THERE are lots of myths that have existed around pets and these are just a few.
* A wagging tail means a happy dog:
Dog body language is very complex and a wagging tail is only part of a very big picture. It can mean the dog is happy but it can also indicate anxiety, fear and sometimes aggression. So look at the whole dog.
* You should let the dog have one litter before you spay her:
Absolutely not. Dogs don’t have the same maternal feelings that people do and the drive to have puppies only comes around when the dog is in season. Pregnancy may cause complicated health issues and can mean expensive trips to the vets.
Thousands of unwanted puppies and stray dogs are killed in Ireland each year and if you let your dog have ‘just one litter’, you may be adding to the problem.
* Neutering my dog will change him:
The earlier it is done, the better. Neutered dogs, in general, are much calmer, less aggressive and don’t roam for days looking for a mate. Dogs that are looking for a bitch in heat can get injured on the roads or end up in the pound as a stray. It will also prevent your dog from developing most cancers.
* My dog will get fat if I neuter or spay:
Lots of unneutered pets get fat from overfeeding. When a dog is neutered, they don’t need the same energy from their food and if the dog gets too much food or the wrong type of food it will get fat, neutered or not. If you think your dog is getting fat, cut down the amount of food you feed them.
* Pets are a danger to newborn babies:
Studies have shown that a baby born into a house where there are pets living in the home develop a much stronger immune system. Pregnant women who have cats should take care to wash hands after feeding or stroking their pets.Keeping you dog and cat up to date with worming and flea control will help babies and children have fun with their pets in a safe environment.
* Dogs and cats eat grass to make themselves sick:
Sometimes they will vomit after eating grass but there is no evidence to suggest that they eat grass for this reason. In fact, some studies suggest that they just like a bit of “salad”.Cats especially will eat certain plants like cat nip just because they like it but, of course, other plants, such as lilies, can be highly toxic to cats. If your pet is prone to eating grass, don’t use chemicals in the garden for fear they might ingest the poisons. No chemical is 100% safe, no matter what the packet says. Dogs and cats have been known to eat slug pellets, which can make them extremely ill and needing expensive vet treatments. Of course, slug pellets also kill hedgehogs.
* Rabbits and guinea pigs can be kept together:
Both rabbits and guinea pigs should be kept in groups but not mixed. Rabbits can bully and hurt guinea pigs, so welfare standards suggest that you should keep two or three rabbits or two or three guinea pigs as family groups. Males can be neutered to prevent a population explosion.
If you have any questions you would like me or Daisy to answer, email The Clare Champion or myself and I will be happy to publish your question and answer here.