Common Myths About Pets Explained

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When it comes to U.S. pet ownership, 39 percent of households own at least one dog, and 33 percent own at least one cat, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Furry family members bring joy and excitement to a household, and providing the best care possible helps ensure pets have a long, healthy life.

Unfortunately, with so much information available, it's easy to become confused about what's really best for them. To cut through the clutter, here are some of the most common pet myths:

1. Cats have nine lives. Cats' curious nature and quick reaction times are likely the basis of the nine lives reputation, but remember that it's important to schedule regular veterinary visits to ensure your pet has a long, healthy and happy life. Your pet needs annual wellness check-ups, vaccines, dental exams and nutritional consultations, just like humans do.

2. Table scraps are OK. Did you know that one ounce of cheddar cheese for a 20-pound dog is like a human eating more than one and a half chocolate bars? That same piece of cheese for a 10-pound cat is like eating almost three full chocolate bars. Table scraps are basically empty calories for cats and dogs. They need precisely balanced nutrition for their specific life stage to remain healthy.

3. Dogs wag their tail when they are happy. Dogs wag their tail for many reasons; the most common is that they are either happy or nervous. Pets communicate via complex body language rather than vocal expression like humans.

Dogs and cats both need plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation to stay healthy. If you just leave your dog out in the yard alone they might not get much of either.

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