Many Dog Owners are familiar with the ways that their doggos show love. There’s the happy-to-see-you tail-chasing. There’s the higher-than-humanly-possible excited whine. And, of course, there’s the slobber-all-over-your-face doggy kisses when they lick your face.
When it comes to this last one, you might be asking yourself whether you really want that kind of affection. After all, dogs can get into some questionable business.
If you’ve been too embarrassed to ask your vet about it, don’t worry: we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’re going to turn to the experts to learn about whether it’s healthy to let your dog lick your face.
The bad news first
We’re just going to come out and say it: science says that getting kisses on the mouth from your dog is a health risk. In particular, a study published in the Journal of Medicine and Life showed that the biggest risk of a dog smooch is Zoonoses – diseases caused by bacteria, parasites, or viruses that can travel between animals and humans.
The most common Zoonoses in dogs include rabies, salmonella, leptospira, and e.coli. However, there are many others as well. And those are just the viral, bacterial Zoonoses. There are parasitic ones too, like giardia and hookworm.
But it’s not just the risk of disease that should deter you from letting your dog lick your face. When you start to think about everything that doggos put their noses into, from rubbish to dead animals, the idea of a cute little lick on the nose becomes less desirable.
So, unfortunately, getting kisses from your dog is overall pretty unhealthy. Now, a kiss every once in a while is probably not going to affect you that much. And if your dog does manage to get a few good licks in on your cheek or neck, don’t panic. You can simply wash your face with soap without worrying too much.
However, try as much as possible to limit the kisses. And you definitely want to discourage dogs licking children and babies, who may not have strong immune systems yet.
But not all hope is lost
There are a few ways that you to make sure that your dog’s mouth is less of a health risk.
Firstly, let’s talk about canine dental hygiene. Just like people, dogs can benefit from daily brushing. In fact, you should set up a routine in which you clean those chompers once per day. In addition to these daily brushing sessions, make sure to schedule regular cleanings with the vet. Generally, your vet will use anaesthesia so that they can clean your dog’s mouth safely and thoroughly.
Also, try as much as possible to keep an eye on your dog when they’re outside. It just takes a few moments for your dog to put their nose in that big pile of who-knows-what. You might even be able to recognise the proud look on their face when they trot back to you as if to say: “You’ll never believe what I just found! It’s disgusting!” To avoid the mess, keep that pooch in your radar when you’re outdoors. If you’d like to make the process easier, book a Dog Walker to keep an eye on your pup.
Not only are these steps going to make your furry friend’s kisses less of a risk for you, they’ll also contribute to your pup’s overall health.
You don’t need to let your dog lick your face to show love
At first, it may be difficult to cut the doggy kisses out of your life. However, there are a range of other ways you can share your love with your dog. When they try to lick your face, for instance, you might distract them with their favourite toy. Once they’ve backed away from licking you, reward them with a tasty treat.
If they keep trying to lick your face, you might need to give them the cold shoulder for a while. Eventually, they’ll learn that you don’t want to be licked and will show their love in different ways.
In short, it’s unfortunate that smooches from your pooch can pose health problems. Even so, that doesn’t have to mean the end of your loving connection with your dog. Your furry friend will still love you, even when you don’t want those slobbery kisses anymore.