I bet you’ve heard most people claim that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s.
As a dog owner, you wouldn’t mind playing around with your dear fido, and most often, they’ll show their appreciation by kissing you. And this is how you’ll not hesitate to kiss them back.
But how clean is your buddy’s mouth, and should you stop kissing your beautiful puppy?
Is Your Dog’s Mouth Cleaner Than Mine?
No, your dog’s mouth is not cleaner than yours, with some studies claiming that bacteria exist in a dog’s saliva.
Besides, saliva provides a conducive environment for other pathogens, which you can easily come into contact with—exposing you to several health complications.
For this reason, it’s not recommended to let your canine buddy kiss or lick your face.
How Does a Dog’s Mouth Get Dirty?
Dogs are quadrupedal animals—so they use all fours limbs to move and use their mouth to do nearly everything, including:
- Wiping off debris
- Scratching the itch spots
- Licking wounds (could yours or their own)
- Picking up objects such as toys
- Expressing their emotions
What Bacteria Lurks in Your Dog’s Mouth?
The type of germs in your dog’s mouth depends on the degree of dental illness they have because your dear fido’s teeth contain plaque and biofilm that grow over time.
Additionally, other aspects such as diet, genetics, hygiene and environmental exposure can enhance the stay of bacteria and other infectious microorganisms in your pet’s mouth.
So, what are the types of bacteria that are common in your furry friend’s mouth?
- Pasteurella is a common bacteria found in a dog’s mouth that causes skin and lymph node infections and more severe diseases. You can contract Pasteurella by allowing your dog to lick your wounds or when a dog bites you.
- Bartonella henselae can be transmitted to dogs from infected lice, ticks and fleas via their poop. Although it can be transmitted to people through cat scratches, it’s not clear if dogs can also pass it to humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Intestinal bacteria in pets such as Salmonella, E. coli, Clostridia, and Campylobacter can cause intestinal diseases in humans. Even if your pet does not show any symptoms, harmful germs can be found in their poop.
Can You Get Parasites From Letting Your Dog Kiss You?
Yes, you can get parasites from letting your dog kiss you. Dogs can host many parasites, and some could have mild effects on your dog, which may not show signs. As a result, you could be misled to assume that kissing your dog is safe.
However, you can get infected through your dog’s excrement. For example, if a dog licks their anus and then licks your face, you’ll be at risk of contracting the parasite. But unless the eggs have matured, this type of infection is unlikely.
How Likely Is It for Humans to Get Sick From Dog Kisses or Licking?
Accepting dog kisses is not harmful, but germs from your dog’s mouths can expose you to severe health conditions that could lead to death, though in rare circumstances.
However, a person’s vulnerability to a dog’s bacteria depends on many factors, such as your immunological condition, level of exposure, among other factors.
So how can you avoid getting infected? Below are some ways to prevent getting infected when you come into contact with your companion friend:
- Wash your hands thoroughly after coming in contact with your dog
- Examine your pet’s faeces and deworm them regularly
- Regularly wash your dog to protect them from fleas and ticks
- In case of dog bites or scratches, seek medical attention immediately
- Limit the chances of your dog kissing you
- Stop your dog from licking its wound by wrapping up their wound
1. Is a Dog’s Mouth Cleaner Than a Toilet?
Yes, a dog’s mouth could be cleaner when we take the level of bacteria infection. While we can’t tell for sure whether a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a toilet seat—it depends on which house and whose toilet they visited. Being close to dogs or cats, for the most part, poses little risk.
2. Are Human Mouths Dirtier Than Dogs?
No, what varies is the type of bacteria—with the P. gingivitis present in human mouths while the P. gulae in dogs’ mouths. According to research, dogs and humans almost have the same amount of bacteria—around 600. However, humans are safer because they wash their mouths more frequently and are always conscious of what they put into their mouths.
3. Whose Mouth Is Cleaner Dog or Cat?
A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a cat’s, but any infected pet can transmit bacteria to you when they lick your mouth or face. However, bacteria in a cat’s mouth is slightly worse than that in a dog.
4. Why Do Dogs Lick You?
Dogs lick people to express affection, greet you or simply seek your attention. Of course, if you have some food, lotion, or salty sweat on your skin, it could also play a part. These are some of the other things your dog wants from you.
5. Is It Ok to Let a Dog Lick Your Wounds?
No, it’s not okay to let your dog lick your wounds. While licking wounds may provide some protection against certain bacteria, there are also significant downsides to allowing your dog to lick them. Excessive licking can irritate the skin, resulting in hot patches, infections, and the possibility of self-mutilation. Additionally, licking and chewing can also slow healing by reopening wounds.
6. Can You Get Sick if a Dog Licks Your Mouth?
Yes, according to Kaplan of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, pet owners should not allow their dog to kiss their mouth, nose, or eyes because infections such as salmonella and E.coli can be transmitted through these areas.