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Fact or Fiction? 5 Common Pet Myths Debunked

Whether you're brand new to pet ownership or a seasoned veteran, you've probably heard at least a few myths about dogs and cats before. Some myths are harmless, but others can affect your furry friend's health and wellbeing. Below we break down five pet myths to help you tell what's fact from fiction.

Myth #1: Indoor dogs can't get Heartworm Disease.

Heartworm Disease is caused by parasitic worms living in the major blood vessels of the lungs and, occasionally, in the heart. These worms are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Although there are certainly more mosquitoes outside than inside, all it takes is for one infected mosquito to find a way inside and bite your pet.

Heartworm disease can cause a variety of medical problems affecting the lungs, heart, liver, and/or kidneys. Any of these problems, alone or in combination, can be fatal. Although safe and effective treatment is available, it can be a costly and complicated process depending on how long your dog has been infected and how severe the infection is.

The good news is that Heartworm Disease is easy to prevent. Affordable monthly preventatives like Advantage Multi and Iverhart Max prevent heartworms and protect your pet inside and outside. You can order heartworm prevention for your dog from Pet Community Center’s online pharmacy here.

Myth #2: Cats are nocturnal.

When your cat wakes you up at 3 AM, it may be hard to believe that this one is a myth. But, cats are actually crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. This is because dawn and dusk are opportune times for hunting.

Even though your domesticated cat doesn’t need to hunt for food as their wild ancestors once did, they will still have the most energy in the early morning and evening. We suggest playing with and exercising your cat during these times to ward off unwanted behaviors and help them sleep through the night.

Myth #3: Dogs heal themselves by licking their wounds.

This myth originates from the fact that a dog’s saliva does have a small amount of antibacterial properties in it. However, it also contains harmful infectious bacteria. When a dog licks their wounds, they prevent them from healing because wounds need clean and dry environments to heal.

That’s why, if your dog has a wound of any kind (i.e. surgery incision), it’s essential that you keep the area clean and dry until it’s healed. The best way to keep your dog from licking unwanted areas is to use a properly fitted Elizabethan collar.

Myth #4: Milk is good for cats.

This is a popular, but harmful myth. Of course, young kittens need to drink their mother’s milk. But by the time they are a few months old, cats should be weaned and eating cat food and drinking water.

Most cats are actually ‘lactose intolerant’ as they don’t have the enzyme (lactase) in their intestines to digest the sugar in milk (lactose). This means that milk, which contains lactose, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain from drinking it.

Myth #5: Dogs are completely color blind.

No, your dog’s vision doesn’t look like a movie from the 1950s. Although it was long believed that dogs could only see in black and white, research has since proven that dogs can see shades of blue, yellow, and gray. Colors that are not visible to a dog include red, orange, and green.

Although humans can see more colors than dogs can, dogs have better night, peripheral, and motion vision. The more you know!


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