For the joy of some and despair of others, some dogs access the faces of their owners and give them a lick! It’s a famous dog kiss.
While some don’t care and even receive the gesture with joy, others are afraid that affection is accompanied by the many bacteria found in a dog’s mouth. Sometimes, it’s worth closing the eyes, compressing the lips and even turning the face.
But, do you know why the dog licks the owner? What’s more, is the habit really harmful to our health? Come with us find out!
Why do puppies lick?
If you thought there would be a straightforward answer to that question, you made a mistake. Both wolves and domestic dogs use licking in various ways and for different reasons.
When alone in some examples, in packs, a wolf can lick the mouth of the other as a sign of respect and affection. At birth, puppies lick the mother’s mouth as a way to ask for food.
An anxious dog may get into the habit of licking his paws compulsively to relieve stress. Not to mention the fact that licking is also a way for dogs to explore the world by feeling things and tasting things.
With regard to the licks on the guardian’s face, no study so far has been able to find out the real reason behind it.
According to some hypotheses, licking can be rather a way of showing or asking for affection, as many imagine. But, it may also be that the pet simply adores the salty taste of the owner’s face!
Is it bad to let the puppy lick my face?
From an effective point of view, receiving licks from dogs can be a delight. From the health and medicinal point of view, the consensus is that it does not go well. The question is whether an occasional “kiss” from time to time is actually a reason to get nervous.
According to some doctors, such as the bacteriologist John Oxford of the University of London and Dr Leni K. Kaplan of the School of Medicine of Cornell University in the United States, dog licking can carry harmful bacteria and damage our health.
There is the case, for example, of E. coli, salmonella and campylobacter, responsible for gastroenteritis. In addition, they also highlight the risk of the person ingesting worms linked to many diseases.
I got a lick, now what?
For those who are accustomed to letting their pet lick their face and were frightened by the possible consequences of it, you don’t need to despair.
This is because although the habit is not recommended, and being licked by a well-cared dog can still cause illness, the chances of this happening are no greater than those arising from the habit of putting your hands to your mouth without being washed.
So if the pet stole a kiss from you, you don’t have to run to an emergency room. Just wash your face with running water. Remembering that the tactics also apply for children who get licked by the dog.
Making licks safer
- As seen, dog licks on the face will never be 100% safe, so it’s best to always avoid them. However, in the case of accidental licking, some measures can help reduce your risk. They are:
- Keeping your pet’s vaccination always up-to-date;
- When walking with the dog, don’t allow it to approach litter bins, animal faeces, among others;
- Try to get the pet to take a bath once a week or at least every two weeks;
- Take the dog for regular visits to the veterinarian in order to check his health and identify any disease. Always discourage the pet from licking your face, and a simple but effective tip is simply to turn your face. Believe me, puppies are very good at reading our signs and will understand that the gesture is no longer welcomed! Is that you? Do you have any experience you want to tell us? Comment here and share with us.!