Doggie Kisses: Harmful Bacteria
or Cleaner Than a Human's Mouth?
By Gary Le Mon

girl kissing dog

If you’re like me, you really love it when your dog leaps up and showers you all over with doggie kisses. Other people love their dog no less, but just can’t take the licking.

Whatever your personal preference may be in the matter, you’d probably like to know whether dog saliva is harmful, healthy as urban legend has it, or simply harmless. Here’s what the experts say:

Why do dogs lick?

Licking is a common and natural behavior to a dog. If your dog doesn't lick people, he probably licks himself one place or another and for one reason or another.

To a dog, a lick is an important social cue. It helps him demonstrate obedience to the pack leader. If you dog licks you, it's because he accepts that you're the boss. Congratulations on your pack leadership role.

Dogs lick when they are anxious. They lick toys, other dogs, or people they like because the familiar taste and smell comfort them.

Dogs give doggie kisses to demonstrate their love. Dogs with puppies lick to show affection. When a dog licks a human, it means love to the dog the way a kiss means love to a human.

Sometimes, dogs lick simply because they know that it gets them attention, positive or otherwise.

Doggie kisses are a good thing

If you see your dog's licking habits as mutually enjoyable, there isn't much reason to stop. There are actual health benefits found in dog saliva, at least up to a point.

Both a human’s mouth and a dog’s mouth are breeding grounds for germs. The reason these bacteria are generally harmless to both kisser and kissee is because they are species-specific and therefore powerless in a foreign anatomy. Consequently, for you and me, kissing your dog is less risky than kissing another human.

Dog saliva contains a mix of beneficial probiotic bacteria different from that found in humans. These bacteria can help augment whatever may be missing in your digestive juices. Since your dog will usually get some of your bacteria in the exchange, the benefits work both ways.

Often the affectionate licks of doggie kisses can help boost your mood and promote bonding when nothing else works.

Exposure to dog saliva can help keep your immune system on its toes. Babies that grow up in homes with licking dogs tend to harbor a more robust defense against dust and dander allergies. You may also wish to safeguard your canine buddy against allergies and invading bacteria as well as viruses and environmental toxins. Now you can boost your dog’s immune system naturally with this holistic, organic product that I highly recommend.

Too much of a good thing?

If you wish your dog would just stop licking you, the first thing you should do is determine whether the licking is excessive. A dog that indulges in constant, obsessive licking most likely has a health issue such as pain, inflammation or infection. Time to pay the vet a visit.

If your dog's licking is at a normal level but you still wish it would stop, there are a few approaches to try. Your dog's licking may be a cry for attention, which is often the case. You can simply offer healthy play activities which will help you both in many ways. If you're interested in getting your dog to stop its licking habits quickly, rubbing a slice of lemon on your lips can help. Dogs hate lemon.

It can also help to give your dog a little reinforcement by way of rejection. Each time there is an attempt made at licking, you can simply get up and leave the room. This can get the message across that licking is undesirable behavior. Of course, if your dog is as smart as my dog Cooper, he’ll soon learn to plant a big smacker on your cheek whenever he wants the couch all to himself.

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