Myths About Pets Old Wives Tale Or Fact

Just as in any other walk of life, myths about pets find their way around the world and often in our mail boxes. And a common question that is asked is whether they are indeed fact, or simply old wives’ tales. So today I thought I’d turf a few of these well-worn myths into the Bark Ages where they rightfully belong!

You can’t believe everything you read on the world wide web either, because the information out there could be a junior janitor’s bloggings or a couple of talented computer wiz kids having you on!

So here a few of the better known myths about pets. Let’s call them ‘fairy tales’ for want of a better description.

The Bonsai Kitten

I’m sure everyone remembers the Kitten In The Bottle myth which sent pet lovers into a frenzy of signing petitions and baying for the blood of the cruel perpetrators who were growing a real live Bonsai Cat in a glass bottle …and there was the photo of the cute healthy, bright eyed, little moggy, pretty much squashed double into a narrow, necked glass container, to prove it too!

And while I know scientists get up to the most amazing experiments, if only those dear, tender hearted, gullible folk had just stopped and taken a deep breath, they would surely have realized that such a feat is an impossibility … and for many reasons too – the main one being there was no kitty loo facility!

In fact shortly after the anti-cruelty crusaders got involved, some very red faced Chinese computer students came forward to apologize for the furor they had caused, explaining the whole thing had started as a bet … that no one would fall for the prank!

Raisins and grapes – are they safe for your pet to eat?

Recently a warning went around about raisons being lethal for dogs. It claimed “even as few as 7 raisins fed to a 30kilo dog” could be lethal. And grapes, it appeared, also fell into the same category as they too caused sudden renal failure.

I must say I couldn’t help feeling some one was pulling some one’s socks with this old wives’ tale, so I took the liberty of checking this pet myth out with a professor of veterinary medicine and here is his reply:

“The 7 raisins information is hard to believe. Poisoning is always a matter of ‘dosage per weight’ and I do not think 7 raisins could harm a 30 kg dog. I also believe there is a clear distinction between raisins and grapes. We had a little Fox terrier who stole ripe grapes from the vines, and also in practice I had a number of other dogs eating grapes and fruit. The worst symptom was diarrhea due to the high fibre and undigested sugars. It was easy to treat. Raisins’ composition is not the same as grapes.”

Also bear in mind your pet may have an individual allergy to a certain foodstuff which should then be avoided at all costs.


Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine, found in the cocoa bean, and is the feel-good stuff which apparently  dogs metabolize very slowly, and if consumed in large doses could have a serious effect on the animal’s heart, kidneys and central nervous system. So this myth does contain some elements of fact.

But here’s the shock – chocolate actually carries the same risk to your dog as the ingestion of other common household items such as coffee, tea, cola, beverages and certain house plants!

The truth is, all poisoning is a matter of ‘dosage per weight.’ For example, little Tiddlely-pom-pom, a 3 Kilo Pomeranian would need to gobble up a whole slab of chocolate, all at once, to be seriously affected.

Furthermore, scientific studies on the subject do not seem to exist either … take my word for it, millions of healthy dogs, with fat butts, all over the world, enjoy the odd chocolate with no serious ill effects.

Garlic good, Onions bad?

Now here’s a very controversial pet myth, because most ‘experts’ claim garlic is good for fleas and health, and onions are poisonous and bad, but in fact both these plants are from the same family. Again, always exercise caution and never overdose … remember every thing in moderation.

Human medication – this is definitely fact

This pet myth is certainly fact – never medicate pets with human medication or mixtures which could, and often does, prove fatal.

Never administer any analgesic to cats because a dose could be absolutely lethal! Always consult your vet.

Used engine oil and black dip – will it work as a pesticide?

This pet myth is definitely NOT FACT. Using these two substances as a pesticide is probably one of the fastest ways to kill your pet or farm animals – and in the most painful and brutal way. Using these two poisons as to eradicate fleas and ticks is both barbaric and an old wives tale, as all it will achieve are fatal, third degree burns.

Raw meat

An old wives’ tale – raw meat categorically does not make your dog vicious! All my dogs have been raised on raw meat and all are “pussy cats”!

In fact, raw meat will probably calm your dogs because it’s their natural heritage being carnivores by choice, and omnivores by necessity! You don’t agree? Well why not try the tongue-tip- test … go ahead and offer him a juicy steak and a plate of lentils and see which he chooses.

The ‘Vicious’ story probably originated from a hungry dog’s response to having his bone taken away … it works in much the same way as a mugger trying to steal your gold watch! The more gold watches you own, the less you’ll fight to get it back – in the same way, the more bones Rover gets, the less valuable they will seem to him.


Bones are your salvation, especially for destructive puppies!

Please remember under no circumstances should cooked bones be given to dogs or cats because they could prove fatal.

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