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Doggy Kisses - DON'T

To let your dog ‘kiss’ you or not ‘kiss’ you. That’s the Question. Short form answer? NOT!

To be clear, we’re defining doggy ‘kisses’ as being licked or snuffled by your dog on your face or ears. We’re also including if your dog licks or snuffles any scratch or scrape you may have.

It’s true that doggy saliva does have some beneficial effects only for dogs. Doggy saliva has a slightly higher pH value {7.5 to 8.0} compared to our saliva {6.5 to 7.0}. This higher pH helps counter the enamel dissolving acid produced by bacteria on teeth. Doggy saliva also contains some very mild anti-bacterial properties.

The higher pH and the mild anti-bacterial qualities only mean that dogs won’t get cavities quite as frequently as we do. Dogs can and do get cavities and require regular dental care.

While some bacteria are killed by doggy saliva, many more are not. In fact, dogs have plenty of live bacteria in their mouths and some of these bacteria can be transmitted to us. These bacteria can include and are not limited to Salmonella, some variants of Staphylococcus, Campylobacter and Pastuerella. These bacteria can cause severe gastrointestinal disease or even sepsis in humans. There are documented human deaths from infections directly caused by dog licking.

As well as live bacteria, doggy saliva also contains at least 12 different types of proteins known to trigger allergic reactions in sensitive people. It’s usually not the animal’s fur which triggers an allergic reaction. It’s the dried saliva from self grooming.

Snuffling is when your dog pokes his wet nose at you. Unlike doggy saliva, doggy snot has no anti-bacterial properties. Think about all the places a dog sticks his investigative nose such as at other animal feces, carcasses and mysterious mounds of completely unknown origin. You can be sure any bacteria in any recently sniffed items will be present in your dog’s snot. Your dog’s nose is definitely not something you want near your face, ears or any open wounds.

A little doggy saliva is not of any meaningful benefit to you and me. When it comes to doggy kisses: DON’T!


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