Dog Owner's Guide

Debunking dog myths

A dry / warm nose indicates a fever

It is completely normal for a dog's nose to change temperature throughout the day. It can be cold and moist one second and warmer and drier the next. It does not indicate that your dog has a fever or is sick.

Garlic helps prevent fleas

Garlic is not going to be of much help unless your dog weighs less than one kilogram. Even then, garlic contains thiosulphate, which can be toxic for your dog. Instead, use tick and flea medication sold by your veterinarian or a reputable pet store for best results.

Licking wounds helps them heal

While licking does remove debris or dirt from the wound, prolonged licking can actually slow down the production of new tissue. In some cases, a skin ulcer may form as well. Discourage your dog from licking his wounds and consult your veterinarian if necessary.

Wagging tail = happy dog

A dog may also wag its tail if it is feeling aggressive or threatened. A slow wagging tail between a dog's back legs can mean the dog is afraid, as can an erect posture and tail. A circular tail motion can indicate a warning.

Dogs with pigmented mouth are aggressive

Although some breeds that are more prone to aggression have pigmented mouths (Chows and Akitas), it does not mean that all dogs with dark mouth pigment are aggressive. Both pure bred and mixed breed dogs can have dark pigment in their mouths. An aggressive dog is more likely the result of a bad environment or a bad owner than genetics.

Dogs should be allowed to have a litter before being spayed

Dogs can be safely spayed at 6 months old. There are many health benefits from spaying your dog and you will be reducing the amount of unwanted litters as well. If you are not willing to take care of a whole litter of puppies for the rest of their lives, DO NOT allow your dog to breed. Spaying will reduce the risk of reproductive cancer and enable your dog to live a longer, healthier live.

Indoor dogs do not need heartworm prevention

All dogs should be on monthly heartworm prevention regardless of how much time they spend outdoors. It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito for your dog to get heartworms and prevention is always better than cure. When untreated, heartworms can even cause death.

You can't teach an old dog new tricks

Regardless of age, dogs have the ability to learn new tricks and be trained. Older dogs may be more set in their ways and require more patience during training, but they are able to learn just as much as younger dogs.

Only male dogs "hump"

Both male and female dogs are known to "hump" or mount each other as a way to show dominance.

Dogs have night vision

A dog's eye is equipped with a mirror-like layer of tissue, called a tapetum lucidum, which reflects light back to the retina allowing the dog to have a second view of an object in dimmer situations. This allows them to see much better in the dark than humans, but it does not mean they have night vision.

Some breeds like pit bulls are able to "lock their jaws"

Although some dogs have extremely strong jaws, research on canine jaw function and hinging has shown that they do not have "lockable jaws".