Look, daytime television drives me bonkers. But sometimes when I am putzing around my apartment I’ll turn the tube on during the day and let it prattle on in the background and every now and again I’ll hear something that perks my ears up. Such was the case the other day when it was on and I hear a panel of four opinionated women discussing/shrieking about whether or not you should kiss your dog on the mouth and if it was hygienic or not.
Well of course I had to stop and watch because I was curious myself to find out if you should smooch your pooch. So, Raise a Paw just needed to know…
Let’s bypass the obvious issues here starting with the fact that no, you should not be kissing your dog French style but that is for many reasons other than questioning if it’s clean to do so. At no point should your tongue be in the mouth of your dog and vice versa. What we’re talking about here is a quick lil’ peck on the snout-area which is basically the dog’s mouth.
Obviously your pup is an animal which means that it behaves like one and rightfully so. This means that your pooch licks itself or other things it finds out in the world and does; and if you cannot afford organic or natural foods then your pup is ingesting food with a lot of really strange byproducts in it. If your dogs are anything like mine were then their lack of brushing and flossing after these oral activities would indicate that you need to be mindful not only of what is going in to your pooch’s pout but also what is transmitting to yours.
Technically, it’s possible that you can catch a bacteria from your dog but it is very unlikely that you will get really sick from a few pecks here and there that you will unless your pooch has been noshing on dead animal carcasses that it found in the gutter all afternoon or has a large turd hanging from its teeth. You see, humans and dogs have different bacteria in their mouth so that whole, “Is A Dog’s Mouth Cleaner Than A Human’s?” question is like comparing apples to oranges. Even with that in mind, there are bacteria present in your pup’s mouth (as are in yours) but not all of those are capable of causing disease in another species but a few of them are so it is good to know about the potential health issues that may or may not be lingering and let you decide for yourself.
If your canine is a frequent eater of poop (its own or another pup’s) then worms can be a real health concern as worms are typically excavated through defecating and are a transmittabble to humans. In humans worms can cause severe illness and can have potentially long-term effects if left untreated. If you have not had a discussion with your vet about worms and have never had your pup checked for them it’s time to go ahead and do that before you spread your love on their face and they spread that back to you. In addition, until you’ve had your pet checked it’s probably best to keep your kids hands away from your dog’s mouth as well.
Now, even with these possible issues on deck it really is up to you how you want to expression your affection toward your dog. If you are diligent about keeping your pets hygiene in check, are making sure it visits the vet routinely and are investing in dental chew toys to keep plaque and bacteria at bay then really it’s your call. While an open-mouthed kiss is never okay (see lead statement) giving a peck to your pup when you feel the urge is probably just fine in my opinion.