Kissing is a way of showing affection between humans. Sometimes
dogs also show affection by kissing their beloved humans. Only
their form of kissing is licking. If you have a highly
affectionate dog, you might have wondered from time to time about
whether these so-called kisses are safe. Well, the fact is, they
Problems Regarding Dog
The reason behind the kisses being unsafe is that the mouth of
your dog contains a large number of organisms like bacteria,
parasites, yeasts, and viruses, which humans aren’t immune to.
Some of them can even transfer from your dog’s mouth to you,
causing illnesses like salmonella, campylobacter, and E.coli.Dogs
are curious creatures. Remember that they use their mouths to
explore the world around them. When they are on a scent, their
noses are to the ground. That’s why it’s also likely that the
bacteria is not just limited to his mouth, but also his muzzle
and face.The mucous membranes of your nose, eyes, and mouth can
absorb your dog’s saliva while he’s licking your face. It can
then easily enter into your body. Although your immune system
might be strong enough to fight a few of these organisms off,
there are exceptions. You are at a higher risk of illness if you
have a weakened immune system due to prior medical conditions, or
Concerns For Kids
Children have immature immune systems as they are still under
development. Make sure you keep your dogs or puppies from licking
your kid’s face. Their underdeveloped immune systems aren’t
strong enough to fight off the microbes that are transferred
through these kisses.Some puppies harbor intestinal parasites.
These parasites lay eggs in the puppy’s intestines. These eggs
are then eliminated through his stool. Your puppy might have
remnants of the stool on his paws and when he licks his paws,
it’s transferred to his mouth. When your puppy kisses your child
afterward, these parasites can just as easily infect her.
Intestinal parasites are very serious in children. Some parasites
like roundworms can even lead to blindness!
Set Some Ground Rules
If you’re not ready to depart with your dog’s kisses just yet,
set a few rules to be safer.
- Keep all your dog’s de-worming, vaccinations, and parasite
- Avoid the kisses altogether if your immune system is weak or
has been compromised.
- Wash your hands and face after being with your dog.
- Pay ample attention to your dog’s dental health by brushing
his teeth every day and taking him to regular professional dental
cleanings as per your veterinarian’s recommendation.
- Watch children closely and try to keep your dog from kissing
them all together if possible.
- Don’t get licked by a dog you don’t know. Even when that dog
is a pet of a friend.
Do Dogs Like When You Kiss Them?
Your dog kisses you and it seems natural that you kiss it back.
It is wrong to assume that your dog will automatically appreciate
your kiss. The reality is a majority of dogs find it
uncomfortable when humans kiss them. Many canines find kissing
intimidating. Others have simply found ways to accept this
Dogs and humans communicate
Your dog may not understand the reason behind your kiss. This is
as dogs communicate differently than humans. We rely on sign or
verbal language when expressing emotions and ideas. Dogs depend
primarily on the posture of the body of the other dog when
communicating with others. Like humans, the language of dogs has
evolved over a passage of time.
Among all dogs, Huskies continue to show the language closest to
their ancestor wolves. German Shepherds can barely communicate
with wolves. The most evolved language among the dog breeds is
found among the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. These differences
mean even dogs find it hard to communicate with each other. Since
it is not possible for us to comprehend dog language, a few
things get lost in translation, especially kissing and hugging.
The act of kissing is unique to humans. Other animals, especially
dogs, do not kiss. A dog does not understand what kisses are. A
few dogs, however, link the action of a kiss with affection.
Granted, your dogs kiss you regularly. This action comprises
licking your face. Dogs lick each others' faces to show
affection. To a human, dog licking equals kisses but to your dog,
the same action may mean something else really. To give an
example, a puppy may lick its mother's face to ask the latter to
regurgitate food. This is common among puppies before they grow
out of this habit.
For man dogs, licking equals submissive behavior. A weaker dog
may lick a stronger dog's muzzle to avoid any retribution. On the
other hand, the dog could only be curious about the food
consumption of the other dog.
There could be a number of reasons as to why your dog licks you.
Canines are observant. If you react positively to a lick, your
dog will possibly repeat the action. This in time may become
attention seeking behavior. Your dog licks you to get your
attention. Things may take another turn if the dog is stressed
out or injured. Licking means being submissive at that time. The
dog is pleading that you should not hurt it. As far as human
kissing goes, putting faces close together means assertion in dog
language. If it turns away, then it is barely tolerating your
kiss. To be safe, you should not kiss dogs on their heads. Most
dogs, at best, tolerate humans kissing them.
How Risky Is It To Kiss Your Dog?
Everyone wants to show a little love to their pooches from time
to time. The vets , on the other hand, ask you not to let your
dogs lick your face. Experts say that dogs saliva has wound
healing abilities. Dog parents are now left puzzled about whether
they should let your dog lick their faces or if they should kiss
their pooches. Taking a more detailed look at all the
perspectives will help us make a decision.
Pet's saliva have bacteria and parasites present in them.
Pastuerella, Bartonella henselae, and other bacteria that can
cause a range of medical problems. These include skin infections,
lymph nodes infections and more severe conditions. Campylobacter,
Clostridia and Salmonella are also present in the digestive
systems of pets. These 3 are the ones that humans have to worry
about as they can cause serious intestinal issues. One thing to
note is the first set of bacteria is mostly transmitted through
scratches as proven by various studies. There is also no solid
proof that having your pet lick your face are a major
transmission source of salmonella and other bacteria.Parasites
are also something that pets can carry with no symptoms, but once
contracted by humans it can lead to intestinal diseases,
blindness and in severe cases, brain disorders. Parasitic worms
and single cell parasites are present in pet intestines and
facial licking is a source of transmission of these parasites.
However, only 2 types of parasites can be passed on through
facial licking – Giardia and Cryptosporidia. Cats cannot transmit
these parasites as they do not eat their own feces.
Research has proven that a dog's saliva has healing elements in
it. It is actually a historic belief that has been passed on
through generations before being scientifically proven.
Scientists have discovered that per saliva contains histratins.
This compound has been proven to encourage the faster spread of
new skin cells. When saliva contracts with a wound, it promotes
the generation of nitric oxide. This promotes bacterial growth
and prevents infection. Some studies even say that a dog's saliva
could reduce the healing time by half.
In the end very few bacteria and consequently, diseases can be
spread through licking. So it is generally okay to give your
pooch a kiss sometimes. Just make sure you know what it's been
licking recently. Additionally, to prevent the spread of
infections people with long term illnesses and weak immune
systems must avoid kissing pets in general. Most importantly,
make sure your dog likes it as a form of affection. Dogs that do
not want to be kissed will turn their faces away or lick their
lips, Pay attention to these signs and respect them.