Dogs brighten our lives and fill them with love and sweet puppy kisses.
We give dogs affection in a million ways, and they return it.
Sometimes they show affection with snuggles on the couch or an offer to play with a favorite toy.
But their biggest displays of affection usually come from a wet, sloppy face lick — puppy kisses.
While puppy kisses are sweet, are they safe for you and your dog?
Why do dogs lick?
Dogs also lick to communicate hunger, need to go outside, or to capture your attention.
Kisses also provide comfort because licking releases endorphins, making dogs feel relaxed and happy.
An anxious dog might be prone to licking behavior to self-soothe or compel his owner to provide reassurance and affection.
What’s in puppy kisses?
A dog’s kiss is full of affection, loyalty, and about 700 kinds of bacteria.
Some less human-friendly bacteria include Toxocara, Pasteurella campylobacter, and salmonella, not to mention parasites like hookworms and tapeworms and any other disgusting thing they might encounter lying on the ground.
While a dog’s mouth is full of stuff that helps them heal, it could also send you straight to a doctor’s office.
If your dog is unwell, the chances you will get sick increase.
While dogs can be good for the health of even the tiniest humans (for example, having a dog can help diminish respiratory illnesses in children).
It’s better to play it safe regarding puppy kisses.
You can let your dog kiss you. Just keep your dog’s tongue away from your mouth.
Licks on cheeks or hands are generally OK, as skin absorption of bacteria is rare. To be safe, make sure to wash up afterward!
Teach your dog to show affection in other ways if you’re sick or have a compromised immune system. For example, limit licks to anyone who has HIV/AIDS or is receiving chemo.
Older people and infants also should probably avoid puppy kisses.
Break the puppy kisses habit
Kisses show affection. But you can build a healthy relationship and reduce health risks by teaching your dog other communication methods.
To stop licking or end an unwanted kissing habit, show your dog that kissing is ineffective.
If your dog licks you, say no firmly and leave the room.
Stop if you’re doing something your dog likes, such as petting, and she starts licking.
Once your dog learns to link your absence with licking or understands you won’t do something she enjoys if she licks, the kisses will stop.
– By Amber Kingsley