Is it safe to let a dog lick inside your mouth? Here’s What to Expect

Should you let your canine companion lick your face? Experts have mixed opinion. Is it safe to let your dog lick your face? Here’s what vets say(Pixabay)

Pet parents often feel that their canine children licking them is an ultimate sign of affection. While some do not mind licking and kissing by their pets at all, some may worry about catching some kind of infection from them. If you think you can read your dogs mind when they are licking you, heres a trivia – dogs can lick for a variety of reasons not just affection. (Also read: Dog biting cases on rise; dos and don’ts for pet owners by an expert)

They could be trying to communicate something by seeking your attention, attempting to please or simply asking for food. Yes, a lot of times, it could be due to plain affection. Coming back to whether you should let your canine companion lick your face, experts have mixed opinion on this. While some feel its okay to let them do so, others feel it could be harmful for both pets and their parents. Heres how.

So, is it actually unhealthy to let your dog lick your face?

Is it safe to let a dog lick inside your mouth?

We spoke to germ expert Kelly Reynolds, associate professor of environmental health at the University of Arizona, to find out if kissing your dog can actually put your health at risk.

‘NOT REALLY UNHYGIENIC’, SAYS AN EXPERT Is dog licking your face unhygienic?(Pixabay)

“While it may seem that it is unhygienic it is not so. Yes, it is a known fact that dogs lick themselves and also communicate amongst themselves through various practices. Their licks of affection are completely harmless to the human skin. If you are completely averse towards them licking you, they understand that and try their level best to appease your wish of not being licked but they too lose control and sometimes out of excitement will forget this and just might lick you. This does not mean they are not taking your likes and dislikes into consideration it just means that they love you too much and have no other way of expressing themselves as they have no ways to speak it out to you,” says Dr. Shantanu Kalambi, Chief Veterinarian, Supertails.

This Is Why You Should Never Let A Dog Lick Your Mouth

Be honest: Do you ever let your dog kiss you on the face? According to a recent article in The New York Times, if you do, you may be putting your health at risk.

Dogs’ mouths, like ours, are warm and moist, making them Petri dishes for bacteria. (Be honest again: How often do you brush your dog’s teeth?) Also, many dogs put dirt, feces, rodents, or small animals in their mouths, which could lead to the presence of parasites. Suffice it to say that the old wives tale claiming “your dogs mouth is cleaner than yours” is completely false. That’s why one expert, Dr. Leni K. Kaplan, of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, told the Times that pet owners shouldn’t let their dog kiss a person’s mouth, nose, and eyes, through which certain pathogens, including salmonella and E. coli, can be transmitted.

But if you’re healthy, he adds, a smooch on your skin is unlikely to cause a problem. (Read the full article here.)

Meanwhile, scientists at the University of Arizona are currently studying whether some of the bacteria dogs carry can actually improve human health.

“We think dogs might work as probiotics to enhance the health of the bacteria that live in our guts,” explains researcher Dr. Charles Raison. “These bacteria, or microbiota, are increasingly recognized as playing an essential role in our mental and physical health, especially as we age.”

The results won’t be available for a while, so in the meantime, experts recommend owners regularly test their pets for parasites and keep them from eating or sniffing feces. And if you cant resist those puppy kisses, its safest to keep them away from the face. Get Your Free AKC eBook

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