Are dog mouths really cleaner than human mouths?
You might think it’s cute – that big, wet and slobbery tongue reaching out from your canine’s jaw and affectionately lapping at your face.
But what if I told you there was something quite sinister about it? No, I’m not saying your beloved Fido is trying to harm you. Your little (or big) furry friend genuinely is trying to display affection.
Too bad the same can’t be said for all the bacteria on the dog’s tongue.
Myth: Dogs Have Cleaner Mouths Than Humans
Pet lovers can't get enough affection from their pooches. And if licking is loving, they get a lot of loving.
But is it really safe to kiss a dog, considering where they often put their mouths?
"Their saliva is much cleaner and if you have a cut or anything, if they lick it -- it's healing," one woman told "20/20" while being interviewed in New York City.
Is a Dog's Mouth Cleaner Than a Human's?
Here’s the myth that makes dogs sound like a dental miracle: Despite all the leftover macaroni, rubber bands and dead squirrels they chew, our canine friends still maintain better oral hygiene than human beings do, no matter how studiously we floss and how often we visit our dentists.
Could this really be true?
Well, sadly, no. In short, a dog’s mouth is besieged by its own legions of germs, roughly as huge in population as those living in the human mouth and causing a similar array of dental illnesses. “It’s like comparing apples and oranges,” says Colin Harvey, a professor of surgery and dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. He is also the executive secretary at the American Veterinary Dental College.
THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER LET YOUR DOG LICK YOU!
Some people would agree that is really cute when the big, wet and slobbery tongue of their dog is trying to lick their face.
But we have bad news: there is something much sinister about it. Even though your dog genuinely is trying to display affection to you, on its tongue there are various types of bacteria that may be harmful to your health.
And if you are asking if the dog mouths are cleaner than the human mouths, we will answer that question. That is total myth.
Why Letting a Dog Lick Your Face Isn’t a Great Idea
Dogs will lick your face for a variety of reasons—maybe they're looking for attention or they just think you taste great. Not surprisingly, if a dog's saliva finds its way into your mouth, nose, ears, or eyes (a gross image, but it happens), there's a chance you'll end up with some kind of gastrointestinal disease. It makes sense when you consider dogs aren't the cleanest (reminder: They eat stuff off the ground), and they're home to a bunch of bacteria we're not used to dealing with. If you can't be bothered with watching this Business Insider video, here's the simplified explanation:
- Dog poops.
- Dog doesn't do a great job cleaning itself.
- Dog licks human.
- Human ingests poop particles (delish!).
- Human gets poop-related bacterial disease.
Do You Kiss Your Dog?
Lots of dog moms and dads do. After all, his mouth is cleaner than yours, right? Nope. Think about it -- what he eats, what he licks. Common sense tells you it’s a germfest.
But the truth is, those bacteria aren’t big health risks for most people. So kissing your furry baby is OK, if it doesn’t gross you out. Just have a healthy awareness of what could be in your dog’s mouth, says Clark Fobian, DVM, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Before you kiss a dog, or let a dog kiss your face, “you have to think of where their nose has been,” Fobian says. “Has it been inside a dead opossum on the side of the road, or the posterior of another dog, or in the litter box?”
Should you kiss your dog?
We all do it — come home and find our dogs at the door, tails wagging, and looking longingly at us. We swoop down, give them a hug and plant a juicy kiss on their faces, often allowing them to reciprocate with a lick on the nose, cheek, or mouth. But is this sanitary? Can you get sick from kissing your dog? A new study may have you thinking twice about letting your dog lick your face.
In 2011, a team of Japanese researchers collected dental plaque from 66 dogs and 81 humans who visited dog training schools and animal clinics in Okayama, Japan. The plaque was placed under the microscope and analyzed for signs of bacteria. As theorized, the research results — as published in the journal Archives of Oral Biology — determined that both humans and dogs contain bacteria in their mouths, which could potentially be transferred to each other through “kissing."
