It is common for dogs to lick their owners’ faces as a sign of love and affection, however, do you ever wonder what would happen if your dog licks inside your mouth?
As strange as it may seem, this behavior raises concerns about our health and safety.
So, what happens if a dog licks inside your mouth?
We outline what happens if a dog licks inside your mouth and what you need to know to keep both yourself and your canine companion safe. So, let’s dive in!
Here’s what happens if a dog licks inside your mouth
A dog licking inside your mouth can be a health risk due to the risks of infection and disease transmission from a dog’s mouth which contains a wide variety of bacteria, some of which can be harmful to humans. Allergic reactions are also possible for people who are allergic to dog saliva.
Why do dogs lick faces?
Dogs may lick their owner’s faces for a variety of reasons, including:
Dogs are social animals and use various forms of physical contact to show affection to their human companions. Licking can be a way for dogs to express their love and bond with their owners.
Dogs may also lick faces as a way to greet their owners. This behavior is often seen when dogs are excited or happy to see their owners after a period of separation.
Licking can also be a submissive behavior in dogs. When a dog licks the face of another dog, it’s a sign of submission and deference. Similarly, when a dog licks a human’s face, it can be a way of showing respect and submission.
Dogs use their sense of smell and taste to explore their environment. Licking can be a way for dogs to gather information about their surroundings and learn more about their human companions.
Dogs also have a strong sense of taste and may lick faces as a way of tasting food or other substances on a person’s skin.
Potential health risk of a dog licking inside your mouth
Dog licking is generally a harmless behavior, however it can pose health risks if the dog is carrying bacteria or viruses that can be transmitted to humans through their saliva. This includes:
A dog’s mouth can contain various bacteria, including Capnocytophaga canimorsus and Pasteurella multocida, which can cause infections in humans.
These bacteria can be transmitted through a dog’s saliva when it comes into contact with an open wound or enters the bloodstream through the lining of the mouth or nose.
Dogs can also carry viruses such as rabies and herpesvirus, which can be transmitted to humans through a dog’s saliva. While these infections are rare, they can be severe and potentially life-threatening.
Dogs can also carry fungi such as ringworm and Cryptococcus, which can cause infections in humans.
These fungi can be transmitted through a dog’s saliva or through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects.
Dogs can carry parasites such as hookworms, roundworms, and Giardia, which can be transmitted to humans through a dog’s saliva or feces.
These parasites can cause a range of symptoms, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea.
What to do if a dog licks inside your mouth
If your dog licks inside your mouth, it is important to take immediate action to reduce the risk of infection or illness. Here are some steps you can take:
Spit out any saliva
If your dog’s saliva entered your mouth, spit it out to reduce the risk of infection.
Rinse your mouth
Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water to help remove any bacteria or germs that may have been transmitted from your dog’s saliva.
Wash your face and hands
Wash your face and hands with soap and water to remove any bacteria or germs that may have been transferred from your dog’s saliva.
Monitor for symptoms
Watch for any signs of infection or illness, such as fever, chills, or swelling. If you develop any symptoms, seek medical attention right away.
Keep your dog’s vaccinations up-to-date
Make sure your dog is up-to-date on all of their vaccinations, including rabies, to reduce the risk of illness transmission.
Train your dog
Train your dog to refrain from licking your face or mouth. This can help prevent the spread of bacteria or germs and reduce the risk of illness transmission.
Lastly, if you have any concerns about your dog’s behavior or health, consult with a veterinarian for more advice.
Dog licking is generally a harmless behavior, however it is important to take precautions to protect yourself from potential health risk if your dog is carrying bacteria or viruses that can be transmitted to you through their saliva.
While dogs may lick your face as a display of affection, greeting, submission, exploration, or tasting, it is important to practice good hygiene when interacting with your dog and to monitor for any signs of illness or infection if you have been licked by a dog.
Rinse your mouth, wash your face and hands, and keep your dog’s vaccinations up-to-date to reduce the risk of infection.