**Guest post from Ellen B.**
Let’s clear up some of the myths about providing good health care for your dog. This collection is taken from several sources from the Drs. Foster & Smith educational staff.
Myth: If your new puppy makes a mess in the house while you’re not around, bring the dog over to the mess, hold his nose in it, and scold him. This will force him to learn that going in the house isn’t acceptable under any circumstances.
Truth: Unfortunately, this is one of the most prevalent housebreaking myths among new pet owners. The fact is, puppies that age can’t fathom the cause/effect relationship between their natural bodily functions and why, 20 minutes later or more, you’re yelling at them. This housebreaking method doesn’t work, and really does more emotional harm than good.
For more information, read Dog Housetraining Methods.
Myth: Dog food that is high in protein causes kidney disease.
Truth: This myth probably started because, in the past, patients with kidney disease were commonly placed on low-protein (and thus low-nitrogen) diets. Today, we often put them on a diet that is not necessarily very low in protein, but instead contains protein that is more digestible (therefore producing fewer nitrogen by-products). These diet changes are made merely because damaged kidneys may not be able to handle the excess nitrogen efficiently. In pets with existing kidney problems, nitrogen can become too high in the bloodstream which can harm other tissues.
Unless your veterinarian has told you your pet has a kidney problem that is severe enough to adjust the protein intake, you can feed your pet a normal amount of protein without worrying about “damaging” or “stressing” your pet’s kidneys. Also, keep in mind the fact that you are not “saving” your pet’s kidneys by feeding a low-protein diet.
Read more Nutrients in Pet Foods FAQs
Myth: Human shampoo if fine to use on pets.
Truth: You should never use shampoo that is made for humans on your pet. Human shampoos contain harsher detergents, are not pH balanced for pets, and could damage hair or sensitive skin.
Read more Bathing FAQs.
Myth: Stop worrying about fleas and ticks once it gets cold out.
Truth: Remember that cold weather does not kill ticks. In fact, spring and fall are when the deer tick numbers are at their peak. As a general rule, we recommend using flea and tick products until after extreme winter conditions persist. In warmer climates, flea and tick protection should be provided year round.
Read more Flea & Tick Control FAQs.
Myth: The only consequence of not giving my dog proper exercise is he might gain a little weight.
Truth: Exercise is important for physical health, but exercise also plays a key role in mental health. Providing your dog with proper exercise can prevent boredom and help him be a happy, well-behaved dog. Boredom is a leading cause for dog behavioral problems. Inappropriate chewing, digging, and excessive barking or licking can be signs that your dog is bored.
For more information, read Leading Cause of Dog Behavior Problems.
Myth: Rawhide is not safe or healthy for my dog.
Truth: A major US medical school once conducted a laboratory test that showed in groups of test dogs, even in those fed rawhide three times a day, there were no ill effects. Chewing rawhide has the beneficial effect of removing plaque from the animals’ teeth and keeping them cleaner, important because periodontal disease is a real problem in many adult dogs. We feel that rawhide is a good all-around choice for dogs, if they are supervised when chewing. Supervision should be used when your dog is playing with any object, including toys and bones.
For more information, read Rawhide Myths and Facts
Dog Dental Health
Myth: Dogs have great teeth and chew bones alone keep their teeth healthy.
Truth: 70-80% of cats and dogs over 3 years of age have dental disease. Even if their teeth look good, we do not know what could be lurking under the gum line. The best way to avoid painful and costly dental disease in your pet is with a good dental health program.
Form more information, read Pet Dental Care – It’s Important!
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