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Are Dog Kisses Safe?
Bring ten dog owners together and you’ll find a few who love dog kisses, a few who detest them, and a few who are indifferent. If you ask their dogs for their opinion, you’ll likely have a unanimous vote in favor of dog kisses.
There’s even a common belief surrounding dog hygiene which states that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than the mouth of a human.
Regardless of how you or your dog feels about the matter, it’s important to know what’s going on when a dog gives you a lick. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as sharing a bit of love between an owner and its companion. Research tells us there’s quite a bit more ‘sharing’ going on which may have an effect on our health or that of our furry companions.
What Are The Facts About Dog Licking?
Studies have found that both dogs and humans contain bacteria which is linked to a form of gum disease called periodontis. This disease harms tooth tissue and can result in other complications in the kidney, heart, or pancreas.
Those same studies revealed three different types of bacteria which were more frequently detected in dogs than humans, and the rate of detection in humans went up when they had close contact with their dog. Unfortunately, all types of bacteria detected are known to cause periodontis.
Considering the risk to both you and your dog, the safest option would be to reduce the amount of oral love going on between you two. Scratches behind the ears, petting, patting, and more scratches tends to let your dog know that you’re happy with them. Meanwhile, they’ll still try to lick you, but their potentially disease-causing saliva will stay clear from your own.
And If That’s Not Enough Details…
To make the matter a bit more risky (and gross), think back to how willing your dog is to pick something up at the park or in the street. Whether it’s road kill, its own feces, another animal’s feces, rotting food, or some scrap of trash, most dogs love getting their mouth on just about anything.
It’s best to keep these habits to a minimum to protect your dog from diseases, viruses, and other germ-related risks. They may not always affect your dog and make them sick, but a quick lick on your face could transfer enough bacteria and other germs onto you to cause serious problems.
At the very least, most people don’t want to touch animal waste, whereas dogs have no problem licking at themselves or nibbling on something found outside right before running over and showering you with love (and germs).
In the end, it’s your dog and your choice, but it’s probably best to keep its mouth away from yours and your kids.