San Juan Veterinary Hospital

2197 E Hwy 160
Pagosa Springs, CO 81147


The Truth about Cats and Dogs

Some pet owners have notions about their pets that aren't always accurate.  The article breaks down misconceptions surrounding some of the more commonly held beliefs about cats and dogs.  Here, we supply additional information--somefun, some more serious--about both cats and dogs.

Some Myths--and Realities
As with most myths some pertaining to cats and dogs are harmless while others can potentially be harmful.  Below are examples of myths that can lead to health problems if clients believe them:

  • Bad breath is normal in dogs and cats.  Long-lasting bad breath is not normal.  Most times, periodontal disease is the cause, but other conditions, such as diabetes or liver, intestinal, or kidney disease, can also be to blame.
  • Dogs and Cats can heal themselves by licking their injuries.  Although initial licking can clean a wound, extensive licking can actually make it worse.  Remedies to prevent pets from licking include applying bitter-tasting products, covering the area, or using a neck brace or Elizabethan collar.
  • Feeding dry food and treats will prevent dental disease.  Although some specially formulated foods can help maintain a pet's oral health, this step alone usually is not enough to prevent periodontal disease.  At-home care and regular dental cleanings are essential.
  • Spaying and neutering don't provide any health benefits.  In fact, they can prevent or lower the risk of certain disease, including prostate disease and breast, ovarian, testicular, and uterine cancer.
Cat Facts
Cats don't always walk away from a fall.  cats do have an amazing ability to land on their feet (referred to an a righting reflex).  However, depending on how far they fall they can be injured.

A cat's nose pad is unique.  In fact, it has ridged pattern similar to a human fingerprint.

Cats use their whiskers to judge whether they can fit through narrow places.  An overweight cat could gauge a passageway incorrectly and get stuck.  This is just one of many reasons why cats should be kept fit.

Dog Facts
A cold, wet nose isn't always a sign of good health.  Similarly, a dog with a warm, dry nose isn't necessarily sick.  Owners should watch for clinical signs and not rely on a dog's nose as an indication of illness.

Some dominant female dogs raise their leg to urinate.  They just don't raise their leg as high as males do.

An old dog can be taught new tricks.  A healthy senior dog can certainly learn new tricks, although the time it takes may depend on the complexity of the trick.  Of course, some dogs learn faster than others, so if the dog was skilled at learning new tricks when it was younger, it will likely still be a whiz when it's older.