SlimDoggy MythBuster #2

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Today’s myth-busting is about a dog’s mouth. Maybe you’ve heard the old wives tale that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a humans? Is it true? Let’s break it down. Here’s a list of things I see Jack put in his mouth almost every day:jacksmouth

  1. dog food
  2. grass
  3. coyote poop
  4. rabbit poop
  5. bugs/flies/ants/whatever he finds on the ground
  6. bully sticks or maybe knuckle bones
  7. licks from his private parts
  8. a dead animal (on a good day:)

What do I put in my mouth? Well, none of that stuff, that’s for sure – plus I brush and floss and mouthwash! So it’s a no-brainer right? But it is widely believed – and typically invoked by a pet owner whose dog is slobbering all over you.

It might have come from the idea that dogs lick their wounds as a healing mechanism (another myth we will look at someday). The thinking is that a dog’s mouth must be ‘cleaning’ the wound and therefore cleaner than a humans. I used to think there might be some truth to this because a dog’s body temperature is higher than a humans, so they naturally burned more bacteria. Wrong.

The truth is that a dog’s mouth is not cleaner than a humans. It may not have exactly the same types of bacteria as a humans, but it has it’s own set germs that could be harmful to you.  But, according to this ABC interview with vet Dr. Martin Becker, you are probably in just as much danger of contracting a disease or illness from kissing a human, so if your dog wants to give you a kiss – let ’em.

Here’s some other readings I found if you want to know more about this myth:

What do you think  – do you let your dog kiss your mouth?




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  1. Thanks…then I won’t worry about eating some wabbit droppings and then giving my mom a big old kiss 🙂 I really bet that little kids hands, that are always into something and in their mouths, have at least as much bad stuff as our doggy mouths. No matter, dog kisses are great!
    emma recently posted…A New Adventure Walk | GBGV | FitDog FridayMy Profile

  2. Love it! I let everyone of my dogs kiss me on the lips, John tells me “they just licked there junk” and I look at him like “I don’t care”. I even let the clinic dogs kiss me on the face. Some dogs mouths are cleaner than the humans mouths that don’t brush but then the dog dental we did the other day where we had to pull 22 teeth was surly not cleaner than mine.
    joann stancer recently posted…Follow-up FridayMy Profile

    • That sounds horrible- 22 teeth? Someone neglected to care for their pet’s oral health!
      steve recently posted…SlimDoggy MythBuster #2My Profile

  3. Who knows, for sure, which mouth is cleaner? I sure don’t. But at least nasty, ugly, “dirty” words don’t come out of a dog’s mouth. I let my own dogs give me kisses, and my friend’s and family dogs, but strangers’ dogs I tend to give my hands to lick. I mean, really, do you let a stranger kiss you on the mouth? I don’t, so I won’t let their dog do it either — tho, truthfully, I’d sooner allow their dog to do it. I just have a more natural affinity with dogs than most people. What can I say? My Mom used to tease me by saying “if I had it all to do over again, I’d have dogs instead of kids”. I took my clue from that — I have a stepson, but my own kids are furry ones with tails.

    • So true. Dog’s don’t know any 4 letter words. But they do know at least one 5 letter word: B-A-C-O-N!
      steve recently posted…SlimDoggy MythBuster #2My Profile

  4. I’m totally jealous that Jack gets to eat coyote poop. I get my fill of rabbit poop and goose poop, but we don’t have coyotes here. 🙁 I’m something of a connoisseur of poop, my favorite being goose and rabbit, with horse poop next, then cat poop. But I digress. (The poop-eating totally grosses my mom out, so I can only do it when she’s not looking or if I can eat it quickly enough so I don’t get caught.)

    I wonder if the myth is from the rate of infection for dog bites versus human bites? But we can’t imagine that the rate of infection from dog bites is less, considering that they often result in puncture wounds which have a high risk of infection.

    Garth Riley recently posted…Wordless Wednesday – BarkWorld EditionMy Profile

    • Garth- maybe we should run an experiment. Let’s have all the humans bite all the dogs and see what happens?
      steve recently posted…SlimDoggy MythBuster #2My Profile

  5. I have a friend who let her dog lick a sore on her leg. I thought it was totally gross, but she seemed to think the dog had healing power. Then the sore got infected and a doctor had to explain some facts of life to her. I love my dogs but we do not exchange saliva.
    jan recently posted…August Golden Poodle awardsMy Profile

  6. haha I never thought it was cleaner however, I think people have more cooties so I’m gonna let my Titan kiss away! 😉
    Bren recently posted…What Do You Know About Beaverdam Pet Food?My Profile

  7. Good to know, because I get attacked with dogs kisses several times a day x3. I have to share this one.
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…Fur Mom Confessions | 1-800-PetMeds Sent Our Dog a Kitty #1800PetMedsMy Profile

  8. I’ve met plenty of humans with bad breath, so i know who i would rather kiss Sheba’s not caused me any problems yet..
    Sheba’s Life Story recently posted…Sunday Funday.My Profile

  9. I wrote a post once about being afraid my dog should not kiss me when I had a really bad cold…or they might catch it 🙂 Turns out that they cant and a lot of ailments are not transferrable. Dog poop on the lips sure is though! That’s why I make Chester wait an hour after eating poop to kiss me. Give him time to lick it all off. Ha, ha. Whaddayagonnado? 🙂
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    • Yeah, I usually make them drink some water and wait awhile 🙂
      mkob recently posted…Black & White Sunday 9-1-13My Profile

  10. Frankie and Beryl aren’t lickers and I’m not disappointed by that 🙂 I am a little disappointed that neither of them are lap dogs, but it’s probably a good thing in Beryl’s case. I’d constantly have bruises from her hip bones!
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  11. My bipeds don’t like being licked by me or the cats. They say the cats are worse because their tongues are rough!
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  12. You forgot deer poop. lol I am not a fan of dogs licking me, I must admit.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Monday Mischief–Storm Has Her Own IdeaMy Profile

    • Oddly, no deer around here or at least not that I’ve seen, but if it was around, it would be eaten.
      mkob recently posted…Maggie MischiefMy Profile

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