When it comes to doggy licks to the face, you either love it or hate it. For those of us that love it, we let dogs lick our face because it’s a bonding experience. We want to share the joy we’re feeling with our favorite furball. Playful licks are also a perfect way for your pooch to show you how much he loves you right back!
Adorable as it may be, there is a good reason you should never let a dog lick your face. No, there’s nothing sinister in your dog’s intentions.
There is, however, some very serious health hazards involved when you pucker up for your pup!
There’s a reason why dogs have a licking behavior mechanism, and it has a lot to do with canine social norms. In dog society, licking can mean:
– It’s a way for dogs to communicate with each other, when they don’t feel like barking or yapping.
– Dog love scents, and the scent or taste of their owner is their favorite thing in the whole wide world. A dog licking their owner is like a kid licking an ice cream cone. Yum!
– Some dogs, just like humans, are attention seekers. And licking to get attention definitely works!
There are a variety of other reasons why dogs lick, but mostly they just want to be affectionate.
There’s a myth out there that canine mouths are cleaner than a human mouth. This untruth may have originated from the fact that wounds seem to heal after a dog licks them. However, this is only because the licking stimulates circulation and helps to get rid of dead tissue. In turn, it seems to make the wound heal a lot faster than it normally would have.
Yet, you only need to have experienced doggy breath just one time to intuitively know there’s a lot of bad juju living in that canine mouth.
Dogs tend to lick strange things and dig through garbage cans with their tongues. They also eat dirt and other nasty stuff, too. But, that doesn’t even cover all the odds and ends they sink their chompers into when you’re not looking! Ewww.
If you didn’t have a problem with doggy kisses before, you’ll probably have an issue with it after you find out what’s hiding inside your dog’s saliva.
According to veterinarian Marty Becker, doggy mouths are definitely not clean! In fact, canine mouths can carry and transmit microbes that cause diseases. These can include:
We all know what this bacteria is, and it can be found right inside your dog’s mouth. This pathogen can cause abdominal cramps, fever, vomiting, and fatigue. If you don’t want to end up feeling that way, then say no to doggy kisses!
Ringworm is a nasty infection. Although it sounds like something long and squirmy, ringworm is actually caused by a fungus. It can lead to itchy rashes that form in a concentric ring, hence the name. More familiar names for ringworm include jock itch and athlete’s foot. It won’t kill you, but it’s definitely unpleasant to deal with.
This is also known as staph, and can occasionally be passed from dog to human. Staph is responsible for causing everything from skin boils, to food poisoning, and even dangerous toxic shock syndrome.
If you thought you had to be bedridden in a hospital to catch MRSA, you can thank you doggy for putting an end to that urban legend.
Yep, it only takes a single kiss to transplant MRSA germs right onto your lips. Gross!
MRSA is an antibiotic resistant form of staph bacteria, making it a lot tougher to treat. It can cause mild skin infections, like sores and boils. It’s not a pretty sight, to say the least. Although it’s generally not life-threatening, if it gets to the blood and causes sepsis, then you have a 25% chance of dying.
The skin of most healthy people won’t be affected by dog saliva. However, pathogens on dog saliva can penetrate thinner mucous membranes, like your lips.
The bottom line is this – don’t let your dog’s tongue come into contact with the thin membranes that are found on your mouth, nose and eyes. Keep them away from any cuts you may have. Also, when a surprise lick seems to escape from a happy pup, wash the area immediately with soap and water. This way, you won’t inadvertently transfer any germs afterwards when you touch your own mouth, nose, or eyes.
If you have a compromised immune system or open wounds, you definitely need to train your pooch not to lick.
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