5 Things Know-It-Alls Said Would Kill My Dogs (But Proved To Be Wrong)

Being a responsible pet parent is a difficult job. We have to train them to be good members of society, make sure their needs are being met through the right diet, selecting appropriate, safe toys, and balancing all that with the right amount of exercise. And even when you think you’re doing a bang-up job, there’s always one person who says you’re doing it all wrong.

When it comes to raising a dog, there is no shortage of free advice out there. The following is a list of actual things well-intentioned (well, at least I hope they are) people have warned me would kill my dogs, but haven’t happened

  1. Blood-Thirsty Seals

Living smack dab in the middle of the Canadian prairies, you could say my pups are Prairies Dogs. During our travels, we have ended up on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. But it was during our time on the Atlantic side when we were warned about seals. Oh yes – behind those wide-eyed, cute faces hides an insatiable killer!

While enjoying walks on the beach, we were told by concerned locals that seals sneak up, ninja style, and drag our dogs into the water to nom on.  We keep our dogs on leashes and never yet has a seal come and attacked us.

Related: 5 Ridiculous Myths About Rescue Dogs

When pressed as to why a seal would eat my dog, people told me that seals were defending themselves or hunting for an easy meal. This was news to me, but either way, seals are predators and wild animals. We’d give them a wide breadth even if they aren’t on Canada’s Most Wanted list.

  1. Porcupines Packing Heat

Have you heard the myth that as soon as a porcupine sees a dog, it will shoot them with quills? Kinda like “shoot first, ask questions later,” right?  Some say that the quills travel through the dog’s body, making their way to the heart, killing them slowly. Yikes!

It turns out that porcupines would just rather mind their own business. Don’t get me wrong – when pressed by a barking dog in their face, they will defend themselves by raising their quills. It’s when the dog bites down on the unassuming porcupine that they come up with a face full of quills.

The best option is to leave the quills in, and take the dog to a vet immediately. Each quill has a barbed end, making it really easy to stick in and hard to get out. This is not a DIY project – cutting or pulling the quills out yourself may result in broken quills, which will make it much harder for the vet to remove. Even if the quills aren’t in as deep, pulling on them will “tent” the dog’s skin, which may result in other quills being pushed in deeper.

  1. Bully Beavers

They may have huge teeth and carry around big sticks, but beavers are prey animals, which mean they would prefer to flee than to fight. However, there are enough stories of beaver attacks on dogs that this one made the list.

Related: Facts And Myths About Black Cats

People tell stories of beavers coming up and dragging dogs down under the water, or hiding out along the shore line and ambushing pets. It’s like the plot of a horror movie that stars Canada’s national animal. Yeah – it doesn’t sound right to me either.

I enjoy swimming with my dogs, and being on leash isn’t always feasible or safe out in the water. So how have I avoided having my dogs being ambushed and eaten by beavers? First and foremost, I am aware of my surroundings. We would never swim in a beaver pond, or a river or lake near a lodge. Doing so might provoke a beaver into self-defence mode. And really, who could blame him – my dog just swam into his house uninvited. I would be a little peeved, too.

  1. Christmas Casualties

Sound the alarms! Christmas is here! It seems that everything about the holidays is a danger to dogs. From eating tinsel, slurping up antifreeze or indulging in too much human food, one thing is clear. Holidays can be hell for dogs!

While I don’t disagree that the holiday hustle and bustle can be a hectic time for pets and people, it’s simply a matter of being more aware of what’s in your dog’s reach. A little planning during Christmas makes it all merry and bright.

  1. Perilous Pedicures

I think this one was started by dogs!

The old tale goes that if you cut a dog’s nails too short, the quick will bleed and the dog will die. While it’s true that cutting the dog’s quick is painful and will produce a lot of blood, it is highly unlikely the dog will die. In time the quick will clot, but it can be helped along by applying light pressure and elevating the paw. Even if your dog’s life isn’t at risk from a nail trim gone bad, your dog would much prefer you learn to trim nails properly or take them to a professional.

The loss of any pet is tragic, and life is full of risk. But let’s not lose our collective heads. Common sense towards safety of our beloved pooches is always the best policy.


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