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Myth busters, Dog Edition: Things Your Veterinarian Wants You to Know

Myths follow us through life, from the idea that lightning won’t strike twice in the same place to the infamous penny thrown off the Empire State Building being lethal for an unsuspecting pedestrian below. Our dogs are no exception, being the subject of many myths themselves. As veterinarians, we want to correct as many misconceptions as possible so owners can steer clear of falsehoods and let their dogs live their best lives. Following are some of the most common we hear, and the truth behind them.

Myth #1 – Your Dog’s Nose is Trying to Tell You Something

It’s been said that a dog’s nose being cold, warm, dry, or wet is a tell-tale sign of something. However, veterinarians don’t know what that “something” is. A wet nose is considered normal, but a dry nose isn’t abnormal. The temperature and moistness of a dog’s nose is not an indicator of overall health, with some dogs just having naturally dryer or wetter noses than others. In some instances, dog owners may even find that it changes, with their dog tending to have a warm, dry nose after a nap or exercise and a wet nose while cuddling.

Myth #2 – Your Dog’s Mouth is Clean and Even Antiseptic


Everyone loves those sloppy kisses from their dog, but veterinarians will tell you the idea that it’s clean – and even antiseptic – is far from the truth since they carry more than 200 different types of bacteria in their mouth. While those kisses are certainly a sign of affection, that same tongue also serves the purpose of self-cleaning for your dog, including their private parts.

Myth #3 – Dogs Need to be Punished for Unacceptable Behavior


When our dog does something we don’t like, whether chewing our favorite sneakers or eliminating in the house, owners feel compelled to punish them. However, punishing a pet only leads to one thing – fear of their owner. It’s difficult for a dog to correlate your punishment to the action that made you upset, leading only to confusion and fear instead of the desired outcome of behavior correction. The more effective approach is redirection and positive reinforcement when they do good, and they’ll repeat only those good behaviors.