Dog Saliva Licks: Love’em Or Ditch Them For Good?

are dog saliva good cover


Jordan Walker found out early that having pets could make you calmer and happier. Since then, he has been interested in animals generally, speaking about these at Coops And Cages and sharing other information he could find in blogs like this one. In this article, he discusses about dog saliva and if this is beneficial to humans.

It tickles. It’s wet. Sometimes you like it. But at other times, you just want it to stop. Yup, dog licks are either considered likable or just plain crazy depending on a person’s mood. It’s one of the ways that pet dogs show their love to their human companions. But is dog saliva healthy for you? Or are you better off teaching your four-legged pal to stop giving you dog kisses?

The Good News

good dog saliva

Pet saliva has always been believed to have wound healing properties and that this is why they do this on their skin when they have cuts. Today, recent studies are now confirming that there may be some truth to this claim. In a research conducted in Netherlands, it was revealed that pet saliva contains histatins, proteins that have antifungal and antimicrobial properties, which are helpful in wound healing. A similar study conducted by Dr Nigel Benjamin of the London School of Medicine showed that nitric oxide is produced when pet saliva comes in contact with the skin. Nitric oxide has antibacterial property which helps protect wounds from further infection. And pet saliva could do more than prevent infection too. According to some of the researchers of the University of Florida, this contains the protein called Nerve Growth Factor, an agent that could speed up healing.

The Bad News

bad dog saliva

But wait! Don’t spoil your dog just yet and let this lick for as long as it likes on your face. There are also valid reasons why your vets are preventing you from it. Here are some of the bad stuff found in your dog’s saliva:

  • Bacteria. The Journal of the Medical Association in Thailand said in an issue released in 2003 that there are 20 types of bacteria found in a dog’s mouth. Some of these are a potential threat to human health as these may lead to infection.
  • Virus. When dogs have a viral infection, they can pass these on to humans through their saliva. One of the most feared viral infections in dogs that is considered fatal to humans is rabies, which is known to cause inflammation of the brain.
  • Parasites. You must admit that tongue has travelled somewhere other than your face. If your dog happened to lick its anus, parasite eggs could be passed to you. While your dog may show no signs of symptoms from these parasites, you on the other hand may not be safe. Dog parasites in humans can cause skin disorders, intestinal problems, blindness, and brain disorders.

Final Thoughts

So, do you still think your dog should be allowed to smooch on your face? As indicated above, dog treats in their mouths are not the reasons why you should prevent your pet dog’s saliva from coming into contact with your skin. Remember that while kisses on your face could make it happy, you should also think of its possible repercussions to your own health.


author of dog licksAuthor: Jordan Walker

Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops And Cages as well as a couple of other pet related blogs. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for ‘attempting’ to play the guitar. If you would like to catch him, you can via Google+ or Twitter: @CoopsAndCages