Remember me telling you about Joanne, the obviously wealthy woman who visited our dog park dripping in jewelry and carrying a little bat-eared dog in her purse? I mentioned her in 7 Great Homemade Dog Food Recipes. Well, she was back the other day. Still didn’t bother to take the dog out of the purse and let it run around, but to each their own, I guess.
Anyway, something Joanne said reminded me of a proverb that I learned in school. It’s been sometimes attributed to Confucius, but the true source is not known. It goes like this:
He who knows he who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool, shun him.
He who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is a child, teach him.
He who knows, and knows not that he knows, is asleep, wake him.
He who knows, and knows that he knows, is wise, follow him.
So, what did Joanne say that made me remember this proverb? She mentioned that she thought her purse dog was in heat, and I thought of the second line of the proverb. Why, you ask? Because the purse dog’s name is Pierre, and yes, Pierre is a male.
I gently explained that Pierre could not possibly be in heat, as only bitches come into heat. “Oh, no,” Joanne assured me, “He’s in heat. He’s been humping the dog next door. Pierre comes into heat every couple of months or so.”
At that point, as you can likely imagine, I thought of the first line of the proverb. I tried to explain again, using different terminology, but to no avail. Joanne simply wasn’t getting it, and finally I just had to give up.
Debbie and I had a good laugh after Joanne and Pierre left. And if I’m totally honest, I’d have to admit that we were pretty mean-spirited about it. “Obviously she has more money than brains,” I suggested, and Debbie responded with “Too bad she can’t buy a brain.” And I said, “And a purse to carry it in!” Then we dissolved into nasty laughter.
Are There Limits?
So, that got me thinking – are there really any limits to human cluelessness? The end result of that line of thinking is the following compilation of crazy, stupid things that people have said in regard to dogs. Some I have found online, others come from friends who have told me “I know someone who…” some I’ve heard first-hand, and still others I got from Dr. Stephen and the veterinary technicians who work with him (they’ve pretty much heard it all!).
Some of the following examples will leave you smiling. Others will probably have you shaking your head in disgust. Whatever your reaction, though, I’m sure it also will contain a healthy measure of amazement at how clueless people can be. So, moving right along (and with thanks to Joanne for the original concept), here are 23 more crazy or just plain stupid things (and sometimes scary) things some people think about dogs.
1. My dog doesn’t need flea treatment because our yard is fenced in
Oh, okay. That makes a lot of sense, right? Because fleas go from house to house, looking for suitable dogs, and when they come to a fenced yard, I guess their leader goes, “Wait! Dan, Billy, Antoine, Joyce, Sylvester, Gina, pull back and re-group! This yard’s off limits! Retreat! Retreat!” and then the rest of them salute the leader and go “Sir, yes sir!” and they all turn around and march off in search of a yard that has no fence.
2. Garlic will repel fleas
It’s surprising how many people believe this. In fact, a bit of Googling will bring up any number of articles that suggest that garlic repels fleas, and ticks as well. The truth is, small amounts of garlic can deliver some health benefits to your dog, but too much can be dangerous. I’ve never given my dogs garlic because I prefer to err on the side of caution, and also because my vet tells me that the benefits are largely over-stated. He also maintains that garlic does absolutely no good when it comes to protecting your dog from fleas, ticks, or other parasites.
3. You can give your dog PeptoBismol to get rid of fleas
Um, NO. PeptoBismol has no effect on fleas whatsoever. It can be used for an upset stomach, but even then should only be administered under veterinary supervision. Too much can actually lead to stomach ulcers in your dog, because it contains aspirin derivatives.
As a footnote, you should never, under any circumstances, give PeptoBismol to your cat, because the aspirin derivatives are toxic to cats.
4. PeptoBismol cures parvo
Apparently some people think Pepto is a wonder drug! Maybe I should see if it will cure my oily complexion, the bursitis in my hip, and my tendency toward flatulence after eating certain foods. Here’s the thing – Pepto is absolutely not going to cure, or prevent, canine parvovirus. I can’t even begin to tell you how potentially deadly parvo can be. If your dog should happen to contract parvo, the only thing that is going to help is immediate (and very expensive) veterinary treatment – and even that might not work. I talked about this in Dog Vaccination Q & A. Parvo is almost always fatal in puppies, and frequently in adult dogs, so it’s very important that your dog receive parvo shots regularly.
