Old wives’ tales

It’s curious to see how even nowadays certain mistaken assertions and beliefs about companion animals are quite frequent. In general, these old wives’ tales are scientifically unverified claims.

Some of them are extravagant folk cures, such as claiming that canine distemper is cured by fitting the dog with an esparto grass collar fastened by seven knots or, even worse, by cutting the poor animal’s tongue web. This completely ineffective method was developed centuries ago, when it was believed that rabies was caused by a worm that dogs had under their tongue, and that the disease was cured by pulling it out. This belief has reached our more evolved society distorted by the passage of time and by oral transmission. It now cures distemper and not rabies, and the worm has disappeared, replaced by the mistaken belief that cutting the tongue web solves the problem.

Another one of these old wives’ tales concerns dogs with black palates, which are supposed to indicate that the dog is purebred. This is one of the funniest and silliest claims: a dog’s blood is supposed to be purer depending on the colour of its palate. A dog’s pedigree is certified if its parents are purebred. But if a mixed-race dog owner is convinced that his dog is purebred because its palate is as black as a frying pan, it is difficult to convince him of the contrary.

Another folk tale concerns dogs that supposedly are the product of crossing a dog with a wolf. This is a very frequent claim. However, how many Casanova wolfs would there have to be in Spain to prove these claims right? Some animals show external characteristics that remind us of wolves. It is possible that there are isolated cases of dogs having bred with wild dogs, but nowadays a cross between a dog and a wolf is almost impossible, despite your neighbour’s claims.

The best claim of all is when someone tells you that his dog is a cross between a dog and a wolf, and that it is also purebred. Can you imagine why? Evidently this dog has a very, very dark palate.

Did you know...

Snail meat contains low levels of fat and cholesterol and high levels of minerals and proteins, and provides most essential amino acids.

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