Debunking Common Myths About Pets
Wed, April 21, 2021

Debunking Common Myths About Pets

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Our pets are both cute and mysterious as they could be / Photo Credit: vvvita via 123rf

 

It’s fun to have a pet. You can play, cuddle, and take care of them. Over the years that humans have lived with domesticated animals, people have gained a better understanding of their behavior. With just a click on the Internet, we can immediately know what their actions mean, what their care requirements are, and how we can address their health problems. However, even today, myths and misconceptions still abound.

Even in the age of the Internet, the majority of pet owners are still led by myths. Correcting these misconceptions is important in making sure that these pets are properly cared for. A two-phase study of pet owners and veterinarians conducted by Brakke Consulting in collaboration with the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues revealed that the decline in veterinary visits could be due to misconceptions pet owners have about their pet's health. 

Here are some common myths that you might believe are true.

Myth 1: Dogs wag their tails because they are happy to see you.

Many online sites suggest that when dogs wag their tails, they are extremely excited to be with you. Although this is true, this can also mean that they are frightened or apprehensive. Studies show that this behavior is a generic emotional response that should be taken in the context of the dogs’ overall behavior. If they are also biting you, they are probably not that happy to see you.

Myth 2: Feeding pets raw food is dangerous. 

Many pet owners choose to give their pets cooked food or pet food bought in the market. Although this is fine, it doesn’t mean that pets can’t eat raw food. According to Only Natural Pet, an online site that offers natural pet supplies for dogs and cats, raw food moves through the pets’ system, particularly dogs and cats, in less than half the time it would through a human’s system. This means that the high acidity in their stomachs can kill most bacteria, like salmonella, that comes with raw food. Even if the food was contaminated, it likely would not enter the animal's bloodstream.

 

Raw food's high acidity makes our pets' stomachs bacteria-free / Photo Credit: philstev via 123rf

 

Myth 3: Dogs are color blind.

Dogs are not color blind. However, studies have shown that the color range they perceive is limited compared to what other animals and humans see. Most of the time, they see only yellows, violets, and blues. This is because their retina has more rods and no fovea, which is responsible for sharp visual detail in humans. As a result, dogs tend to have superior night vision. They are also better at tracking movements than humans.

Myth 4: Plant oils should be avoided.

While standard pet food can certainly come packed with plenty of essential nutrients, it wouldn't harm them if you were to supplement their dietary regimen with certain healthy oils. According to GlobalPets, an online site that aims to be the market leader of the pet care industry, one of the oils that are beneficial to pets is coconut oil. It can moisturize their skin and stimulate wound healing. It is also considered a superfood since it possesses over 30 benefits for pets, including the improvement of their immune and digestive systems.

Myth 5: Cats purr only when they are happy.

Most of the time, owners think that cats express their happiness through purring. However, they can also purr when they are upset, sad, or scared. They can purr when they are sick, in pain, or even dying. This is their way of communicating their emotions or if they need something from their owners. Research suggests that purring frequencies have been shown to stimulate bone regeneration. 

 

Kitty cats are indeed adorable, but their purring does not only indicate happiness / Photo Credit: Petar Paunchev via 123rf

 

Myth 5: Guinea pigs eat their young.

Yes, guinea pigs do eat their young. However, this behavior is rare for these animals. According to The Guardian, a British daily newspaper, they are vegetarian. Thus, whenever they eat their babies, it is purely because of extreme necessity. For instance, guinea pigs that are seriously malnourished at the time of giving birth and within the early stages of their babies tend to eat their young. Cannibalism is more common amongst guinea pig mothers that have consecutively given birth to two litters.

Myth 6: Rabbits should eat plenty of carrots.

While it has been established that a rabbit’s favorite is a carrot, too much of this can be harmful to their health. This can cause tooth decay and other health problems. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) reported that 11 percent of pet rabbits suffer from tooth decay due to excessive carrot-eating. Also, they don’t naturally eat root vegetables, cereals, or fruit. Instead, they should be given good quality hay in daily bundles. Carrots and apples should only be an occasional treat.

Myth 7: Cats have nine lives.

The belief that cats have nine lives came from ancient Egypt. They believed that these are sacred animals that had psychic or supernatural powers. Some people also think this is true because cats tend to survive things that humans wouldn’t. This is not true. Cats have one life just like any other living creature, though it is true that they can withstand most falls and other serious accidents without being fatally wounded.