The days we go to work and have a long never ending day. All we look forward is getting home and sitting on the couch of our home sweet home. The best part would be welcomed with a particular dance your little dog has specially choreographed for you and the never ending doggy saliva all over your face. Your dog has to be literally pushed away from giving those sloppy kisses. No matter how much we love it, the question is, is it really hygienic? Is it harmful?
Now let us understand first why animals usually lick. When we get hurt, our first reaction would be to cry as a child atleast. Although we become more tolerant to the pain as we grow up and refrain from crying! And we make sure that our wounds are kept clean because that would cause further infection and lead to graver problems. Similarly animals also take to licking as their first instinct when they get hurt or a wound is causing them a lot of pain. It is also done to keep their wound clean. Especially this is noticed in dogs and cats because when they lick we know something is wrong! So this is basically how they would cater to a wound had they been out in the wild on their own.
There has been a lot of myth and commotion about the dog having healing powers in its saliva. Actually if that would be true all of us would have been getting our wounds treated with the licking of a dog rather than visiting the doctor! Although the dog’s mouth is antimicrobial which means that is much hygienic than our own hands. Dogs have certain enzyme and proteins that acts as a anaerobic bacteria keeping the mouth area clean and it also helps healing certain kinds of wounds not the major ones! If you’ve ever noticed or experienced a dog always licks your wound if you have any. This is them just acting according to their instinct and licking is a saving grace for them. And since they are just full of unconditional love, they do the same for your wounds.
On the contrary, there is also another bacteria that is present called the Pastrurella, which acts as a vector for transmitting diseases onto other animals or even humans. There are many vector borne diseases that are spread through this bacteria. This might make you realize why treating wounds with a dog’s saliva aren’t such a good idea. There have even several been cases where the licking of the wounds by dogs has worsened the condition of the wounds. If the wound is fresh and deep, keep it off limits from the dog. Also if the dog has an injury, try telling him a firm ‘No’ when he tries to lick his wounds. And you cant hope for better sense to prevail in them because inspite of telling them ‘No’ it is their nature to lick. That is how they have been programmed to do for eons of years.
Dogs are attracted to the privates of the other dogs; rather that is how they greet each other when they meet for the first time. It is usually very embarrassing for us as dog owners to witness this, but smelling and licking of the privates are how they recognize each other. The theory or logic behind this mortifying habit is simple and straightforward. They do so because the privates are places where the scent of the dog is concentrated most at! The scent would have a suggestion about how the other dog is, friendly or not so friendly! So basically their friendship depends on how their individual privates smell! I mean who are we to judge but this is how it is! It is uncanny and indigestible at the start then you start to over look it. Also a lot of dogs are very delighted to have a lick of feces or garbage. Sometimes they know what to eat and what not to. They are very careful about their stomach and the food they ingest. Since feces and garbage are technically organic so it is alright, so don’t fret. Also this happens when you use the muzzle or the mouth guard every time you take your dog for a walk. The new found freedom will also lead to eating absurd things and eventually will stop doing so.
So much of bacteria involved, with the licking of wounds and privates of itself and others. And at the end of the day you still look forward to those sloppy kisses. Don’t be grossed out! Although it does all this, its mouth is still relatively clean and a few sloppy kisses will do more good than harm. Honestly, even I don’t know how to resist these sloppy kisses. It is like a battle between the heart and mind; the arch rivals since eternity. But at the end the when it actually comes down to heart and mind, the mind will tell you what is good and smart and the heart will tell you what your going to do anyways!