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Is it OK to let my dog kiss me?

 by yunus on 15 Jul 2016 |
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People tend fall into two camps when it comes to dog kisses: Some come home, swoop down and let Fido lavish them with slobbery smooches, while others are repulsed by the very idea of pet saliva. Similarly, research is ambivalent when it comes to the health hazards of your dog’s kisses. While numerous parasites and bacteria might lurk in your pet’s saliva, some studies suggest his smooches could also boost your immune system and even ward off allergies and asthma.
 
One thing to keep in mind when deciding how far to let your canine’s kisses go is that, contrary the old wives’ tale, your dog’s mouth is not cleaner than your own. This makes perfect sense when you consider some of the things your dog sticks in his nose in. Your pet could be breeding more than bacteria in his mouth, too: Parasites such as hookworms and roundworms can also pass from dog to human through licking. People with weakened immune systems, young children and the elderly should especially consider staying away from their pet’s kisses, as their bodies are less able to fight off infections. That being said, some studies posit that pet saliva also increases the amount of good bacteria we’re exposed to, potentially boosting humans’ immunes systems. Others cite the wound-healing properties of dog salvia, which may inhibit bacterial growth and shorten the time it takes wounds to heal.
 
While licking can be a sign of submission and respect, excessive kisses from your canine can indicate something’s wrong. One common cause for excessive licking is anxiety or stress, caused by moving house or introducing someone new to the household, for example. Illnesses or other health problems can also cause a change in behavior, so pay close attention if your dog has suddenly started licking and call your veterinarian for advice. If, on the other hand, your dog’s excessive licking is a behavior that’s built over time, you can try simple techniques to curb his kissing, such as replacing your face with his favorite peanut butter-filled Kong. You can also try basic obedience training to demonstrate to your pet that you are not pleased with his behavior. Remember, puppies offer up face and lip licking as an appeasement gesture to their elders, so comes naturally to dogs. That means it’s important to curb the habit of excessive licking early on, before it becomes a problem. If you do choose to let your dog lavish you with kisses, be sure to regularly deworm him and treat any parasites that show up in his annual veterinary exam.

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