As veterinary professionals, we hear a lot of pet-related myths and misnomer on an almost daily basis, and while the vast majority are actually quite entertaining, they can also be dangerous to your pet.  Here are some of the most common pet-related myths debunked:

Cold nose, warm heart. 

Oftentimes, pet owners will come to their family veterinarian with concerns that their dog or cat may be sick because he or she has a warm dry nose.  This is strictly urban legend, and there has never been any real evidence that supports this idea.  There is a long list of symptoms that pet owners should always be on the lookout for, but rest assured that this isn’t one of them.

Cats only purr when they’re happy.

It’s sweet to think that every time our feline friends make this relaxing sound, they are expressing love and contentment.  While this is certainly the case most of the time, it’s unfortunately not the only explanation for why your cat purrs.  Purring is just as soothing to the cat as it is to the owners, and you may find that your cat is doing this to ease his or her own anxiety, discomfort, or pain.

Mixed breed dogs are always healthier than purebred dogs.

Hey, we love mixed breed dogs more than anything, but if you’re thinking that you can adopt a mutt and save on veterinary care, think again.  Mutts require just as much preventative care as the next dog, and just like humans, every dog will have his or her own set of health challenges throughout life.  It’s true that there are certain hereditary diseases that are most commonly found in a particular breed, but the majority of those diseases are also found in other breeds, as well (including mixed breeds).  Regardless of your pet’s pedigree, you should be prepared to provide a lifetime of support for whatever ailments may come up.

Garlic is an effective flea preventative and dewormer.

There is no scientific evidence supporting this myth, and in fact, feeding your pet large amounts of garlic can be harmful.  Beside the potential side effects, the fact remains that it is ineffective, and if you choose to go this route, you may be allowing your pet’s parasites to flourish.  Instead, speak with your veterinarian about what options you have for proven and effective parasite prevention.

Pets who live primarily indoors do not require heartworm prevention.

This is absolutely false.  Every pet should receive adequate heartworm prevention, regardless of lifestyle.  It only takes a fraction of a second for your beloved pet to contract heartworms, and the resulting damage will last a lifetime.  Heartworm preventative is also much more budget-friendly than the treatment options that are currently available.

Relying on myths over the advice of your veterinarian can have dangerous long-term effects on your pet’s health, and it can also lead to the need for costly medical treatments and procedures.  If you’re ever unsure about what you should believe regarding your pet’s health, all you have to do is ask!


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