Many of us have kissed our dog or witnessed a friend kissing his or her dog on the face or being kissed by a dog. But is it safe to do so? Could your dog get you sick? Well, yes and no. Kissing your furbaby isn’t a big health risk for most people, but there are some things to consider.
First of all, the idea that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s is 100% a myth. Human mouths and dog mouths both house a large volume and wide variety of bacteria. Think about where your dog’s nose goes. What does he eat? What does he lick? Did your dog investigate a dead squirrel in the road? Was his nose near the posterior of another dog? Did he get in the litter box for a snack? Common sense tells us that there’s some nasty stuff hiding in your dog’s mouth. Thankfully, most of it is harmless. It’s gross, but harmless.
Only a few illnesses transfer from dogs to humans and vice versa, but they do exist. It’s important to know what they are. In rare instances, humans can get parasites such as hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm, and giardia from dogs. Salmonella can also be passed from dogs to humans and vice versa. If a dog has an infection (such as an ear infection), bacteria from the infection are likely to end up all over his coat from scratching. Kissing your dog on the head could still cause problems. It’s not very likely, but it’s possible.
People with weakened immune system should avoid kissing pets. Conditions such as HIV/AIDS, having an organ transplant, and taking medications for cancer can limit the body’s ability to fight infection. Because of this, these people are more likely to get sick from kissing a dog than an average joe with a working immune system.
Any Dog Will Bite
Another thing you might want to consider is the fact that some dogs may not like you putting your face next to them. A dog who doesn’t want a kiss will show signs of stress by leaning away, looking away, pursing his lips, or lickng his lips. Often, people, especially young children, will miss these signs. When they try to kiss the dog, he may growl, snap at, or bite them on the face. If your dog is giving you signs he doesn’t want to be kissed, it’s best not to force him to do so. Afterall, you wouldn’t force a human to kiss you if they didn’t want to would you?
The bottom line is if your dog doesn’t mind and you’re not grossed by doggy breath, it’s okay to kiss your dog. Beware of the things they put in their mouths and keep him healthy with regular vet checks.
The dogs in our shelter often come to us with a variety of health problems such as intestinal parasites or heartworms. You can help save lives by helping us pay for veterinary care. If you would like to make a donation and help us save the lives of these animals please call us at (662) 841-6500 or bring your donation to the shelter at 2400 South Gloster St. Tupelo, MS