5. A teaspoon of kerosene fed to your dog is an effective wormer
What??? Say that again??? This is just insane. Petroleum products are toxic to dogs, so don’t give your dog any amount of kerosene, for any reason, ever!
Another supposed use for kerosene is to kill ear mites. Apparently you rub it inside the dog’s ear. There’s probably some truth to this – I expect that if an ear mite did come into contact with kerosene, it most likely would die. However, rubbing petroleum products in your dog’s ears is probably only a slightly less horrible idea than actually feeding him kerosene.
6. If you put bleach in your dog’s water dish, the water and the bowl will both stay clean
Yes, it probably will keep the bowl clean. And it will also probably cause your dog to drool, experience abdominal pain, and vomit. The fumes can also cause coughing due to irritation in the lungs.
I don’t know what’s wrong with people – like, is it such a hardship to make sure there’s always fresh water in the dish, and to wash it out by hand or run it through the dishwasher every so often?
7. My dog doesn’t have worms – if he did, I’d smell them on his breath
Really? What exactly do worms smell like? And how would the scent end up in your dog’s mouth?
8. Dirty motor oil is an effective treatment for mange
Well, first of all, I don’t know why the motor oil would have to be dirty in order to be effective, supposing it actually did work to cure mange, which I’m pretty sure it doesn’t. But again, obviously, this falls under the category of never using petroleum products on your dog.
9. My dog isn’t in danger from heart worm, because he’s never outside
Really? Never outside? Doesn’t he go outside to go potty? Doesn’t he ever get any exercise? Is his whole world really the inside of a house or apartment? Usually people follow this up with “Well, he’s hardly ever outside. Most of the time. Sort of.”
10. My dog doesn’t need a distemper shot – he’s never around other dogs
Again, never? How can you be sure? And besides, a dog doesn’t need to be in contact with other dogs to get distemper – the virus is airborne.
11. You can euthanize a small dog at home by mixing baking soda and vinegar in a garbage bag, and then putting the dog in the bag and twisting it shut
Okay, look, I’m not even going to try to do any research to find out if this is actually effective. All anyone needs to know is that it’s crazy, stupid, and horribly cruel. I can’t even begin to imagine what sort of twisted person would try this. It sounds a lot to me like euthanasia “on the cheap,” and anyone who can’t afford to give their dog a humane death when it’s time comes shouldn’t have a dog in the first place.
Can you even imagine the terror a dog would feel being subjected to this sort of treatment by someone who is supposed to love him? A bullet to the brain would be better! And what if I have a large dog that I want to euthanize – would I need a heavy duty garbage bag?
Honestly, this just defies belief on any level.
12. You can tell how many puppies a dog is going to have by checking to see how many nipples are swollen
No, no, no.
A bitch can have 8-12 nipples, but litters of more than 12 puppies are possible. The teats will swell with lactation, but it has nothing to do with the number of puppies about to be born.
13. Male dogs don’t have nipples
Oh fercryinoutloud, of course they do. Just get one to roll over for a tummy rub and look!
14. My neighbor’s dog has blue eyes, so he must be blind
This is actually a pretty common misconception. Of course there are a few breeds that have naturally blue eyes. You have to wonder, though, when you hear people say things like this, if they’ve actually seen their neighbor’s dog bouncing off walls, stumbling into objects, or displaying any other signs of blindness. Does the neighbor’s dog have a guide dog? Does he walk with a white cane? Geeze Louise, people can be so clueless!
15. If your dog is constipated, you can hold a lighted match up to his butt and he’ll pass his stool
All this is going to do is maybe give you a better view of your dog’s butt if it’s dark out. Or maybe get you a nasty bite if you hold the match too close to the dog’s butt. If he farts when you’re holding up the match – well, that’s the stuff of countless high school jokes.
16. If your dog is afraid of thunder, you can give him a shot of whiskey to calm him down
It truly frightens me when I hear people say things like this. Yes, a shot of whiskey will probably calm him down, but it also might send him straight into kidney failure. As I pointed out in Your Dog is Not a Human, So Don’t Feed Him Like One, dogs should never be given alcohol under any circumstances – it can be deadly. For a dog that is fearful when it thunders, a thunder shirt and a calm, soothing voice would be better choices.
