When it comes to animals, there is no shortage of misinformation, myths and old wives’ tales. It hasn’t been until fairly recently that real research is being done into animal behavior. Now that we’ve got the facts, it’s time to bust a few of those myths.

MYTH: Old pets often wander off to die alone.

When animals are sick or in pain, they may seek a safe place to hide in order to feel less vulnerable. Older animals can also develop dementia, which may cause them to become disoriented and unable to find their way home. If your pet is missing, be sure to look for him.

MYTH: A dog will be fine left in a car as long as the windows are cracked.

Even if it’s just for few minutes, it is never a good idea to leave your dog in the car on a warm day, even with the windows partially open. The interior of a car heats up very quickly and that heat can be lethal. Even on a cooler day, the car is warmer than you might think. In fact, more cities and states are enacting laws that allow passers-by or police to break into a car if a pet is locked inside. Your pet will be safer and happier left at home.

MYTH: Declawing a cat doesn’t really hurt them.

A cat’s claws are not like human nails. They are attached to the bone. Declawing a cat actually involves amputating the last joint of the cat’s toe. It’s a serious surgery, causing a lot of pain for most cats.

For some cats, it can also result in behavior changes, such as no longer using a litter box or becoming more aggressive out of fear. There are a lot of alternatives to declawing that you can explore.

(If you really want a declawed cat, consider adopting one that’s already declawed — like Bea, pictured here.)

MYTH: Lost dogs know how to find their way home.

While there are a few tales of dogs traveling thousands of miles over brutal terrain to find their way home, don’t expect your dog to do that. If your dog does go missing, take action right away. Check out our website for information on what to do — bchumane.org/lostfound-pets — and have your dog microchipped and make sure it wears a collar with identification tags.

Pet of the Week

photoBud hasn’t had it easy. He was found living under someone’s porch, wounded by other dogs. Although that’s made him uncomfortable around some dogs, he really likes people. Bud is a gentle boy, with a calm and quiet demeanor. He can be playful and fun, but his favorite thing to do is to hang out near people. Bud would do well with an adopter who’s looking for a true companion to share their life.