because they tend to be more problematic than their more domesticated counterparts. This is an unfair assessment. Just because puppies were raised at home does not mean they grow up to be nice dogs. Some rescues are extremely sweet and gentle. Animal rescue centers and organizations have programs and training that help these dogs to become fit pets. We should give them a chance.
Worst Dog Myth #5: Dogs have sweat glands
This one is not entirely wrong. Dogs do have sweat glands, but it’s not found where you think. They sweat through their paws. Dogs cool off by panting. The air exchange allows the moist lining of their lungs to cool them. Some dogs such as pugs and bulldogs, who have poor air exchange, are more prone to heatstroke when they get hot.
Worst Dog Myth #6: My fenced yard means I don’t need to worry about worms
People think that just because their pups do not go over their fence means they can’t get worms. While the fence definitely helps stop your pets from going through trash and playing with other undesirables, it is not a mystical barrier that can keep intestinal parasites and heartworms from getting to your pets. These parasites are carried in the poop and piss from various animals, rodents, and even birds. These can be deposited in the soil and can survive for up to several years! Heartworms can also travel through mosquitoes that even bug spray can’t prevent at all times.
Worst Dog Myth #7: I can give ibuprofen to my dog
‘Ibuprofen is safe and effective to humans so maybe it won’t hurt to give my dog’. False again. Ibuprofen is toxic to dogs and can cause kidney and liver problems. Some vets may prescribe Tylenol or aspirin for dogs, but the dose must be very specific to avoid complications. You must never give human medicine to your pets without consulting an animal specialist.
Worst Dog Myth #8: My dog is hypoallergenic
Sorry to burst your bubble, but no dog is truly hypoallergenic. Some dogs are marketed as such because they shed very little and the allergens on their fur don’t get released into the air. If you’re allergic, but still really want a dog, here are a few tips: get a breed with less hair, keep them out of the bedroom, and make sure to bathe them weekly. Check our list of breeds that are perfect for allergic fur parents.
Worst Dog Myth #9: Dogs are colorblind
No. Dogs, cats, and other animals can actually see color. The only thing is, they don’t see as much color as humans do. But don’t feel sad for them. This ‘disability’ is the same thing that helps them to see better at night. Impressive.
Worst Dog Myth #10: A dry nose means a sick dog.
This last one is a common misconception that has been passed down from generations. Experts say that a dog’s dry nose just really means that your dog has a dry nose and it is not an indication of their overall health. If you are really worried, check if your dog is dehydrated or if it’s too hot in your house. They may also develop sunburn on their noses or get allergic to their food bowls. Go visit a vet to ease your mind.
Do you want to see more common dog myths get debunked? Watch out for Part 2. In the meantime, let’s bust some more dog myths about raw meat. Woof!