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Common Myths – True or False?

small dog looking with big eyes

There's no doubt that dogs are amazing, incredible, fantastic, wondrous, astounding, and remarkable (not to mention totally lovable), so it's hard to know where fact ends and fiction begins.

Let's lift the mythic veil and sniff out the truth.

Do all dogs have a grudge against the mail carrier?

Conventional wisdom tells us that the sight of a mail carrier makes dogs go postal. But most often this is nothing personal against the person who delivers your mail. It's just your dog's instinct to protect his home and family from trespassers. So, when the mail carrier comes up to the door, your dog instinctively barks and/or chases—even if there are no bills in the mail. And if the dog succeeds in making the mail carrier walk away, his behavior has been rewarded—and he may continue to bark when the mail carrier returns on other days.

Are dogs and cats natural enemies?

If cartoons were reality, as soon as every dog saw a cat it would give chase, accompanied by a zippy musical soundtrack. Those of us who have successfully raised dogs and cats together, however, know that these two lovable species can—and often do—peacefully coexist. However, if the dog and cat in question have never met before, it's quite possible that the dog (especially if it's one that likes to give chase to smaller animals) will try to take some kind of action against the cat. This natural reaction is called 'predatory reaction.' Thinking of keeping a dog and cat together? Read our article, Dogs and Cats: Keeping Peace in the House.

Is chocolate really bad for dogs?

Chocolate is sweet, delicious, and (according to research) has health benefits. For humans. Dogs, however, are another species. The fact is that chocolate can trigger life-threatening illnesses in dogs. In fact, an ounce of chocolate can be toxic to a 30–pound dog, and many dogs can easily consume more than that.

Can dogs detect storms before they happen?

While no one can be 100% certain, it's likely that some sensitive dogs know a storm is brewing because they can hear it, smell it, and even feel it, long before us humans. Our article Dogs Can Predict Storms goes into the details.

Can dogs sense the presence of ghosts?

The jury's still out on this issue, but some people are dead certain that dogs can tell when there's a ghost nearby. However, until a ghost confirms this, we'll remain skeptical. For now, this myth is filed under 'Spectral Speculation.'

Can dogs detect health problems in humans?

Over the years, there have been innumerable stories about dogs sniffing out cancer in humans and predicting heart attacks and seizures in their owners. Now scientists are taking notice and trying to prove what many of us dog lovers already accept as fact: Dogs are amazingly sensitive to our tiniest problems, issues, concerns, and changes. And if you're among the skeptics who don't believe that dogs can detect human health issues, there's one thing you can't deny: Dogs can make us feel a lot better when we're under the weather.

Do St. Bernards actually carry brandy?

Fact: St. Bernard dogs have traditionally been bred for rescue operations in alpine regions. Myth: These dogs carry little kegs of brandy around their necks to warm trapped/lost/injured mountaineers and skiers. This myth probably dates to the early 19th century, when the English artist, Edwin Landseer, painted a fanciful image of an 'alpine mastiff' with a keg of brandy around its neck.

Did a dog really save citizens of Johnstown, PA, during the Great Flood of 1889?

We don't doubt for a moment that, throughout history, dogs have saved the lives of many humans. We've all heard stories about dogs barking to wake or warn their masters, dogs that have pulled people from burning buildings, etc. One of the most famous dog-saving-people stories involves Morley, the dog that allegedly saved some Johnstown children from the onrushing floodwaters in 1889. We'd love to believe that this really happened, but, alas, it's a tale invented by a resident of Johnstown at the time: Michael Dudek, who was an author, wrote a fiction book that starred his dog Morley. Over the years, the story he penned about Morley's courage during the flood has been accepted as fact by some people.

Is your dog the most wonderful creature in the universe?

This isn't a myth. It's a fact. And you didn't need us to tell you that.

  • When Should You Switch Your Senior Dog to Soft Food?

    smiling lab sitting in front of brick wall

    As your dog ages, you’ll likely notice changes in your best pal’s energy levels, routine and even muzzle. Older pets may require adjustments to help them get around, exercise and live their best life as a senior. One important aspect of caring for a dog entering their golden years is diet.

    When it comes to diet, every dog has unique, individual needs, regardless of age. So, there's no one easy answer to the question of soft food versus hard food. Both types of food can provide your dog with the nutrition they need — as long as you feed your dog a high-quality dog food that’s nutritionally balanced and complete.

    two dogs eating from two bowls

    Signs Your Senior Dog May Benefit from Wet Food

    If your dog has very specific health concerns, such as aging joints or weight issues, consult with your vet for more information about what type of food best addresses your dog's needs. That being said, there are a few reasons why you may consider switching your senior dog to soft food.

    fluffy brown dog yawning showing teeth

    Teeth Sensitivity

    As your dog gets older, their teeth may become more sensitive, which can make chewing kibble more difficult and even uncomfortable. Switching to a soft food can help to alleviate your pet’s oral discomfort when eating.

    However, if your dog is experiencing serious pain at mealtime from a condition like tooth decay or gingivitis, switching to soft food won't remedy the problem. Make sure you talk to your vet about oral care and dental treatment.

    Digestion Aid

    Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva, so if your dog has a tendency to scarf down meals, they may not be adequately chewing the food or adding enough saliva to it. Soft food can aid with digestion because it's more easily chewed.

    Hydration Help

    It’s no surprise that wet food has a higher moisture content when compared to dry kibble. If your senior pup is prone to urinary-tract issues or simply needs a little help staying hydrated, canned dog food may be a good choice.

    girl kissing older dog on the head

    Slower Metabolism

    Aging dogs tend to have a slower metabolic rate compared to their younger years, which puts them at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Many nutritionally balanced wet dog foods offer high protein content with fewer carbs than dry food, which can benefit older dogs with slower metabolism. Always talk to your vet if you have concerns about your pup’s weight.

    Picky Eaters

    While wet food may be less than appetizing to humans, the opposite is true for dogs! If your aging best friend has started turning their snout up to dry food, wet food tends to be more appealing to picky eaters. Mixing wet food and kibble offers your pup a variety of flavors and textures; try adding wet food as a topper on dry food for a real treat!

    Whether you choose dry food, soft food  or a mix of both, ask your vet before making any transition. And when it's time to switch your dog's food, remember to do it slowly — even if it's the same brand and flavor — to help prevent stomach upset and allow your dog time to adjust.

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