Dog licks your face?
Wondering if that’s okay or a potential health disaster waiting to happen?
Afraid you’re opening up yourself to all kinds of gross zoonotic diseases?
Well, you’re not alone. I come across the question “is it okay if a dog licks your face?” all the time.
It’s a big topic out there because, as we all know, most dogs are face lickers.
Dogs are incredibly affectionate creatures, and one way they show that affection is by licking.
So since so many people want to know if its okay if a dog licks their face, let’s talk about it.
Is it Okay if a Dog Licks Your Face?
The short answer is yes. Nothing bad is going to happen to you. You won’t come down with some crazy dog diseases. You’ll just get a face full of slobber.
Here’s the thing about a dog’s mouth. It’s not a death trap of disease. In fact, some studies show that a dog’s mouth is even cleaner than a humans!
I know it’s hard to believe, but there it is. If you’re not a HUGE dog person, you might find it gross, but you most likely won’t get sick from slobbery dog kisses!
However, in the interest of keeping all cards on the table, let’s look at the two biggest risks associated with dog saliva. And by big, I mean the most likely of all unlikely scenarios.
The (Slight) Risks if a Dog Licks Your Face
A dog’s mouth and intestines can harbor bacteria and parasites that may – MAY – be transmitted to humans. However, it’s highly unlikely if your dog is well-cared for, sees a vet regularly, and gets everything he needs for continued good health.
That being said, let’s take a look at some potential – however unlikely – problems.
Found in the mouths of cats and dogs, this bacteria can cause skin, lymph node, and sometimes, more severe infections. Theoretically, humans can become infected by this bacteria by coming into contact with a dog’s saliva.
Notice the word “theoretically.” In the 7 years I worked at the vet and in 20 years of dog ownership, I have never seen this happen. It is however a concern if you are bitten by a dog, but that’s another topic entirely.
2. Salmonella, E. coli, Clostridia, and Campylobacter
These are all intestinal bacteria. Most human infection is due to contaminated hands making contact with the mouth.
Again, it’s a theoretical possibility that you could become sick if a dog licks your face, but – again – there is no actual proof that this can occur. I certainly have never seen it in all my years of working with dogs.
A dog’s intestinal tract can be home to many parasitic worms and single celled parasites. Eggs passed from feces can infect humans, but as with the bacteria above, this most often occurs from contact between a hand which has come into contact with feces and the mouth.
With the exception of the single celled parasites, Giardia and Cryptosporidia, it is almost impossible for these to be transmitted to you if a dog licks your face.
All of the above are possible if not plausible, especially if your dog routinely sees the vet. If your dog receives regular preventative care, none of these will be an issue for you.
It’s All About Your Preference
Maybe you like it when your dog licks your face. Maybe you hate it.
Maybe you don’t care one way or the other.
Whatever the case, the important thing to remember is that you will not get sick if your dog licks your face. You may get grossed out, but you won’t get sick.
So the next time your dog plants a big wet one on you, don’t worry that you’re going to become infected with some crazy disease.
It’s not happening.
Do you get worried when your dog licks your face? Share your biggest concerns below!