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The Caring Vet: 5 Dog Myths

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caring-vet-dr-jeffWhat’s myth and what’s fact? When it comes to our dogs, it’s not always easy to know. Today in “The Caring Vet Column,” Dr. Jeff Werber, a veterinarian who is well-known to television audiences, looks at five myths you may have grown up hearing about man’s best friend!

MYTH #1: A Cold Wet Nose Indicates Health

Dogs exchange heat through panting (their primary source) and by emitting sweat from the tissue on the pads of their feet and the top of their noses. When a dog is functioning properly and needs to emit heat, yes, it will have a wet nose. And, although it is true that dogs who are sick usually have dry noses, the converse is not true. There are plenty of healthy dogs that don’t need to sweat or lose heat, so their noses are dry. And they’re fine! Always consult your veterinarian on any questions you have concerning your pets (or any animal’s) health.

MYTH #2: You Need To Shave a Dog Down For Summer

Thick-coated dogs like Huskies or Samoyeds use their coats like a thermos to insulate them from cold and heat. A thick coat creates a steady body temperature, so don’t upset the balance of their body temperature regulation system just because you’d feel better without all that fur! I also recommend checking out Pro Sense Skin and Coat pet care products, which aid in a variety of seasonal coat issues and offer relief to your pup. For more information, you can check out – http://www.prosensepet.com.

MYTH #3: You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Then how do you account for the fact that most of search and disaster/ bomb squad dogs are adult dogs from shelters? Yes, it’s easier to teach certain tasks to a young dog, just like it’s easier to teach a 5-year-old a new language versus an adult. But certain skills require past experience. For example, it’s easier for adults to learn a difficult math concept than it would be for a first grader. Why? We’re weighing all the things we already know to help us understand something new. Dogs do the same, which is why strays—who had to learn survival behaviors—make such excellent search and disaster team dogs.

MYTH #4: It Is Better for a Dog To Have A Litter Before It Is Spayed

It has been shown that breast cancer in dogs is 5-7 times more prevalent than in women. The best prevention for breast cancer is to spay a dog, preferably before the first heat, and certainly before the second heat, and definitely do not allow the dog to have a litter. If a dog has a second heat or a litter, there is no reduction in the risk of breast cancer. Spaying does not otherwise adversely affect a dog’s physiology or behavior.

MYTH #5: Only Male Dogs Hump, or Lift Their Legs To Urinate

Humping is not always a sexual act, but rather a behavioral act, a display of dominance. As such, males, whose urge to dominate is more pronounced, tend more often to hump other dogs, including male dogs, and even humans. Females, though, also display dominance by humping in the same manner. Humping as dominant behavior can persist after spaying/neutering.

This is similar to when dogs lift their leg to urinate. Male dogs have a strong evolutionary need to mark territory. Through lifting their leg, they are able to more effectively mark higher territories. Female dogs don’t have the same strong need to mark territory, but often females will lift their leg up against a tree in an attempt to mark a higher spot. Since the female anatomy isn’t aided in marking ability by lifting a leg the way a male is, their urge to do so not as strong; hence why we see more of this behavior in male dogs.

prosenselogo-bigAbout the Author: To learn more about Dr. Jeff, visit www.drjeff.com and www.prosensepet.com. Follow along with what’s new with Dr. Jeff on his Facebook page and @drwerber Twitter account, too!