Should You Let Your Dog Lick You?

Should You Let Your Dog Lick You?

Canines have a natural licking instinct and most owners will interpret this is a sign of affection.  Which it is, mother dogs are observed to lick their puppies to stimulate the bonding process. This also applies to why a dog would like to lick its owner.

For dogs, licking is the first experience they visit when their mother cleans them up or bonds with them. Hence for them, this is the ultimate means of bonding and socializing. For some dogs, this may be a means of getting a taste of the lunch you’ve just had or they might just be telling you that they respect you.

For, most owners their pets wagging the tail and a few licks right on the face are a joy. But some owners do not encourage this behavior. So, is it alright for your dog to lick you? The answer is no and here are a few reasons why

  • Bacteria

A dog’s mouth contains a variety of bacteria. Where most of it may not be that harmful, there is a high likelihood that their mouth contains zoonotic organisms. These organisms may be good for your dog but are extremely harmful to humans. They can cause severe diarrhea and other infections in the human body. Dogs may carry bacteria such as Leptospira, Campylobacter, Pasteurella, and salmonella. Many dogs can carry harmful pathogens without any symptoms of an illness.

  • They are not the most hygienic

cute canineBy human, standards a dog’s hygiene is questionable. You do not know where that mouth has been, dogs are dogs, and they tend to lick and swallow things that you may not in a million years. Your dog may be licking its genitals or playing with a street animal right before it decides to lick you. A dog’s body is well equipped to stay healthy even after licking or coming in contact with germs. The same cannot be said about the human body. You can get severely ill if you come in contact with most of these germs.

  • Parasites

Dogs are prone to carry parasites such as the ringworm, Giardia, and hookworm.  If they transfer it to you, you are done for. These parasites can be very damaging to the immune system of the body, especially the digestive system and the intestinal tracts. It is a myth that a lick from your dog can boost the body’s immunity and heal wounds faster. The truth is that if you are more susceptible to getting ringworm than an immunity boost.

  • Sepsis

An organism carried by most dogs in their mouths is the cause of severe sepsis infection. This can cause fever-like symptoms, and you may start feeling fatigued, start sweating or experience chills. With sepsis, you are likely to fall ill immediately and stay that way for weeks. Hence, it is better to avoid a lick rather than contracting this infection.

Preventative measures

You should always welcome shows of affection from your furry friend, but there are ways you can go around the licking

  • Train your dog

It’s an instinct of dogs to lick something they like, and, your dog likes you. But, you can train it to show affection in another manner; such as encouraging jumping and wagging their tails or circling you. But, throwing you down and licking the life out of you should be considered as unacceptable behavior. Sure your dog may not like it initially, but there is nothing a few belly-rubs and extra treats cannot fix.

  • Divert their attention

If you are aware that your dog is planning to lick you, try and divert their attention by giving them a treat or initiate a playing session. Moreover, always stay up to date on your furry friend’s vaccinations. This will not make the licking safe, but it sure does help.