Is dog licking baby OK? Get Your Pet Thinking

Your adorable furbaby and newborn can be besties from afar, but when it comes to wet nose to chubby cheek contact there are quite a few reasons why you shouldnt let your dog lick your babys face. Its only natural for your pet to be curious about the newest member of the family. The fluffball has most likely tried on numerous occasions to get up close and personal with his small squealing bud. While the sight of the two of them snuggled up together on a fuzzy blanket is beyond Instagram worthy, its best to keep dog and baby apart — because your pooch may not be as clean as you think, or as submissive.

Safety is also a key concern when babies and dogs play together. “While many dogs lick a humans face as a submissive gesture of appeasement, others do it to get a reaction from their humans,” writes “This look-at-me behavior is a sign of dominance in Fido. Touching a human with their mouths is also a controlling behavior in some dogs.” Pediatrician Dr. Ashanti W. Woods, advises pet owners to train their dog to be submissive to their child. Without this precaution things can get a little out of hand. “The pet may become protective over the owners and attempt to defend them by attacking the child for yelling or merely playing with his parents,” Dr. Woods told Womens Day.

So next time your canine gives your little one those puppydog eyes, make sure he expresses his love from afar — at least for now.

While you and your S.O. may choose to shower your pup with kisses every time you return from work, a newborns immune system is not yet as effective as an adults. We have all heard the myth that “a dogs mouth is cleaner than a humans” but the hard truth is that neither of us are sanitary specimens to behold. Studies show that disease-causing oral bacteria is present in both human and dog mouths, however dogs are a lot less discerning as to where they put their tongues.

A simple lick can have some pretty serious consequences when it comes to passing multitudinous microbes from doggy to human. “Studies have confirmed this exposure, and it can lead to mouth and gum infections, or even systemic infections,” Dr. Leavey explained. Another health-related issue is the dogs diet. If it is one a raw diet or finds a piece of raw chicken scrap or bone on the street, the dog may be able to pass zoonotic bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, or even worms, in some rare cases, to its human compatriot. Keep that pups mouth away from the mucous membranes of the face, as the saliva is a lot more likely to be absorbed there. Yuck.

Linda J. Murray is the former senior vice president of consumer experience and global editor in chief of BabyCenter, the worlds number one parenting and pregnancy digital resource. Murray is a passionate advocate for maternal health issues. Shes an adviser and former board chair of the Preeclampsia Foundation, and has served on the advisory council for the Heart Health for Moms study led by Brigham and Womens Hospital.Advertisement

I discussed the question of whether parents should allow a dog to lick a baby’s face with Sandy Newmark, M.D., a pediatrician at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine in San Francisco. He told me that there’s not a lot of medical research on this subject, but that he would discourage any animal from licking an infant. (He concedes that older children seem to do okay when licked by dogs, even if it seems unsanitary.)

Dogs experience licking from birth when their mothers clean them up as newborns. Licking also stimulates their breathing. Some puppies lick around their mother’s mouths – in the wild, this is a survival mechanism: in response, the mothers regurgitate food into the puppies’ mouths. Veterinarians say that licking can be a submissive gesture, but that when domestic dogs lick humans, it usually is just what we like to think it is: a sign of affection. If you don’t like it, you’ve got to train your dog not to lick you or your children.

To keep your pets healthy, make sure that they have all the recommended shots and that you take them to the vet for regular checkups.

What are your feelings about a dog licking a baby on the face? What about a cat?

While looking into this question, I did find a report of a study published in 2009 in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal describing two cases of bacterial meningitis in newborns, one linked to contact with a cat, the other with a dog. In the first case, a cat had taken and played with the newborn’s pacifier, which was later returned to the baby. In the second, a dog licked the baby’s face. The researchers reported that of 38 babies who developed meningitis in their first month of life, 27 had been licked by a dog. In 2010, the Journal of Neurology published a study documenting a case of the same disease in a 44 year-old-woman who told her doctors that she regularly kissed her dog and also fed it food out of her mouth.

Dog licks baby

Babies and puppies —it doesnt get any cuter, right? The two often form a quick bond. But if your little one and Fido are getting too close, youre going to want to put a stop to those kisses ASAP. Sure, there are the germs to think about—but its also important to know that your dog might not be showing affection with that smooch.

Dr. Thomas Kass, a veterinarian in Wall Township, New Jersey agrees that sloppy kisses need to be nipped in the bud for two big reasons: Germs, and the dog trying to establish dominance over the baby. “A lot of people are feeding their dogs raw diets these days, things like raw chicken,” he says. “This puts the dog at risk for salmonella and if the dog makes contact with a humans mouth, that person is at risk for contracting the infection, too.” He also notes that while its rare, dogs can pass worms to humans, too.

“Their tongues are their toilet paper, as they lick their behinds to cleanse,” adds Marc I. Leavey, M.D., primary care specialist at Lutherville Personal Physicians, a Mercy Medical Center. Dr. Leavey says that the variety and quantity of pathological microbes that can be conveyed with a slurp is astounding, and many of those bacteria are resistant to multiple antibiotics. “Studies have confirmed this exposure, and it can lead to mouth and gum infections, or even systemic infections,” he says.

But, germs aside, its also extremely important, for safetys sake, to help your dog understand that he is not the babys master or pack playmate. “While many of us see our pets as surrogate family members, we do not want our pets to feel on equal status with our children,” Dr. Ashanti W. Woods, a Mercy Medical Center pediatrician, says. “In fact, the pet may become protective over the owners and attempt to defend them by attacking the child for yelling or merely playing with his parents.” Dr. Woods advises that you train the family pet to be submissive to children. “Because both dogs and children are unpredictable in their behaviors, it is not a good idea to establish a relationship with the family dog licking the childs face,” he says.

Dr. Leaveys final piece of advice: “When poochie wants to smooch, offer your hand—and then wash it thoroughly before doing anything else.”

Watch the video below for more on why you should never let your dog lick your face, or your babys. This content is imported from youTube. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.This is why you should stop letting your dog lick your face