Should I kiss my dog?

When you love your dog, you get pretty close. Every interaction feels like a natural part of your friendship. You hang out together every day. You walk and run through the neighborhood. Then, you roll on the floor sometimes and snuggle up together as you watch TV. If you’re like many pet owners, you never think to yourself, “Should I kiss my dog.” Sometimes it just comes naturally. 

During your closest moments, you allow your pet to cover your face with doggie licks and kisses. You believe that it’s okay. After all, you’ve heard that your dog’s mouth is probably cleaner than yours. But, perhaps it’s time to rethink that idea. The CDC suggests that, before you let your best friend lick your face, consider what he might have been doing with his nose, mouth, tongue. 

Where Has Your Dog’s Face Been?

Dogs regularly bury their noses into dog food, feces, and body parts. If they play outside, they use their noses and tongues to investigate insects, dead animals, and many other curiosities. If your dog picks up a germ or two, his kisses won’t necessarily infect you, but they could. The potential for disease increases for children five and under, older adults, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems. 

Learn About Zoonotic Conditions 

Each doggie kiss has the potential to pass along a zoonotic disease. These types of diseases can affect both animals and humans. 

  • Parasites: hookworm, roundworm, and giardia 
  • Viruses: Rabies
  • Bacteria: Brucellosis, salmonella
  • Fungi: Ringworm 

Your pet’s mouth isn’t the only place you can catch a zoonotic medical condition. You can become infected through several types of pet interactions. 

  • Contact with infected animals: saliva, bites, urine, feces, etc.
  • Indirect Contact: contaminated animal living areas
  • Vectors: via ticks, fleas, etc.
  • Food: contaminated by an infected animal’s feces
  • Water: water contaminated by an infected animal’s feces 

Avoid Pet Diseases

There are some things you can do to avoid contracting a disease from your pet dog. Here are a few other suggestions. 

Keep your pet healthy

Take appropriate steps to keep your pet clean and free of parasites such as fleas and ticks. Make sure you maintain a regular schedule with your veterinarian. Your vet will provide critical vaccinations, wellness care, and treatment for diagnosed conditions. In addition, they will monitor your dog for contagious or non-contagious infections you might not have noticed. 

Keep your hands clean

Always wash your hands after interacting with your pet, his feces, bed, food, etc. Ensure your hands are free of pet contamination before touching dishes, clothing, baby items, food, or water. 

Washing with soap and water is one of the best ways to stop germs from spreading. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based (60%) hand sanitizer.

Keep your pet’s environment clean

Keeping your pet clean helps you and your family avoid potential contamination. 

  • Make sure your pet’s living and playing areas are clean. 
  • Clean away dog feces immediately, indoors and out
  • Keep your pet’s toys, food, bedding, and equipment out of your kitchen and dining areas

Protect young children

Keep an eye on young children when they play with your dog. 

  • Don’t allow your dog to scratch, nibble, or snuggle with your child. 
  • If your child asks, “Can I kiss my dog,” tell him no. 

Contact Hebron Veterinary Hospital

Contact us for more information about diseases you can contract through pet interaction. Give us a call at (860) 228-4324. Or visit our contact page.