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Can I Kiss My Canine Companion?
The jury is out on the question: should or shouldn’t I kiss my pet? We take a look at some of the pros and cons of sharing kisses with your four-legged friend.
For some, this is a complete pet hate. Watching pet owners kiss their pets. From a little snout pout to a full-on face lick, some pet lovers commonly indulge in some furry friend kisses, while others couldn’t think of anything worst.
Let’s face it; we’ve all planted a big one on our pet’s face at some stage in our lives, or more to the point, been caught unaware as Fido planted a big slobbery smooch right on the smackers! So, the question to ponder … is it really that bad?
The Facts So Far
Your pet has an enormous number of germs residing on their noses and in their mouths. If we honestly think for a minute where our dogs and cats put their faces and noses on a daily basis, you can begin to understand why kissing our pets sends the creeps through many non-pet loving people.
By kissing your cat or dog, you are transferring these germs from their noses into your mouth. In saying this, perhaps some pets are more ‘safe’ to snog than others? After all, if your pet has recently ingested some poop (yes, we know who you are…) or a rotten sandwich festering in the bin, then perhaps your kissing ways could put you at risk of something more serious such as salmonella poisoning or even a parasite infestation like Giardia.
However, the most interesting facts are that some bacteria living in your pet’s face, or body, could be hugely beneficial for humans. Researchers at the University of Arizona are currently busy studying whether dogs can improve human health by having a probiotic effect on the body. It could prove that owning a dog, could be as beneficial as eating yoghurt or taking a probiotic.
A doctoral student in Anthropology, Kim Kelly, hopes her study will conclude that living with a dog can encourage the growth of micro-organisms in the human gut that has a positive impact on general physical and mental health. Stay tuned for more of this exciting research coming out of the USA.
What About the Cons?
So, it’s not all sweet-smelling roses, and it does come back to how much bacteria are present when you and your pet swap saliva (cue EWWWEEE response here).
To be honest, there isn’t a pet owner in the world who hasn’t had a good lick from their cat or dog at some point. The problem is not the actual licking, but more if bacteria enter your mouth.
A study coming out of Japan tested the amount of this bacteria and noted that both humans and dogs could cross contaminate each other by kissing. Bacteria can lead to Periodontitis, or severe gum disease. In other words, by kissing your pet, you could be putting the health of your teeth and gums at risk as you are introducing bacteria not commonly found in the human mouth. Periodontitis is also linked with other worrying diseases and the health of your entire body.
Perhaps the answer is to keep the kissing away from the mouth (top of the head) and keep up with a good dental regime?
The jury is still out…