Common Canine Myths (and the Facts Behind Them)

Myth 1: I have to shave my dog’s coat because he looks so hot. 


Fact: Many double-coated breeds have weatherproof coats that not only keep them warm in the winter, but also serve as insulators in the summer. A dog’s coat protects him from heat, sunburn, and even skin cancer. Shaving removes their protective layer, putting the dog’s skin at the mercy of the elements. Think of a heavy coat as your dog’s sun umbrella. Also, because dogs don’t sweat the way humans do, shaving the hair coat doesn’t actually help facilitate the thermoregulating process. Keeping a double coat in good condition with regular brushing is the best way to help a dog stay cool in summer.


Myth 2: One human year is like seven to a dog.

Fact: For all living species, life expectancy is the result of several factors. Nutrition, exercise, availability of medical care, and genetics all play a major role in how long a dog lives. Generally speaking, a dog’s size will influence how long he lives. Giant breeds and larger dogs appear to age faster, and many of the smaller dogs are incredibly long-lived. Research your breed of interest. Your breeder, people who own that breed, and your veterinarian can give you some idea about your dog’s life expectancy.


Myth 3: Dogs need meat in their diets.

Fact: Dogs are omnivorous (as are people), so a vegetarian diet may be acceptable. As is true with people who prefer vegetarian diets, protein or vitamin deficiency can occur in dogs who eat strictly vegetarian diets if they are not properly supplemented. If you are concerned about dietary imbalances, you may wish to feed your dog a commercial vegetarian diet rather than prepare one at home. If you choose to prepare homemade meals, work with your veterinarian or nutritionist to properly formulate a balanced diet. But in the wild, dogs prefer animal-based protein, and it’s important that they eat the diet most closely resembling what they would eat if hunting on their own. Cats are born carnivorous and require high amounts of animal dietary protein, and should not be fed totally vegetarian diets.