Dog Days of Summer and Other Pet Sayings

Jun 8, 2018 by

English Bulldog on a Dock
 
Ever wonder where those funny little sayings come from?

“It’s the dog days of summer!” “Cat got your tongue?”

And others?

They seem too often be about cats and dogs, right?

Well, those are largely called idioms, and like just about every other language in the world, English has a ton of them.

Idioms are phrases that have a usage or meaning that you wouldn’t be able to deduce from the literal meaning of each phrase, making them kind of like inside jokes between you and the rest of English speakers!

Here are some of our favorites at Sunset Veterinary Clinic:
 

Common Sayings and Idioms with Cats & Dogs in Them (And What They Mean!)

 
“The dog days of summer.”
Expression For: The hottest days of summer.

Etymology: This phrase comes from the Romans, who called the days that were the hottest in the summer “caniculares dies,” literally “days of the dogs.”

“Cat got your tongue.”
Expression For: Unusually quiet.

Etymology: This phrase is usually directed to children who were expected to speak but couldn’t or didn’t and there’s no known reason why it became such a common saying!

“That dog won’t hunt.”
Expression For: Something that is useless or pointless.

Etymology: The late governor of Texas, Ann Richards and is most common in Texas. It speaks of hunting dogs who won’t go into the marshes or wetlands to fetch a bird you just shot. Certainly, some dogs are made for hunting. Others are not.

“A cat has nine lives.”
Expression For: Cats are lucky and often survive dangerous incidents.

Etymology: This phrase comes from the fact that cats always seem to land on their feet — even from great falls sometimes. Shakespeare used it, and it’s also said to be in an ancient proverb.

“My dogs are barking.”
Expression For: My feet hurt.

Etymology: This phrase (sadly) comes from the fact that shoes for humans used to be made out of dogs.

“A cat nap.”
Expression For: A short nap.

Etymology: This phrase is almost easy to figure out. It comes from the fact that cats always seem to be sleeping, and sometimes not for very long — 5 or ten minutes here or there.

“Three dog night.”
Expression For: It’s really cold.

Etymology: This phrase is said to come from the Australian outback where days can be hot, but nights can be cold! When it’s a “three dog night,” you need three dogs in bed to keep you warm!

“Curiosity killed the cat.”
Expression For: Beware the dangers of unnecessary investigation or experimentation.

Etymology: Despite cats having nine backup lives, they also seem to get into mischief quite often. This phrase notes that if you’re too sneaky and snoop a lot, there could be consequences.
 
 

When’s the Last Time Your Pet Had a Checkup?

 
Our pets are the joys of our lives, and they deserve to be healthy and happy just like us. Dogs and cats especially should have a vet checkup at least once every year (twice a year is even better!).

If your pet hasn’t been to the vet recently, give Sunset Veterinary Clinic a call to book your appointment!

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