We love our dogs, of course we do, but do we think about how safe it is for both them and us when we lock lips with them?
Here are some things to consider before you smooch your pooch.
- What has Fido been doing?
Before you lean in to give Fido a peck on his face, do think about where his face has been. Has it been licking his paws after romping in the mud? Has it been sniffing another dog’s butt? Has it been dumpster diving? Even kissing Fido on the top of his head or snout may not be all that safe – vets say that infections and germs can be spread all over the dog’s body through scratching and licking.
- Are we contagious to each other?
Our mouths and our dogs’ mouths contain a large amount of bacteria. Fortunately, most of it doesn’t make us sick, but some sure can. Vets say parasites like hookworm, roundworm, and giardia can be passed from dog to human via licking. Salmonella can also be passed from dog to human, or vice versa. However, viruses only affect one species; if you’re having a cough, you won’t be able to give your dog one.
- Am I sick?
People with compromised immune systems should simply avoid kissing their pets. This includes people with HIV/AIDS, and those who have had organ transplants, or are on cancer medication that limit the body’s ability to fight off infection. The weakened immune system may not be able to tolerate bacteria transmitted from the pet.
- Does my dog like being kissed?
It largely depends on the individual dog, but some do not like having your face squashed to theirs. A dog that doesn’t like the intrusion will lean away, look away, and lick his lips. These are signs of stress and we should simply not force our kisses on the canine. When people miss these signs, the dog may end up snapping at them.
By Charmaine Ng