Debunking dog health myths - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Debunking dog health myths

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Industry experts expect Americans to spend more than $55 billion on their pets in 2013. $14 billion of that will go towards vet care and pet prescriptions.

Our pets make us happy, and it's our job to keep them healthy. But while we want the best for our furry family members, believing tall tales could hurt them.

Something we've all heard: A wet nose is good. Not true. A dry nose without any other symptoms might just be a sign that your house is just too dry.

Another myth: adding garlic to your dog's diet helps prevent fleas and ticks. The truth is garlic does little to prevent the pests, but chemicals in it can cause an increased heart rate, even anemia.

Veterinary doctor Brenda Stevens said use flea and tick meds to protect your pets. Make sure you apply topicals directly to the skin— on the back of the neck.

"If your dog does a lot of swimming and you're bathing your dog frequently, then a topical may not be most efficient for you, so something oral might work a little better," North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Doctor Brenda J. Stevens, DVM, told Ivanhoe.

And beware of flea and tick meds with pyrethroids. A study found the chemical was responsible for at least 1,600 pet deaths over a five year period.

As for pets' pearly whites, many believe dogs naturally brush their teeth, but they're wrong. Doctor Stevens said it's important to manually brush your dog's teeth at least a couple of times a week with pet toothpaste, not your own.

When it comes to bath time, Doctor Stevens said most dogs should only be bathed once every few months. Doing it more can dry out the natural Submitoils in their fur and cause skin irritation. She said between baths you should brush as much as possible to prevent odor and excess shedding. Brushing daily can also help stop fleas and ticks before they become a problem. It takes a tick 24 hours to transmit disease to a dog.

What about locating a missing pet?

One manufacturer said 10,000 pets are reunited with their families every month because of microchips, but the Internet is full of claims that they can also cause cancer in our animals. There haven't been any large scale studies done on that claim, but of the millions of pets with microchips, only a small number of tumors have been reported.

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