Researchers found disease-causing “peridontopathic” bacteria present in plaque of both the dogs and humans tested. This bacteria is linked to periodontis, a severe form of gum disease which, according to the Pacific Northwest Veterinary Dentist & Oral Surgery Center, causes the destruction of the supporting tissues of the tooth and can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes.
Dog Licking And What It Means
The picture of a dog crouched low to the ground licking the lips of another dog’s lips is often viewed as a soft and friendly appeasement gesture. Face and lip licking is most often offered by young puppies, but can carry on into adulthood. Face licking does have boundaries in the dog-to-dog world of interaction and socialization. So, what face licking is appropriate and what’s out of bounds?
Young puppies are offered a lot of behavior leniencies by their elders. Their wiggly, squirming, jumpy, face licking greetings are often allowed by older dogs. The adult dog stops, stands still and allows the pup to do his thing before moving on. As a pup matures from puppyhood to adolescence, however, dogs begin to teach the youthful dog more appropriate, calm, and less in-your-face behavior. At times, if a pup’s face licking antics go overboard an elder will correct him with a sharp, “Enough already, get out of my face!”
I live with a rotational group of dogs, all from separate homes, at Far Fetched Acres. I see face and lip licking of all sorts. Offered by pups, the behavior is in stride with natural development and often accepted and tolerated by others. On the flip side, when offered incessantly by an eleven-month-old adolescent or adult, things can get a bit tense.
How your beloved dog could give you a killer disease: Superbugs, Parasites, TB
Food poisoning risk: Dogs don’t just use their tongues to clean themselves, they happily shove their faces into anything smelly- including dead birds, animal carcasses and fox droppings
They are mankind’s loyal companions. But according to a new study, dogs could be a serious risk to our lives. Last week, vets warned that many people are overlooking the potentially deadly diseases we could catch from our pets. They carry and spread salmonella, and can infect us with parasites, fungal infections, tapeworm, roundworm and superbugs.
Furious pet owners say the benefits of a dog far outweigh any health risks. So are the vets right? DAVID DERBYSHIRE presents the (rather alarming) evidence.
This is why you should stop letting your dog lick your face
People often think a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s mouth.
According to Dr. Leni K. Kaplan of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, the reason people believe this because when a dog licks a wound, it can remove debris and contamination, which sometimes expedites the healing process.
However, the fact is a dog’s mouth is riddled with bacteria, and coming in contact with contaminated saliva presents a risk of disease and infection.
Woman's pet dog gave her a life-threatening infection
The furry creatures many of us call our best friend may harbor a bug that can, in rare cases, be life-threatening to humans, as one 70-year-old woman from England found out.
Her unusual case is described in the medical journal BMJ Case Reports. The woman first developed slurred speech and became unresponsive. An ambulance rushed her to the hospital where she improved, but four days later she developed confusion, a headache, diarrhea and a high fever, and her kidneys began to fail.
Blood tests revealed she had sepsis, or blood poisoning, which resulted in organ failure. For doctors, her dire condition presented a medical mystery.
Snuggling and kissing kittens could actually kill you
Researchers already spoke out about the dangers of being affectionate to chickens; now they are warning against getting close to a more commonly beloved pet: cats.
Doctors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put together a survey of a cat-born disease called "Cat-Scratch Fever" (CSF) and it may be potentially dangerous. It's the first large-scale study on the disease done in fifteen years.
The knowledge of Cat-Scratch Fever is not new, but it was once thought of to be mild. Due to this survey, the CDC concluded that it can be fatal. "The scope and impact of the disease is a little bit larger than we thought," said Dr. Christina Nelson, lead author of the study and medical epidemiologist at the CDC.
NEVER SLEEP WITH YOUR PETS
Dogs and cats are irresistibly cute pets. Probably many people would agree that “Dogs are best friends with humans”. Over time, pets become part of the family and both kids and adults enjoy playing with them. Sometimes people even sleep in the same bed with their pets.
But, we must disappoint you: sleeping with your pet can cause serious health issues. In this article you can read the explanation why.
It seems that is quite safe and many people are not even aware of the potential danger to their health.