There are serious risks if you let your dog kiss you smack on the lips | TeamDogs

There are serious risks if you let your dog kiss you smack on the lips

You asked TeamDogs, so we asked an expert for trusted advice

Nia Dalton

Posted 31d ago

When your dog fills your life with so much love and happiness, what’s a little slobber between friends? Dog kisses are one of the many perks of being a pet parent - which is why so many of us let our dogs lick our faces until their heart’s content. 

It’s affectionate, it’s adorable and it’s extremely wet and messy. But to most of us, it feels natural to let our dogs lick away. 

On our Ask TeamDogs page, one reader posted: “Should you allow your dog to kiss you on the lips?”

And it had us thinking, are there any dangers to a slobbery smooch? Are the germs harmless or are there serious health risks? To find the answer, we asked an expert.

Zoe Costigan, in-house vet at Itch, explained that dog kisses are not innocent. Dogs can pass faecal matter, gut parasites and human disease on with a simple lick of the lips.

“Allowing your dog to lick or kiss your face is a personal preference, and personally, I am not keen on my dog licking or kissing my face,” veterinarian Zoe said.

“Dogs lick their owners for several reasons and it’s generally a sign of affection, however, they can lick if they are anxious and seeking reassurance.”

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To stress the health concerns of dog kisses, Zoe reminds us of everything that a dog does with its tongue.

“Dogs clean themselves with their mouths and this includes cleaning around the anus, so there is a possibility that faecal matter, which is contaminated with bacteria or gut parasites, such as giardia or roundworm eggs, could then be transferred to the owner when the dog licks their face.

“Bacteria passed from dog to owner in this way can result in human disease. Not to mention, dogs spend a fair amount of time with their noses in various undesirable places, such as other dog’s bottoms, rotting food and other animal’s faeces whilst out on walks.”

(All images: Getty)

So, the loveable licks that we are so guilty of allowing, can actually spread a great deal of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to your mouth. 

While Zoe stresses that it is a personal choice, she explains that we don’t have to let our dogs kiss our lips. We can train them to show affection in other ways.

“Kissing is a learnt behaviour which will become more frequent if rewarded, and likewise if this behaviour is discouraged and/or ignored, it will stop.”

Did you know the dangers of dog kisses? Do you let your dog lick your face? Let us know in the comments.

If you have any of your own unanswered questions, don’t forget to leave a message on our Ask TeamDogs page.

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