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Don't Be Myth-Led

By Dr. Bob Encinosa

Obviously we talk to pet owners a lot. Here are a few of the more common “myths” I hear.

Myth: Getting water in a dog’s ears causes ear infections.

Truth: Ear infections in dogs are almost never caused by bathing or swimming. Allergies and fleas are by far, the most common causes of ear infections in dogs.

Myth: Having a big yard ensures that your dog gets enough exercise.

Truth: Just letting a dog into the yard provides very little exercise. Most dogs will sniff and check out the perimeter, then find a nice spot to lie down and sleep. To ensure that your dog gets enough exercise, you’ll need to do something active with them in the yard or take them for a walk, where the new smells, sights and sounds get them excited about walking.

Myth: Purring means that a cat is happy.

Truth: While a happy cat will often purr, so can very ill cats.

Myth: If a dog or cat is not crying or moaning, they are not in pain.

Truth: Dogs and cats are not whimps (like us). They do not generally whine or cry with mild to moderate pain. I often hear pet owners relay to me that their limping pet must not be in pain since it is not crying. Again, dogs and cats are not whimps, but neither are they liars. If they’re limping, it hurts.

Myth: Dogs eat grass because they are nauseated or sick.

Truth: It is true that dogs can regurgitate more readily than humans, a trait that probably serves to protect them from frequent dietary indiscretions. But many dogs, including one of my own simply like to eat grass sometimes. Barring sprayed toxins on the grass, it is not a harmful habit.