Whether you own a cat or a dog, the Internet has lots of information for pet owners. Dr. Chris Franklin, at Dogwood Veterinary Clinic, in each appointment is answering questions like these discerning what is real, sound medical advice for pets. Schedule your appointment, here if you would like to discuss any of these myths further. Let’s take a look at 10 of the most common pet care myths!

Myth: I Don’t Need to Have My Pet on Prevention Every Month

It’s a common belief that pet owners can skip out on parasite prevention in the cold, winter months. While it’s true that flea and tick activity decreases when temperatures take a dip, it only takes one day of mild weather for fleas and ticks to become active again. This is why it’s important to keep your pet on prevention year-round to protect them from fleas, ticks, intestinal parasitism, heartworms and tickborne diseases like Ehrlichia and Lyme disease.

Myth: Grain-Free Pet Food is Healthier

Nutrition is extremely important to your pet’s overall health. While there are thousands of diets on the market, grain-free diets, in particular, have become more prevalent in recent years. However, diets labeled “grain-free” aren’t necessarily healthier for your pet. Dogs and cats do not have food allergies to grain the way people do. These grain-free diets are still high in carbohydrates through food sources such as sweet potatoes, apples, and others. These added carbs can lead to increased weight gain over traditional pet foods. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there is also a study linking grain-free dog foods to a life-threatening heart condition called Dilated Cardiomyopathy.

Myth: Probiotics are only for people!

While the ones you and I take may not be suited for your pup or feline friend, pet-specific probiotics can be very beneficial! Our hospital recommends Purina’s FortiFlora (available in both canine and feline versions) for pets who are exhibiting stress-related GI symptoms or who suffer from chronic gastrointestinal issues. Purina also has a new probiotic called Calming Care formulated to help soothe anxious behaviors in dogs.

Myth: Dawn Dish Soap is an appropriate flea control

Dawn dish soap does kill fleas but it does nothing to prevent reinfestation! Dawn can also be very irritating to the skin if used repeatedly or if the skin is already irritated from itching or scratching. Dogwood Veterinary Clinic strongly recommends using a dog or cat shampoo formulated to balance the pH of your pet’s skin. We also recommend year round flea prevention like Nexgard for dogs or Revolution Plus for cats!

Myth: Crate training isn’t a necessity for my pet.

Crate training is not just for your convenience at home but can also be imperative to your pet’s health in the future. Should your pet ever need hospitalization, sustain an orthopedic injury, or need rest after a surgery, it is very important that they are able to remain calm in a crate. If they are unable to tolerate being in a crate, they could injure themselves further or cause post-operative complications. Crate training is also vital in helping pets have a comfortable, safe place in their home should they have separation anxiety when their owners leave the house. Crate training prior to the development of anxiety is crucial!

Myth: Dogs should chew bones, it’s good for their teeth!

Bones can actually pose a huge risk to your pet’s health. Not only can they break teeth, but if they are swallowed, bones can become lodged in the stomach or intestines causing a foreign body and the need for surgical removal. Instead of giving your dog a bone to chew on, try dental chews that have the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) seal of approval. CET Hextra Rawhide Chews, Veggiedents, Oravet Chews, and Greenies all help to prevent tartar and plaque buildup and are highly digestible! Chewing regular, hard kibble also helps to decrease tartar accumulation.

Myth: Ringworm is a worm

Despite its name, Ringworm is not an actual worm. Instead, this skin infection is caused by a fungus formally classified as a dermatophyte. As its name suggests, Ringworm can make a circular shaped rash but this is not always the case. Ringworm is also extremely contagious to other animals as well as zoonotic, meaning people can catch it from their pets. 

Myth: Cats do not require routine veterinary care

It is a common belief that cats do not require the same, routine veterinary care that dogs do, but this is not the case! Not only do cats need routine care for vaccines and parasite prevention, but routine lab work can help detect underlying conditions like early stage kidney disease and hyperthyroidism. Having a veterinarian perform a physical exam and discuss your cat’s lifestyle and nutrition will also help develop an individualized weight management plan to keep your cat at a healthy weight and body condition score! Because cats can be stoic and may not show signs of illness as early as a dog may, this makes routine lab work in cats even more important. 

Myth: My pet needs daily vitamins in addition to their dog food. 

Does your pet need a daily vitamin? Not necessarily. There are some vitamins and supplements our hospital recommends based on the symptoms your pet may be exhibiting. For example, a fish oil supplement may be recommended if your pet has chronic itchy skin! But if your pet is not displaying any clinical symptoms and is being fed a balanced, veterinarian-researched diet, a daily vitamin is not necessary. 

Myth: Eating grass means my dog is sick

If your dog has a habit of eating grass, this is not indicative of illness or gastrointestinal issues. Eating grass is considered a normal canine behavioral trait and is not of any clinical concern. If your dog does tend to eat grass, you’ll want to make sure the area is free of herbicides and pesticides as this can be toxic to your pet! 

If you’d like to discuss any of these myths further Dr. Chris Franklin would be happy to see you for an appointment at Dogwood Veterinary Clinic here in Louisville, Kentucky. If you live in the Prospect or Louisville area please click here, to schedule your appointment.