You may find it adorable when a dog’s big and wet tongue begins lapping your face. As affectionate as it may be, such an action is actually harming you.
Of course, your pet isn’t trying to hurt you. Your dog just doesn’t know about the abundance of bacteria on its tongue.
It is a total myth that dog’s tongues are cleaner than human tongues.
The author of “Chicken Soup for the Dog Owner’s Soul”, Marty Becker, puts it best by saying: “They raid the garbage can. You know, we give each other a peck on the cheek when we say hello, they give each other a peck on the rear end,” said Becker. “All you got to do is look, watch, smell and you’ll realize that that is not true.”
A professor of virology and bacteriology at London’s Queen Mary University, John Oxford, elaborates in hippocraticpost.com on just how much bacteria can be found a dog’s mouth and muzzle:
“It is not just what is carried in saliva. Dogs spend half their life with their noses in nasty corners or hovering over dog droppings so their muzzles are full of bacteria, viruses and germs of all sorts.”
Those germs and viruses may cause conditions harmful to the health of humans. One woman residing in the U.K. found that out the hard way.
As it turns out, the woman caught a disease from the saliva on her Italian greyhound’s tongue. After her speech became slurred, she quickly became unresponsive, and was rushed to a hospital, where her health improved. However, four days later, her conditions expanded to headaches, confusion, high fever and diarrhea. Worse, her kidneys began to fail her body.
It took a couple of weeks for the woman to recover through plenty of antibiotics and intensive care. According to her blood tests, the infection was caused by capnocytophaga canimorsus bacteria, typically found in the mouths of cats and dogs.
But that’s not the only disease you should be concerned about. There are also other bacteria or staph infections your four-legged friend can pass on through licking:
Please be warned, the following photos are not for the faint hearted!!
This is a staph infection that affects all mammals including cats, dogs, and humans and can easily be transmitted from one species to another. It usually is transmitted through the air such as an infected person sneezing or coughing or the saliva in a dog’s lick. It’s a bacteria that can be easily transmitted causing skin infections such as boils. Most staph infections are not serious, this strain can cause pneumonia, bone and joint infections and infections in the bloodstream.
Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is a bacteria that can infect different body parts. It’s harder to treat than other staph infections because it is resistant to many common antibiotics. In most cases, it causes a mild skin infection such as sores. More serious infections can occur through a wound, entering into the bloodstream, urinary tract or through the lungs that can be life threatening.
It’s transmitted through bites or saliva into cuts or other broken skin conditions. Infection is rare with most healthy people and in most cases, treatments with antibiotics will effectively clear up the situation. But also can cause serious health problems especially with those who have pre-existing conditions such as a weak immune system. This man also caught capnocytophaga canimorsus after his dog lick some open wounds on his hands.
Even though most licks from your best friend will not cause health problems, there is always a possibility, especially if you have other health issues. The safest route to go is not allowing your dog to lay a big, wet lick on your face!