There are so many myths and old wive's tales floating around. Whether you've seen them on the internet or had well intentioned friends or family members tell you some of these things, they are simply not true. We looked at some of the most popular dog-related myths and dug up the truth for you.
Health and Wellness Myths
Myth: One dog year is equal to seven human years
Fact: This claim is not actually supported by science. What we do know for sure is that dogs age more quickly than humans and have shorter lifespans. The American Veterinary Medical Association says that dogs become senior citizens at around seven years old. There are several other studies that show that dogs ‘age’ as much as 15 human years in their first year of life. While the studies aren’t perfect, they do debunk the seven-year rule.
We also generally know that smaller dogs have longer average lifespans than larger pups so these calculations also need to take into consideration the breed of your dog. No matter how old your dog is, they deserve your love, attention and care for their whole lives!
Myth: Dogs have cleaner mouths than humans
Fact: We have no idea how this myth got started but it IS a myth! Your dog licks his or her privates so it should be a no brainer that your dog’s mouth isn’t a beacon of sanitation! Can you get sick from letting your dog kiss you? Pet MD says its unlikely (but not impossible).
To keep both of you healthy ensure that your pup is getting regular stool tests and stays on a preventative regimen for heartworm, fleas and ticks. It’s also a good idea to brush your pup’s teeth regularly so they don’t get dental diseases or need to be sedated for cleanings and dental work. As a bonus, your dog’s breath will be much fresher for those early morning kisses.
Myth: A cold, wet nose is an indication of a healthy dog
Fact: While there are some advantages to having a cold, wet nose if your pup’s nose is on the dry side, it doesn’t mean they are sick. It can be totally normal, especially after a nap or being exposed to the elements for a dog’s nose to be dry! While a dry nose can be a sign of an issue, so can an overly wet nose. The bottom like here is that if you see a big, sudden change in your dog’s nose it’s probably a good idea to check in with your vet!
Dog Training Myths
Myth: You should rub a puppy’s nose in their pee when they have an accident
Fact: NO, NO, NO! DO NOT ever do this. According to the American Humane Society all this will do is teach your dog to fear you and your pup might start to hide when they have to go.
If your puppy has an accident, don’t make a big deal. Just clean it up. To prevent accidents, walk your puppy as soon as they wake up, after meals and every 20-30 minutes when they’re awake. Puppies have small bladders and anywhere they don’t eat or sleep is fair game for a potty break. Show them where you want them to go (outside) and praise them and reward them when they do!
Myth: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks
Fact: This one is also untrue, but it might be fair to say an older dog might not be as excited as a younger pup about learning something new. When teaching an older dog something new remember to have patience while they learn.
You also want to be aware of what you’re asking. Having your 9-year-old lab jump through a hoop might not be exciting and fun for him if his joints hurt! That said, picking an age-appropriate new trick can help keep an older dog mentally engaged and physically fit. If you have questions about tricks that might be suitable for your older dog, have a chat with your vet or an experienced trainer.
Myth: Comforting a scared dog only reinforces their fear
Fact: This is simply not true. If your dog is showing signs of fear it is totally okay to comfort them. It will not make them more fearful of the trigger in the future. If your dog is afraid of Thunderstorms, ignoring their fear and not providing comfort can actually be the opposite. It will make your pup more stressed. If you are struggling with fears, get some help from your vet or trainer to help your dog feel more comfortable and confident.
Did you know that more dogs go missing around 4th of July than any other time of the year? This is because many pups are so afraid of fireworks they go to run away or hide and get separated from their owners. While you can’t stop natural things like thunder and big productions like fireworks, you can help your dog become more comfortable and minimize their exposure.
Dog Food & Nutrition Myths
Myth: Grains are bad for dogs
Fact: Grains in dog food have gotten a bad rap over the years. In 2007, dog food with wheat gluten imported from China sickened and killed many pets - but the wheat gluten was not the culprit - it was the contaminant. Recently, as grain-free diets have grown in popularity, the FDA has been investigating a link between grain-free diets and an increase in cases of dilated cardiomyopathy. At Ollie , we put rice in some of our recipes like our Chicken Recipe because it is a grain that is well tolerated by most dogs. It provides them with great energy when combined with our other human-grade ingredients.
Myth: Dogs shouldn’t eat pork
Fact: While you don’t see very many dog food brands using pork in their formulas, the other white meat is ok to share with your pup under certain conditions. First, avoid fatty cuts like bacon. While a tiny bit of bacon once in a while shouldn’t hurt your pup, it is way too high in fat and salt to feed regular portions and can lead to pancreatitis. If you do want to allow your dog to indulge, be sure to really, really drain off as much fat as possible before sharing.
If you do want to share pork with your pup, keep it plain. This means no garlic salt, onion, bbq sauce, or nutmeg. You also want to avoid feeding raw pork to your dog. It can cause trichinosis, just like in humans. If you want to offer pork to your pup, chat with your vet first!
Myth: Dry food is better for dogs dental health than wet food
Fact: Just like you don’t brush your teeth with Oreo’s, your dog isn’t actually cleaning their teeth when they eat either. While the crunch of the kibble can help remove some of the plaque on your pup’s teeth so can a toothbrush and some enzymatic toothpaste. The kibble will also be ineffective at cleaning at or beneath the gumline, which is critically important. Wet and fresh foods like Ollie can be more palatable to dogs, have more protein, and provide great nutrition. If your pup loves to crunch, by all means, feed kibble or crunchy treats but we’d encourage you to look at the benefits of fresh food too! You can even combine fresh and dry foods for the ultimate meal!
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.