Old Wives’ Tails: Weird Pet Health Myths in Wales Revealed

• Carrots incorrectly thought of as dangerous for dogs by 65% of people from Wales
• Despite being untrue, 53% of Welsh believe that dogs with dry noses are unwell
• 5% of people from Wales believe you should bathe with your pets
• Average time people believe dogs can be left alone in Wales is 5hrs, 12mins

From bathing with our cats to a bizarre concern over feeding carrots to dogs, Welsh residents have some weird and wonderful beliefs when it comes to looking after our pets, according to new research by pet wellness experts, Itch.

The new research into common myths related to pet health showed that 5% of those from Wales believe pet parents should jump in the tub and bathe with their pets, with a further 2% claiming that they’ve put their pet’s welfare before their own and slept on the sofa to allow their pet to spread out on the bed.

Pet food and diet is another area where myths have replaced reality. Carrots are seen as a dangerous dog food by 65% of Welsh people, when, the truth is, they are a low-calorie alternative to dental sticks. They are far better than feeding bones to dogs, which 29% believe are safe even though they can cause intestinal obstructions.

During lockdown, many of us may have packed on the pounds, but what about our pampered pets? Shockingly, 32% of people from Wales have been told that their pet is overweight by a vet, which is more than the national average (25%).

One of the most common unfounded pet myths is that a dry nose is an indicator that a dog is poorly. Despite being untrue, of half (53%) of Welsh people said they believed this to be a sign of illness. Luckily, Welsh people are still more likely to be concerned by genuine indicators that a pet could be unwell, such as increased sleeping (57%) or going to the toilet more often (60%).

Even though most of us are currently at home for the long haul, in usual times leaving a pet home alone is something many wouldn’t think twice about. In fact, the average time people from residents of Wales believe it’s acceptable to leave a dog alone is 5hrs, 21mins. Londoners leave their dogs alone for the longest, believing three hours over the national average (8hrs, 47 mins) to be fine.

One of the most important factors in ensuring your pet is healthy include regular visits to the vet. There should be at least one vet trip a year for annual vaccinations and a health check, over half (52%) of people from Wales don’t believe pets should be taken to the vet this much. Similarly, 21% don’t believe a pet owner should regularly check for fleas, with this number substantially higher in London (41%).

Zoe Costigan, in-house Vet at Itch, commented: “From my time as a vet, I’ve seen some very strange things, but the one thing that is clear is that we really are a nation of animal lovers. There’s no harm in the 5% of Welsh people who fancy having a soak in the tub with their pup, but there are some myths and habits that can cause our furry friends harm that many people don’t realise, such as feeding bones that can splinter and cause intestinal obstructions or choking.

“There are some responsibilities that a pet parent needs to take on, which include ensuring lifestyle and diet are suitable, checking for fleas regularly and making annual trips to the vets for a health check-up. You really don’t need to come and see me if your dog has a dry nose, though – that one is definitely a myth!”

To delve deeper into the bizarre world of pet myths, visit the Itch website for the full lowdown.

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