With spooky season upon us, our four-legged friends can often be the topic of some of the most common superstitions.

Think black cats and bad luck. But is there anything in them?

PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing says: “There are plenty of pet-related superstitions out there, however most don’t have any sound reasoning behind them.

1. Black cats are bad luck

“Black cats get a bad rap and are often associated with superstitions of bad luck and being owned by witches. Sadly, because of this they are often the last to be rehomed in rescue centres.

"But these myths date back to the Middle Ages when single women who took in stray cats were accused of witchcraft. Being stray, these cats were often black cats.

"And this superstition has stuck ever since. Black cats often have a negative reputation based on this misconception, when they’re no different to any other puss – although some might argue they’re better.

"In some places, they are actually good luck; in Scotland, a black cat turning up at your door is a sign of prosperity.

2. One dog year is equal to seven human years

“Contrary to popular belief, our pooches’ ageing process doesn’t actually line up with ours at all.

"The figure of 7 dog years roughly equaling one human year likely comes from the average dog lifespan compared to humans, but dogs don’t age at the same rate as us.

"For example, dogs become fully-grown adults at at 1-2 years old, which doesn’t fit with a 7–14-year-old human.

"Also, different breeds tend to have different lifespans, with larger breeds having a much shorter life expectancy compared to some smaller breeds of dog.

3. If a dog eats grass it means it’s about to rain

“It’s pretty common for pooches to eat grass, which has somehow led to some people believing it’s a sign that it’s going to rain.

"In all honesty, if this does happen then it’s more than likely just a coincidence.

"Many owners believe that their dogs eat grass because they have an upset tummy, we don’t have any evidence to support whether this is true or not, but if it seems to help then why not.

"In reality, they’re probably munching on it because they like the taste.

4. Cats can see ghosts

“As a cat owner, you’ve probably seen your feline friend suddenly stare or prick up their ears at something that doesn’t seem to be there.

"This has led some to suspect that cats have a sixth sense and can see ghosts.

"Cats have very heightened senses compared to humans, which means they can often hear, see and smell things that we can’t.

"Cats are naturally cautious while being inquisitive so will sit very still until they work out what the sound or smell is: it could even be just be a change of light or shadow that catches their attention or then again maybe it was a spook after all?

5. Dogs can sense if someone is good or bad

"If it seems like your four-legged friend has taken a disliking to someone, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re a bad person.

"Contrary to popular belief, our pooches can’t tell if people are good or bad, but they can read body language, behaviour and facial expressions.

"This means that your canine companion may be able to pick up on someone who is just not that keen on them.

"Because of this your dog may think they could be a threat and so act defensively or aggressively."

PDSA is the UK’s largest vet charity.

We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment.

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