Pet Health Myths

Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor

On the Pets Best Insurance Facebook page, we recently asked pet owners to share the most bizarre pet health advice they’ve ever heard. Today, we’re taking some of those responses and busting the myths for good.

MYTH: Pour motor oil on a dog to cure mange or kill lice.
BUSTED: Never pour motor oil on a pet. Aside from being messy, it’s highly flammable, dangerous to work with and could make you and your pet extremely sick. If your pet is suffering from mange or a lice infestation, a quick trip to the vet will get you safe, effective treatment and ensure proper pet health.

MYTH: If your dog has an accident in the house, you should rub his nose in it while scolding him.
BUSTED: Dogs have short memories, and unless you catch them in the act, scolding about going potty will only lead to confusion and fear – your dog will become afraid to go to the bathroom in your presence. If there’s an indoor accident you don’t catch while it’s happening, let it go and remember to praise heavily when you dog goes potty outside. If you do catch him in the act, say “No!” Then take him outside and praise him for going in the right place.

MYTH: To keep your cat calm when traveling, transport her in a pillowcase.
BUSTED: Never transport a cat in a pillowcase. Movement is restricted and could lead to injury, especially if the cat panics. The fabric could also restrict airflow and cause a severe cat health care issue. When kitty needs to come along for the ride, use a pet carrier that’s the right size – she should be able to stand up and turn around in it – and add a favorite toy or blanket to comfort her. If you’re traveling by plane, be sure you buy an airline-approved carrier. The style will vary depending on the size of your pet and whether she’ll ride in the cabin with you or in cargo with larger pets.

MYTH: To remove a tick from a dog, hold a lit match to it.
BUSTED: Never hold a lit match near your pet, as this could be extremely detrimental to pet health. To remove a tick, light a match, blow it out, and hold the hot matchstick it to the tick’s belly. The heat will cause it to pull out of the pet. Good old-fashioned tweezers work as well, so long as you grab the tick as close to the skin as possible and apply steady pressure to ensure you do not leave the tick’s head behind. If tick removal makes you uncomfortable or you think your pet might need treatment for an allergic reaction, take him or her to your vet for recommendations and safe treatments.

When it comes to pet health care advice, use your best judgment. If something sounds like a bad idea, it probably is. Do your own research and see your vet for the best answers to your dog health care questions.

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