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Expert Advice on Pet Health and Nutrition

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WebMD Expert Discussion: 5 Cat and Dog Health Myths

Caution: What you think you know about your pet may be wrong!

There are a lot of myths about pet health and safety out there, says WebMD guest veterinarian Will Draper, DVM. He gives the facts about some of the most common myths about cats and dogs in a recent discussion in the WebMD Pet Health Community. See if any of these myths about cats and dogs are familiar to you:

  • Cats don’t need to drink milk. Despite the image of cute kittens lapping milk or cream from a saucer, most cats are lactose intolerant. Give kitty clean, clear water to promote digestive system health.
  • Cats don’t always land on their feet. They’re very agile, but falling can cause serious injuries.
  • Dogs can’t heal wounds by licking them. Dog saliva contains a lot of bacteria -- and no, their mouths aren’t cleaner than ours. A dog with a cut or gash should be seen by a vet.
  • A dog’s nose is not a health barometer. A cold and wet nose doesn’t necessarily mean a dog is healthy, and a warm and dry nose doesn’t necessarily mean a dog is sick. True signs of illness include lethargy, loss of appetite, loose stool, and nasal discharge.
  • Dogs shouldn’t eat bones. They can splinter and, if swallowed, injure the throat and the digestive tract. Give your dog a safe toy or rawhide for chewing urges instead.

Pet owners chime in to do a little myth-busting of their own. They add the following tips:

  • Cats do feel pain. They’re just subtler about it than dogs are and have an instinct to hide pain.
  • Don’t use old wives’ tale home remedies, like dunking a dog in motor oil or feeding him garlic to treat skin conditions.
  • A cat or dog's bad breath isn’t a normal byproduct of aging. Mouth odors can be a sign of poor dental health or illnesses such as kidney disease.

What pet myths have you encountered? Share your experiences with myths about cats and dogs with other pet owners in the WebMD Pet Health Community.

Discussion led by William Draper, DVM Guest Expert
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Guest Expert

Dr. Will opened Georgia’s first accredited small animal emergency room in 2000. He’s been named Best Vet by Atlanta Magazine since 2004... More

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Pet Health and Nutrition Advice

Veterinarian Will Draper gives tips on the best nutrition and health care for your dog or cat.
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