Why you shouldn't let your dog 'kiss' you on the mouth

·Yahoo Life UK contributor
·3-min read
There are some pretty gross reasons you shouldn't let your dog 'kiss' you on the mouth. (Getty Images)
There are some pretty gross reasons you shouldn't let your dog 'kiss' you on the mouth. (Getty Images)

Allowing your dog to kiss, or should we say lick, you on the mouth might seem like a natural expression of affection (if somewhat a little icky), but there are some important reasons you might want to resist.

For many dog owners there is no greater feeling than being greeted with an affectionate, yet slobbery, kiss from their furry friend, but while it's undoubtedly endearing, it's also pretty unsanitary.

“Dogs aren’t known for their hygiene, they don’t (usually) brush their teeth or rinse with mouthwash, and they’ve probably never visited a dentist," explains Dr Khaled Kasem, dental expert at Impress.

"Their daily routine consists of eating leftovers on the floor, licking their bum, and checking out dead animals left on the pavement. Ultimately, their mouth is filthy!"

Dr Kasem says dogs' daily activities often result in a build-up of bacteria in your dog's mouth and although the majority is probably harmless, they can pick up parasites and bacteria that can make humans ill.

"Whether they’ve drunk contaminated water or sniffed animal waste, these bacteria will not boost your immune health, as some have argued," he explains.

Read more: Dog welfare charity warns about dangers of canine chocolate consumption

While dogs showing affection in this way is undoubtedly cute, it's also pretty unhygienic. (Getty Images)
While dogs showing affection in this way is undoubtedly cute, it's also pretty unhygienic. (Getty Images)

Not only can human infection with pet parasites cause a wealth of intestinal diseases, including salmonella, ringworm, and hookworm, but it also transfers damaging bacteria to your teeth and gums, which can lead to gum disease.

"Severe gum disease can affect the tissues that support teeth and holds them in place. If left untreated, the jawbone can decay, opening up spaces in between the gums and teeth – resulting in tooth loss!"

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Avoiding getting up close and personal with your pet can be beneficial for them too.

"Whilst it is lovely that we share such a special bond with dogs it is important that we don’t encourage behaviours which may potentially end up being dangerous when the puppy becomes a fully grown adult," explains Esme Wheeler, dog welfare expert and behaviourist at the RSPCA.

"Dogs can also find close facial contact and kissing threatening and it is important to remember that these sorts of interactions can pose a danger especially to children."

Read more: Dog dangers of summer: How to keep your pet safe all season

Experts don't recommend allowing your dog to kiss your face. (Getty Images)
Experts don't recommend allowing your dog to kiss your face. (Getty Images)

Wheeler says being consistent from a very early age, about not allowing dogs to lick your face can really help dogs to understand what is expected of them.

"Instead of kissing and licking we would recommend greeting your dog in a way that is not harmful or dangerous by stroking them to the side of their body," she suggests.

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And if a dog does lick around your mouth there are some steps you can take to reduce the germ-y impact.

"If your furry pal does give you a kiss, make sure to brush and floss straight away to remove any bacteria, and try to discourage the behaviour in the future," Dr Kasem explains.

So there you have it: kiss your pooch at your own risk!

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