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Q&A: Kissing Dog On The Lips

| Filed under: Q&ADogDr. Patrick Mahaney

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Many of us have pets who are very affectionate. But sometimes, being too affection could be unhealthy.

Dear Teddy,

My dog is the sweetest, friendliest mutt you'd ever meet. She loves to jump up on the couch and give kisses. My friend told me that you shouldn't let a dog lick you right on the lips but she always goes straight for the face. (My dog, not the friend.) Is it okay to kiss my dog on the lips?

Dr. Patrick responded:


Thank you for your interesting and relevant question.
 We humans typically love when our pets are affectionate with us by giving us kisses, but it is best that you don't let your dog kiss/lick you on the lips.
Consider that your dog does not brush (unless you do it for him/her), floss, or use antiseptic mouthwash, so the different stains and levels of bacteria in a dog's mouth can be quite high.
Additionally, dogs explore their environment with their nose, which often leads to their mouth taking a taste of whatever may be appealing to them (which could be revolting to you).

Dogs may taste urine, feces, or anal sac discharge directly as it comes out of another dog (or themselves). Or, rotting organic material (vegetable or animal) could be consumed from the ground.
 With all the above information, do you want your dog to lick you on the face or lips? Even your hands are suspect to being coated with bacteria or other infectious organisms that could transfer via your dog's mouth, so always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after handling your dog or if they lick your fingers.
 Many people let their dog lick their hands, face, or mouth and do not get sick, but the potential is always there. I suggest playing it on the safe side.


Good luck,

Dr PM

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