An old dog can’t learn new tricks. Cats have nine lives. There are plenty of adages and pet myths about our favorite furry friends, and sometimes common misconceptions can impact their lives and health. Let’s take a look at some common myths about pets.
- Cats always land on their feet: It’s true that cats have an amazing and flexible bone structure and lightning-fast reflexes that allow them to twist and contort their bodies like acrobats, and oftentimes this allows them to right themselves when falling from the curtain rod during a daredevil excursion. However, they won’t land on their feet 100% of the time, and even if they do land feet first, falls from great heights can cause fractures or ligament damage. If your cat is an avid climber, provide safe and soft surfaces for him to scale – with a little extra padding below.
- Cats are aloof and selfish: They certainly do seem disinterested in us sometimes, don’t they? However, many cats are actually very affectionate and loving creatures. Cats who seem aloof or nervous may be anxious or uncertain of their surroundings. Evaluate your environment for sounds or smells that may be causing your cat anxiety and remove them from your home, or consider a calming spray or diffuser to help keep kitty calm and relaxed.
- Dogs wag their tails when they’re happy: This is partially true, as evidenced from the thousands of times we’ve all arrived home from work to the happiest dog on the planet. In fact, most times a dog’s tail is wagging, you can assume that she is pleased as punch. However, consider the context of the situation; a wagging tail can also indicate that your dog is agitated or feels threatened. Pay attention to her ears, as well. Upright and forward-facing ears indicate your dog is listening carefully to something, while ears pointed low and back against her head indicate that she’s feeling aggressive and ready to defend herself, her environment, or her human.
- A dry nose means your dog is sick: Many of us have heard that your dog’s nose should be wet and cool, and that a dry nose indicates a troubling health condition. Dry doggie noses can easily be caused by poor air circulation, or even just playing outdoors in the sun. Your dog’s nose may change from wet to dry several times a day. If you notice her nose is dry in addition to other symptoms of illness and you’re concerned about her well-being, call your vet’s office for guidance.
- Dogs’ mouths are cleaner than our own: Dogs’ mouths, like our own, are teeming with bacteria and microbes that can cause plenty of chaos in our immune system. However, dogs have evolved to deal with these unwelcome intruders much more efficiently than their humans. Keep dogs up to date on their vaccinations and away from environmental factors such as garbage or yard waste that may transfer from their mouths to yours during a slightly-too-eager “welcome home” kiss.