A few days back, a friend approached a dog that was wagging his tail after seeing her. While she was repeatedly told not to pet the dog without asking the owner, she decided against the advice because the canine was ‘wagging his tail’. The encounter was an unfortunate one and left her with a severe bite. But, it did help destroy a myth about wagging tails. Enclosed is a list of some ‘top myths’ that you should not trust.
1) The wagging tail: While a wagging tail may represent a happy dog, it can also mean anxiety, irritation or aggressiveness. Tail wagging shows a strong emotion and is used as an indicator by dogs to show their feelings to others. Any good behaviorist will advise you against petting a dog based on just the wag of its tail.
2) Warm and dry nose means fever: Please do not believe in this myth and check your dog’s temperature if you think something is wrong. A wet nose can also mean fever. Last week my pet had 105 degrees temperature even with a wet nose. The wetness or dryness of a dog’s nose has nothing to do with the dog’s health. As a pet owner it is crucial to focus on unusual dog behaviour to detect any medical issue. Also, it is important to know how to check your dog’s temperature so that you are well informed.
3) Frequent baths: This one is just absurd. Some people tend to bath their dogs every week to ensure they are clean. A bath every week is an absolute no and can cause dandruff in dogs. A bath once a month with a mild canine shampoo is good enough for a dog. Using human soaps and shampoos can actually harm your dog’s skin and using a canine soap or shampoo is strictly advisable.
4) Grass eating means stomach ache: There is no medical truth behind this habit in dogs. There are some dogs who do gulp down grass to induce vomit and rid themselves of any stomach content within minutes. But there is another section that slowly grazes the grass as if enjoying it. Some behaviorist also believe that grass eating may be linked to boredom in dogs but no one is sure.
5) Female dogs should have atleast one litter before they spayed: Spaying or not spaying your dogs is a personal choice and while there are many people who prefer spaying because they are not too happy about the vast number of dogs in shelters; there are many who do not prefer it. However, there is no genuine or logical reason why a dog should be bred once before being spayed or neutered.
6) All big dogs are dangerous: I have a 9-year-old German shepherd who is perhaps the most obedient and calm dogs on the face of this earth. This myth is truly what it is and has no proper reasoning. Infact, this myth has done more harm to big dog breeds that to help them. People tend to be scared of large breeds like German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Great Danes without even interacting with them. How a dog behaves or acts depends extensively on how he has been trained and the circumstances he is living in. The size of a dog has nothing to do with the temperament.
One for the road… A lot of people feed their canines garlic. Garlic according to some people can keep ticks and fleas at bay. Well, I had tried feeding my dog garlic long back and all I got was really smelly dog. Also, too much garlic can cause gastrointestinal problems in dogs and at best should be avoided.