The biggest perk of taking advice from other pet owners is hopefully to become more familiar with the animal. On the other hand, just as some home remedies turn out to be funnier to talk about than useful, pet myths may get in the way of pet facts.
Here are five pet myths that will affect a pet owner's finances.
Myth 1: Animals should at least be able to have one litter before spaying/neutering them
Fact: If a pet owner actually does have ready-made households set up that will house these new puppies or kittens once the mother has them, then this is a pleasant option to share the love of pet ownership. However, judging from the massive amount of cats and dogs who end up in shelters or are euthanized, that is less often the case. On top of pet owners running around trying to find pet parents at the last minute, and knowing full well that they can't afford to take care of a handful of new pets, there are the health perks of spaying/neutering the cat or dog before it goes into heat or mates.
Cat owners can spend loads of money on urinary tract infections, which are common in the majority of the cat population. Not all cats will develop UTIs, but a large percentage will. In addition to that, both cats and dogs could be at risk of breast tumors, which may be cancerous or malignant depending on an individual basis. Before the animal goes into heat, spaying it may help it avoid all of the above. However, still keep tabs on cats who over-drink water. This is another common issue for cats suffering from UTIs.
Myth 2: Animals can digest and eat human food, as long as it's healthy
Fact: Antioxidants and flavanols in dark chocolate may help human body cells fight damage from free radicals and environmental contaminants (cigarette smoke, pollution, toxic household products). Without these antioxidants, this could lead to bad cholesterol and possibly heart problems from clogged artery walls. However, a dog that eats darker, bitter chocolate could be sickened and poisoned by the methylxanthines (caffeine and theobromine) in even an ounce of chocolate no matter the size of the dog.
While dogs certainly enjoy the taste of chicken and bones, actual small chicken bones can get lodged in their throat and choke them.
While it may not be as noticeable at the kitten stage, adult cats also may develop lactose intolerance. If ingesting dairy, that could lead to diarrhea and vomiting.
Tuna in cat food is not the same as tuna for humans, and if a cat consumes a regular amount of tuna geared to human beings, it may be at risk of steatitis (inflammation of body fat).
Avocado, garlic, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions, peaches, plums, raw eggs, raw meat and fish, and raisins are just a few of many other dangerous foods for cats and dogs for a variety of reasons. Consult a veterinarian before testing out any food beforehand or the lasting effects of the food could lead to some major veterinary bills.
Myth 3: Cats always land on their feet
Fact: Cats have developed this strange reputation for superheroic capabilities to always land on their feet no matter how high the drop is. Not true, and there are plenty of GIFs and videos to prove it whether cat owners find them "hilarious" or not. Windows should always be locked, especially from higher floors. "High rise syndrome" is linked to the cat's ability to have time to flip and land on its feet from higher distances than short drops, so cat owners shouldn't get too comfortable with living on first- and second-floor homes either.
However, cats are a prideful bunch, so when they fall or have broken bones, it's not always easy to catch. Look for signs of limping, not eating, bruising or inexplicable growling. Veterinarians should be consulted immediately for a diagnosis and treatment before even the smallest of fractures become a long-lasting health issue.
Myth 4: Pet insurance will cover all pet care expenses
Fact: In an ideal world, all types of insurance would completely cover what the insurer is told from the time of setting up an account. However, as many insurers have found out when it comes rental insurance, landlord insurance, auto insurance and even long-term disability, it doesn't always work out that way. Claims adjusters could possibly reject those same expenses, and the pet owner is stuck with a full bill. Pet insurance is billed like any other claim. The pet owner pays up front and hopes to recoup funds later. So if a veterinary claim is turned down, that may leave a pet owner wondering, "Why am I paying these monthly rates if I am unable to receive reimbursement for what I thought I was paying for?"
Before deciding on any form of funding for pet health care, get to know the pet. Talk with veterinarians and do research on the type of common illnesses or treatments that that animal may be more likely to have. For cat owners, UTI treatment should definitely be a priority. For dog owners, neutering/spaying and heartworm medication may be at the top of the list. Some small breeds, such as German Shepherds, may be far more likely to suffer from cancer than other smaller breeds. Narrow it down to the breed, not just the type of animal before deciding whether pet insurance or veterinary credit cards are the way to go.
Calculate how much it would cost to use a veterinary credit card versus monthly rates. Some pet owners may find that they came out ahead by only paying for actual expenses as opposed to required monthly fees.
Myth 5: Dogs with warm noses are ill
Fact: Believing this myth will send pet owners into overreaction mode quickly anytime their dogs rub up against them. There have been no scientific cases to confirm that all dogs with a warm nose are sick. Some just have warm noses in the same manner that some people have cold or warm hands. While signs of odd physical or mental characteristics from a savvy pet owner should indeed be looked into, if the dog's nose is always warm, then that's just one extra thing to snuggle up to.