Fact or fiction – debunking common pet myths

Are dogs really colour blind? And are cats able to see in the dark? Today we’re going to find out whether these popular pet myths and more are actually true or just a load of old rubbish…

1. Dogs and cats hate each other

FALSE! Although dogs and cats are often portrayed as enemies in films and cartoons, if introduced in the right way, they can actually get on extremely well and even become the best of fur friends.

2. Cats are nocturnal

FALSE! However, cats are instinctively crepuscular – which means they are most active at dawn and dusk, when there’s plenty of hunting opportunities and there’s enough light for them to see well.

3. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks

FALSE!Whilst puppies’ brains are like sponges that soak up new information quickly, your adult dog is still capable of learning new things – it just might take them a little longer. Patience is a virtue!

4. Dogs have their own unique ‘fingerprint’

TRUE! Only this unique print is not found on their paws – but on their nose! This nose print is as unique as a human fingerprint and is so distinct that it can actually be used to identify them.

5. Cats always land on their feet

FALSE! Most of the time, cats will land on their feet when they fall from a height due to their ‘righting reflex’ but it’s not always the case. In fact every year vets treat a significant number of cats that have fallen from varying hights and injured themselves

6. Dogs only eat grass when they are sick

FALSE!Dogs eat grass because it’s tasty. Yeah – we don’t get it either…

7. I need to show my dog who’s boss by being the pack leader

FALSE! Dominance based dog training is based on studies of captive wolves in the 1970s which popularised the theory that ‘alpha’ wolves become the leader of the pack by being aggressive towards other wolves. But science has moved on since then and this theory has now been debunked. So, ignore trainers who tell you need to show your dog who’s boss in order to be in control.

8. Cats only purr when they are happy

FALSE! Cats do purr when they’re happy, but that’s not the only reason they do it. They can also purr when they’re frightened or feeling unwell or in pain as a way of self soothing. Cats can also purr to comfort their young. The jury’s out on why cats purr.

9. Cats can see in complete darkness

FALSE! Unlike vampires, cats can’t see in complete darkness however, their eyes are much adapated to seeing in low levels of light than us.

10. Dogs can only see in black and white

FALSE! Although they can’t see the world in full technicolour like we can, dogs can see some colours. Their eyes detect fewer colours than ours, so their perception is similar to humans with colour blindness.

11. Dogs can fall in love

TRUE! Why else do you think it’s called puppy love?! Studies shows that a dog’s brain releases oxytocin – the love hormone – when it interacts with humans and dogs, just the same as a human brain does when we hug or kiss.

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