This is why you should never let your dog lick you
It is said, that the best therapist is a four-legged being with fur on it. Yes, we are talking about dogs here. For dog lovers, a home is not a home without dogs. Coming home to a warm welcome by the dogs, with their tails wagging and excited gyrations around the house, with wet slobbering kisses all over the face, is a much-cherished ritual. But little do the pet owners know about how hazardous licking can be to their health. Can you get sick from kissing your dog? Let us find out more.
1 How the Germs Spread?
The saliva of dogs is filled with various germs and organisms. Zoonotic germs and parasites that can spread from one species to another, such as dog to human, can transfer through your pet’s loving licks. Many parasites such as roundworm, tapeworm and hookworm are zoonotic and can spread through such direct contact with your dog. The worm infestations in dogs happen due to the ingestion of faeces of infected animals. Other reasons could be, raiding the garbage can in the house or on the street, licking its body and that of other animals. If a dog has worms, they reside in the gastrointestinal tract and pass eggs out through faeces. Sometimes, dogs contract eggs on their fur, due to licking. Petting them can transfer these eggs to your hands. Proceeding to eat something, directly after petting your dog, without washing your hands is one main reason, of ingesting roundworm eggs.
2 Manifestations of Infections
This is one of the easiest infections passed on from dogs to humans due to kissing. If the ringworm bacteria are around their mouth, it could spread to you as well.
MRSA or Methicillin- Resistant Staphylococcus Aureous, is an infection in humans, which produces lesions, caused by a single lick from dogs. While the effects are not that serious in dogs, it could prove fatal in case of humans.
3 Gum Disease
Kissing your dog can lead to gum disease. According to research, a disease-causing “peridontopathic bacteria” has been found in the plaque of both dogs and humans tested. This bacteria has been
inked to periodontis, a severe form of gum disease, which causes the destruction of the supporting tissues
of the tooth and can lead to heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes.
Other Types Of Bacteria Found:
A study has revealed that the three kinds of disease-causing oral bacteria: Porphyromonas rectus, Tannerella forsythia and Campylobacter rectus, are frequently found in dogs and less in humans. So, your dog’s mouth is not cleaner than yours.
4 People More At Risk of Contracting Infections
Capnoctytophaga canimorsus is one of the most important causes of sepsis in the elderly. An elderly woman was rushed to the hospital with symptoms of slurred speech, headache, confusion, diarrhoea, high fever and kidney problems, which had developed after petting her dog closely and getting licked by it. This disease commonly spreads in people who have less immunity.
New-born babies are equally at risk as their immune systems are not mature enough to fight these kinds of infections. Caretakers should make it a point to keep their new-borns away from dogs.
5 Other Than Licks, Think about This
Other than licks, there are other ways of coming in contact with dog saliva. Playing fetch the ball, is very risky as well. As the ball from the dog’s mouth comes in contact with your hands, and inadvertently, you end up touching your face, it could prove equally dangerous as kissing or getting licked by dogs.
6 Keep Your Dog Well-Groomed
The best way to avoid getting infected from your dog and subsequently getting ill is to keep your pet healthy. De-worm your pets regularly and give them a bath bi-weekly. Brush their fur and keep them tick and fleas free. With a few precautions you can safeguard your family’s health.
7 Precautions You Could Take
It is important to wash your hands thoroughly after petting your dog, walking it, bathing it, administering it medicines, etc. Another important measure to be taken is to never let your dog lick your open wound. You could get infected due to the fact that germs get transmitted into the bloodstream very quickly.
While it is true that humans enjoy the unconditional love of dogs, it is also to be noted that potential hazards caused by their close proximity can be fatal. You may show your affection in ways other than kissing. Hugging it or giving it a pat on its back or a rub on the belly, are all equally good ways of displaying your fondness. Dogs are precious beings of love, but then, so is your life. Stay informed and be safe.