22 Dubious Pieces of Advice for Pet Owners in the Middle Ages

Don't try this at home (or anywhere else).
Don't try this at home (or anywhere else). / Culture Club & Gil-Design/Getty Images

Like other dos and don’ts from the Middle Ages, medieval pet advice hasn’t exactly withstood the test of time. A diet of dirty, soggy bread, for example, isn’t a good way to keep your dog puppy-sized forever. And applying a mixture of salt, honey, and onion to a monkey bite sounds more like an invitation for a second monkey bite than a cure for the first one.

On this episode of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy is delving into dozens of strange recommendations from purported pet experts of the era. While most of the tips are dubious at best, there are at least a few that you might want to co-opt for yourself—like calling your dog brother or friend, nicknames that some hunters used for their hunting dogs. Or staying out of your cat’s way if it’s stalking prey; according to one medieval Irish advisory document about cats, anyone who got injured by a cat on the prowl really “had no business being there” and couldn’t fault the feline.

Hear other entertaining tidbits below, and subscribe to the Mental Floss YouTube channel for more fascinating videos.