17. My puppy is itching and scratching like crazy – the breeder says it’s because he’s allergic to the soil in their kennel
Right. He’s allergic. More likely, the puppy was bred in unsanitary conditions and has picked up some sort of parasite. Of course no one wants to believe that they’ve been so clueless as buy a puppy from someone whose facility isn’t up to proper standards of cleanliness, so they eat up whatever lame story the breeder has to offer.
18. The breeder says he’s part Chorkie!
Gotta love this one, not. I actually heard this recently from a co-worker who has spent probably the equivalent of a year’s rent on an unfortunate little creature that should not have been born in the first place, and that, having been born, should have been speedily euthanized. The poor little thing lost the use of its legs at the age of about six months, regained mobility at ten months, and since then has been diagnosed with a serious spinal curvature and multiple other health problems. All because of an unscrupulous so-called breeder who was canny enough to cash in on the growing market for so-called “teacup” dogs.
I talked about this problem in some detail in Why You Should Walk Away From Teacup Dogs, and I stand by everything I said in that post. My co-worker doesn’t understand that “Chorkie” isn’t a breed; it’s a cross between a Chihuahua and a Yorkshire Terrier. And if her dog is “part Chorkie,” God only knows what else is in there. Her dog is, quite simply, a mixed breed, a freak, horribly unhealthy, and if it doesn’t die soon (which, given the nature of its problems, it very likely will), it will drive her into financial ruin paying for veterinary services that are, in the long run, probably not going to improve its quality of life all that much.
19. I’m going to put it in my will that when I die, my dog is to be put to sleep, because he won’t be able to live without me
I’ve heard a lot of people say this, and I’m really glad that most of them don’t follow through. I think that usually this mindset is more about what the owner wants to believe than what’s actually true. I have a friend whose mother was going to make such a stipulation, but who never got around to making a will. When my friend’s mother died, my friend took the dog home with her, and the dog adjusted perfectly well.
To my way of thinking, depriving a dog of the potential for a long and happy life because you’re so full of yourself that you figure you’re the be-all and the end-all is just wrong. Sure, dogs grieve, but in the fullness of time, they usually adjust. Greyfriars Bobby is the exception, not the rule.
20. Angus is a male dog, but he identifies as a female puppy
As humor columnist Dave Barry used to say, “I am not making this up!” Seriously, I heard this said by another co-worker, the owner of a very handsome, very masculine-looking Great Dane, who was habitually outfitted in a pink collar and leash and who smelled much of the time of expensive perfume. And lest you wonder about how my co-worker identified, he had a wife and four kids. He was very obviously a heterosexual male with nothing in the closet. He was simply very accepting of all orientations, including that of his dog. I never did ask him how he knew that Angus identified as a female puppy. None of my business, right? And again, I swear to you, I am not making this up!
21. I chop up some clean straw in the food processer and mix it in with my dog’s food so his bowels will stay regular
Just please, don’t do this.
22. When my dog is restless at night, I play him a Lionel Ritchie CD
Okay, fine. Whatever works for you and your dog!
23. I don’t much like kids, so I’ve decided to fill my life with dogs
Well, that’s pretty crazy. Can’t imagine who would say something like that!
Oh… wait a minute… that was me! Well, hey, it works. To each their own, right?
So, there you have it. A collection of the 23(plus the bonus from Joanne) crazy, stupid, and sometimes scary things people say about dogs. A lot of them are pretty off the wall. Some are beyond hilarious. Others offer suggestions that can be dangerous, but theyhave been passed around so long that people take them as fact, and that can very much work to the detriment of dogs.
You’ve no doubt heard the expression “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” A corollary to this could be “If something sounds too crazy to be reasonable, it probably is.”
There’s a lot of information available online about dogs, their behavior, and their care. Not all of it is true, not all of it is helpful, and some of it can be downright dangerous. So if you’re going to use the Internet as a source of information about dogs, make sure to check out several sources. Never assume that the information you’re getting is accurate. And always check with your vet before you pursue any course of action that hasn’t been proven to be safe and effective.
In the final analysis, what you want from your dog is a lifetime filled with love, joy, good health, and happiness. And you’ll get that if you proceed with a healthy dose of skepticism when it comes to information that you get from websites and well-meaning friends.
Oh, and if you have a male dog identifies as a girl puppy? There’s nothing wrong with that.