Pet Urban Legends

Mutt myths and feline fables abound in society. Are urban legends so mysterious and anthropomorphic that they are accepted as gospel above scientific proof? It seems so easy for people to believe nonsense above common sense, imagination above natural evidence, lay people above professionals.

Some of the more common myths need to be shared with you.

  • If dogs eat raw meat they may become vicious because they have tasted blood

If this is true then people who eat sushi should be more aggressive. Aggression has multitude causes and influences and it has never been proved that raw meat makes a dog vicious. The high percentage of quality protein may increase the levels of canine activity. Cats are forever preying upon rodents and birds and don’t become vicious towards people. Aggression is based on bad genetics, lack of early socialization and training, a depraved environment, inappropriate punishment and an owner with a bad attitude.   

  • A bitch needs to experience having a litter

The overpopulation of pets is created by ignorance, irresponsibility and the urban legend that a bitch is much better off if she has just one litter of puppies. This myth causes every animal welfare worker to develop an acute attack of the heebie-jeebies.

There is no scientific evidence to prove that a bitch benefits from a pregnancy in any way whatsoever, short-term or long-term. While she is hormonal and maternal instincts are at a premium she will instinctively be vigilant and protective over her offspring. Once the pups are weaned and hormones recede the bitch will return to normality.

What has been proven is that once a bitch has had one or more seasons (oestrus or period) her chance of developing breast cancer or diabetes increases markedly.

Are human females better off, mentally, physically, physiologically having babies?!

  • Cat collars can cause them to strangle in a tree

Collars for cats have been designed for various functions e.g. means of restraint, identity and attachment of bells and/or mirrors to prevent cats from preying on birds.

The majority of pet owners apply them as loose hanging necklaces “Shame, he may strangle himself” or “How can she eat if it fits so tight?!” or “If the collar gets hooked on a branch in a tree it will be able to break free”. How many people have found cats dangling from trees by their tight-fitting collars? Where are these outrageous statistics?  How often do cats gain access to trees?

It is absolute nonsense! Loose collars are more dangerous because cats find them uncomfortable dangling from their necks, so, in the process of trying to remove it the front foot often gets caught in the collar. After a lengthy struggle the collar cuts a deep gash in to the cat’s armpit and surgery may be required to close the wound.

  • The dog knows it has done wrong

Animals cannot perceive what humans regard as “wrong”. Animals do not think on human frequencies, depth and consciousness. Animals do not have sentiment nor can they contemplate the future.

Too often, when dog owners return home to find a pet of mass destruction, where the frustrated, untrained animal has trashed possessions or property or deposited “brownies” on the carpets, the mere expression of shock or anger on people’s faces will trigger a memorable signal in the pet’s mind that when it last detected that body language it got seriously hurt, vocally and physically.

Instinctively, the dog will cower, creep around with ears tucked back to create an act of submission to pre-empt punishment.

The dog is only scared of the human kinesics and does not have a clue that it “knows it has done wrong”.

Would the dog cringe if people came home and showed exhilarating pleasure and excitement instead of temper?!

  • If the dog messes in the house rub its nose in it”. This concept of housetraining puppies will possibly remain in people’s mind forever and a day. Who started this cult of stupidity? Many puppies eat their own faeces so why would their faces in their faeces be such a repulsive act? I have never seen parents rubbing their babies’ faces in their nappies so why should this be applied to the young of the canine species? All the puppy learns from this urban legend is that people are aggressive for a reason that cannot be fathomed out. Pups become fearful of their owners and out of anxiety will tend to mess much more. The real cure is to reward the pup for toileting outdoors, ignoring the messing indoors because punishment after the deed has no form of association. Pups should be kept outdoors until they are conditioned to using the grass and sand surfaces.
  • If the dog misbehaves hit it with a newspaper

What will any dog learn from this act of aggression? It will certainly fear its owner. What has newspaper got in its shape, sound or appearance that will be effective in reprimanding dogs: nothing! This myth is another clear reflection of human stupidity. Dogs must be rewarded for doing the right thing. Ignore bad behaviour and there will be a far better human-animal interaction.

  • Biliary can be cured with sugar, a beat-up egg yolk and a tot of brandy

If this treatment is as successful as some people have purported, why does this oral “therapy” not appear in the journal of veterinary medicine and how come it does not cure the human equivalent, malaria?!

Before succumbing to pet urban legends and myths think logically about nature.

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