To Smooch Or Not To Smooch: How Healthy Is My Pet’s Mouth?

To Smooch Or Not To Smooch: How Healthy Is My Pet’s Mouth?


Madison_Schertz_iStock_000044276980_LargeWe’ve all done it from time to time. You arrive home after a long day at work, greeted at the door by your adorable, exuberant pet and you immediately gather him or her up for a hug and kiss. After all, this is how we show our human family members that we love them, and our pets are part of the family too, right?

Although it’s common for pet owners to kiss their pets, is it safe? Are our pet’s mouths healthy? Is it possible to catch or transmit an illness this way? Do our pets even like it when we kiss them?

No, Your Pet’s Mouth Is Not Cleaner Than Yours

The old wives tale that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s is simply not true. The mouths of humans, dogs, and cats are all teeming with bacteria. While most of the bacteria found in your pet’s mouth won’t make you sick, and vice versa, there are other reasons not to plant a kiss on your pet’s lips, or let him or her lick you near the mouth, including:

  • Parasites – Hookworm, roundworm, and Giardia are just a few of the parasites that can be transferred to humans via our pet’s saliva.
  • Bacteria – Salmonella can make both people and pets sick, and can be passed from pet to person or vice versa through saliva.
  • Scavenger alert – It’s impossible to know where your pet’s mouth has been! Maybe it’s been sniffing another animal’s rear end, or nosing about in the trash, or perhaps sampling the contents of the litter box. Needless to say, whatever particles were on that adorable pet mouth when you give it a smooch will now be on yours.

Does My Pet Enjoy Kisses?

Humans and animals have vastly different ways of expressing their affection. Kissing and hugging are most likely not recognized by pets as signs of affection, even though for us they are important ways to show love.

The best way to tell if your pet is comfortable with your displays of affection is to simply observe his or her reaction to them. Are your dog’s ears forward and his or her tail held high? Is your cat nuzzling or leaning into you? A pet who does not enjoy hugs and kisses or who has grown tired of them will let you know by tensing up, walking away, or other signs of dissatisfaction.

There Are Many Ways To Show Your Pet Some Love

There’s no doubt that our dogs and cats love us, and there are so many ways we can return that love that don’t require the intermingling of human and animal saliva. Playing with our pets, exercising them, giving them the occasional (healthy) treat, training them, speaking kindly to them, and just being together are wonderful expressions of love that all pets will understand.

Your friends at Schertz Animal Hospital look forward to seeing your pet soon! Don’t hesitate to call us with any questions or concerns, or to schedule an appointment for your furry loved one.

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Schertz Animal Hospital

Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!