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Should you allow your dog to lick you?

Do you like to allow your dog to lick your body and your face? While some pet owners find the idea of being licked to be disgusting, others consider licking to be a loving gesture that helps them bond even further with their pet. If you like to allow your pet to lick you, however, you might want to think again.

While it may seem playful, fun, and affectionate, it is possible that your dog’s lick can give you more than you bargained for.

Where Has Your Dog’s Tongue Been?

In order to get an idea of why you may not want to have your dog licking you in the face, all you need to do is consider the places where your dog’s tongue frequents. Most dogs spend a great amount of time placing their tongues in the garbage, dirt, rocks, sticks, private areas of their bodies, and even in feces. Obviously, remnants of these items can easily still be on their tongues while they are playfully licking your face. Even if the dirt and stool are not still in your pet’s mouth, the bacteria from these items may still be present. Therefore, allowing your pet to lick your face may not be the most hygienic of decisions.

Health Risks from Being Licked

There are many potential health risks associated with being licked by your pet. One of the biggest potential health risks is the transmission of roundworms. Roundworms are a type of intestinal parasite that is commonly found in kittens as well as in puppies. The worms are passed on through licking and can result in some serious medical complications. Some of the signs and symptoms associated with a roundworm infestation include:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Headaches

Of course, if you get your pet tested on a regular basis and if you give it deworming medication each month, the risk of getting roundworms from your pet is slim. Nonetheless, it is something to consider if you allow your pet to lick your body or face.

In addition to roundworms, there are other diseases and illnesses that can be transmitted by your pet. Leptospirosis, salmonellosis, and E.coli, for example, can all be passed through saliva. Strep throat has also been linked to dogs licking their owners in their faces. In addition, rabies is also transmitted through saliva, though you should not be at risk of catching this disease if your pet has been vaccinated.

Dispelling Myths about Licking

Some pet owners are aware that dog saliva actually contains a special enzyme that helps promote healing. As a result, some encourage their pets to lick their wounds or cuts in order to help expedite healing. It should be noted that the enzyme only works on the wounds of dogs and does not help humans. Therefore, encouraging your pet to lick your wounds will not help you heal faster. In fact, it could lead to infection, which will further aggravate your wounds.

While your pet likely will not pass on an illness to you if you are keeping it properly vaccinated, it is still a good idea to discourage licking in order to reduce your chances of becoming sick from your canine friend.

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