Dog Saliva: Facts and Myths

Dog Saliva: Facts and Myths

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The many myths linked to dog saliva contradict one another. There is a persistent belief that human wounds heal faster when dogs lick them. Your vet, on the other hand, warns you not to let your dog lick faces of your family members. Vets list the number of harmful bacteria and parasites that could possibly be present in the dog saliva. New scientific evidence has proved that both views can turn out to be correct. Bacteria present in dogs' intestines can benefit asthmatic children.According to scientists, saliva in dogs has three components which have the capability to heal:? Histatins: They are simple proteins found in saliva. These repel infectious activity and assist the skin cells to close over wounds? Lysozyme: This is an enzyme known for killing harmful bacteria. It stops bacteria overgrowth in mouth.? Nerve growth factor: It is a protein found to minimize the healing time of a wound. It took 50 percent less time to heal.The

lick of any dog

has a number of benefits. The saliva present in a dog's tongue functions to loosen any kind of debris which could be present on the wound surface. The saliva moisture will attach debris and dirt and thus the wound will be cleaned.

Dogs' saliva as a health hazard

Dogs' mouths can contain parasites and bacteria which could be harmful to humans. They can be transmittable as well. If they pass onto any human, medical complications may occur.ParasitesYour dog can be a host for a number of single celled parasites and parasitic worms. Infection in humans from such parasites may result in skin problems, brain disorders, intestinal disease and even blindness. These may happen in humans even if these parasites are benign in pets. The main route of such infection is oral and through the faeces. If your dog has licked its anus before licking you, then there is a bigger chance of being infected.


The bacteria Pastuerella is commonly found in dogs' mouth. It may cause lymph node and skin infections. Another harmful bacteria is Bartonella henselae, commonly found in cats. Humans can be afflicted by such bacteria transmitted when he dog licks a person. A majority of bacterial infections, however, are due to scratches and bites. Infection due to licks is common. Incidences of severe human intestinal diseases are due to the presence of Salmonella, Campylobacter and E.coli. These are passed on to humans by hands touching the faeces of the pet or the residue. Since your dog licks its anus, the bacteria could be present at the mouth as well. Face licking by your dog can then transmit the disease to you. Young children and the aged are especially vulnerable to such diseases.

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