Myth Busters Part 2

By: DogTrekker Staff
Dog lounging on grass
Photo Credit: SailorHitch (CC)

By Dr. Angela Gaeto, DVM, of the Helen Woodward Animal Center community in San Diego County.

Dog myths:

Dogs should have a litter before being spayed

It is a myth that dogs need to have a litter before being spayed. Some people correlate behavior issues with the hormone changes associated with spaying a dog, which is where this myth originated.

Dogs who experience heat are more prone to getting diseases such as mammary cancer later on in life. The more heats they experience the higher the risk. Dogs who remain intact longer are also at risk for other cancers and uterine infections known as pyometra, both of which can be severe and life threatening. There is no evidence that having a litter of puppies will change a dog’s personality in a meaningful way.

Dogs eat grass when they are sick

Dogs do not always eat grass when they are sick, and not all dogs that eat grass are sick. Dogs occasionally eat grass to settle their stomachs. However, this is not a guaranteed indication that they are ill. Many dogs eat grass because they like it and there is no reason to assume they are feeling unwell.

Licking heals wounds

Since dogs lick their wounds, many people believe that licking plays a role in the healing process. This is not true. While some minor wounds or skin abrasions may heal with a dog licking them, licking frequently can cause harm to a wound. Licking can cause trauma as well as bring infection to the area.

When a dog licks an area on their body they are constantly keeping that area moist which makes an optimal environment for bacteria on the skin surface to proliferate. Wounds are a perfect area for this process to occur due to the moisture already present at the surface and the break in the natural skin barrier. Do not assume that your dog can heal their own wounds by licking them.

Garlic can cure fleas

Garlic cannot kill fleas. Garlic is toxic to dogs and when consumed can cause destruction of their red blood cells. Garlic is not a safe method of flea prevention.

Photo Credit: SailorHitch (CC)