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A cat always lands on its feet… A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s…

We’ve all heard these tales about dogs and cats ‒ but just because people have always said these things doesn’t make them true.

In reality, following these myths and urban legends can make all the difference for the health and well-being of our pets. As a pet owner, you want the best for your canine companion or feline friend ‒ so you should educate yourself and learn the truth behind these stories.

Northside Animal Hospital is here to debunk four of the most common pet myths, once and for all. If you’re located in the Valdosta, GA, region and would like to schedule a veterinarian appointment for your pet, contact us today!

A Dry Nose Means Your Dog Is Sick

Did you know that a dog’s nose needs to be wet to function properly? Thanks to a mixture of saliva and mucus, a wet nose regulates a dog’s body temperature and also helps them smell better and identify odors.

With that said, it’s commonly believed that if a dog’s nose is dry, something is wrong ‒ but this is not always the case. It’s true that a dry nose can be a sign of dehydration; but in most cases, a dog’s nose dries out from being in a warm environment, allergies, or old age. A dog’s nose naturally dries out while they sleep, as well.

A frequently dry nose, or one that cracks and bleeds, may be cause for concern. If your dog suddenly seems unwell, a dry nose is not always the first sign to indicate that something is wrong. Instead, pay attention to these signs:

  • Low energy & lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive drinking or drooling
  • Foul breath
  • Heavy panting
  • Difficulty moving or climbing up/down stairs

Reach out to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian if your dog is currently experiencing any of these symptoms or if their nose is frequently dry, cracked, or bleeding.

Cats Purr Because They’re Happy

Curled up, eyes half closed, and purring are all signs that your cat is happy, right?

For the most part, yes ‒ cats purr when they’re happy, comfortable, and relaxed. But they also purr as a means of communicating their needs.

Cats tend to purr when they’re hungry. How can you tell the difference? A hungry cat will let out a normal purr or mew with troublesome undertones. This type of purring is most common in the mornings. If your cat is rounding your feet and looking up at you while they’re purring, this is another sign that they’re hungry.

Cats also purr as a means of relieving themselves when they’re scared or physically hurt. Some studies even suggest that the low frequency of vibrations caused by purring can stimulate muscles and bones. This means purring may have the potential to repair muscle, heal injuries, support bones, and reduce pain and inflammation, and even combat stress.

Typically speaking, purring is a sign that your cat is content, but you shouldn’t overlook it, either.

A Dog’s Mouth Is Cleaner Than a Human’s

Our dogs love to show us their affection by plopping slobbery kisses on your faces… but the next time your dog runs up to lick you, you may want to reconsider allowing them to! Because contrary to the old adage, a dog’s mouth is not necessarily cleaner than a human’s.

Like humans, dogs’ mouths are full of bacterial microbes, most of which aren’t harmful to us. So generally speaking, the possibility of catching a disease after a dog licks your face is minuscule.

Still, dogs sniff and lick any variety of things around the house and in nature, meaning their mouths could sometimes harbor bacteria humans aren’t typically exposed to. Additionally, dogs who are prone to eating fecal matter can potentially pass on parasites or zoonotic bacteria ‒ so err with a side of caution before you let your dog lick you or jump into bed with you.

Even though you may not brush your dog’s teeth as frequently as your own, it’s important to bring them to the veterinarian for a regular oral checkup. Professional teeth cleanings for dogs can remove gum disease, minimize bad breath, and prevent widespread bacterial infection. If it’s time to schedule an oral checkup for your dog, contact us today.

Cats Always Land On Their Feet

It’s true that cats are graceful on their feet, and while they have a superior balancing system known as a “righting reflex”, cats aren’t always capable of landing on their feet.

The “righting reflex” does allow a cat to orient themselves, making them more likely to land on their feet when they’re falling ‒ all thanks to the vestibular apparatus inside their ear that helps them balance and maneuver their head and body accordingly. Their naturally angled legs also help with this.

That doesn’t mean the “righting reflex” is flawless. The height at which a cat falls has a lot to do with whether they land on their feet or not. The higher the fall, the more time the cat has to brace their bodies and feet.

So, while cats do land on their feet more often than not, cat owners should still be careful. Cats aren’t invincible to injuries. If your cat is an avid climber, or if you live in a tall building or next to tall trees, it’s a good idea to keep your windows closed and install any other safeguards to protect your cat from escaping and falling.

Don’t Believe the Pet Myths ‒ Always Call a Veterinarian!

When it comes to the health and safety of your pet, take pet myths, legends, and friendly, non-expert advice with a grain of salt. If you ever have questions or concerns about your dog or cat’s behavior, demeanor, physical, or emotional well-being, always turn to a veterinarian.

Are you located in the Valdosta, GA, area? Contact Northside Animal Hospital today to schedule an appointment for your pet.