Vet explains why you should never let a dog lick your face

EVERYONE loves to show how much they love their dogs with cuddles and kisses, but a vet has warned of the dangers of letting pets lick your face.

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A reader on our sister site TeamDogs posted a question asking: “Should you allow your dog to kiss you on the lips?” While sharing a kiss with your four-legged friends is a natural way to show affection, it usually is a wet and messy situation and filled with hidden nasties.

Zoe Costigan, in-house vet at Itch, explained that dog kisses are not innocent and can pass faecal matter, gut parasites and human disease on with a simple smooch of the lips.

She said: “Allowing your dog to lick or kiss your face is a personal preference, and personally, I am not keen on my dog licking or kissing my face.

Instead of buying special Kong stuffing, stuff a Kong with cheese cubes and place in the microwave for five seconds.

“Dogs lick their owners for several reasons and it’s generally a sign of affection, however, they can lick if they are anxious and seeking reassurance.”

Vet explains why you should never let a dog lick your face

Itch in-house vet Zoe Costigan warns dog owners to not let their dogs lick their face (Image: ALAMY) Sign up for FREE for latest news plus tips to save money and the environment Invalid email

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So, the loveable licks that pet parents are so guilty of allowing, can actually spread a great deal of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to your mouth.

To stress the health concerns of dog kisses, Zoe reminds us of everything that a dog does with its tongue.

“Dogs clean themselves with their mouths and this includes cleaning around the anus, so there is a possibility that faecal matter, which is contaminated with bacteria or gut parasites, such as giardia or roundworm eggs, could then be transferred to the owner when the dog licks their face.

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“Bacteria passed from dog to owner in this way can result in human disease. Not to mention, dogs spend a fair amount of time with their noses in various undesirable places, such as other dog’s bottoms, rotting food and other animal’s faeces whilst out on walks.”

READ MORE:Dog owners warned as new research claims kibble has hidden dangers

Vet explains why you should never let a dog lick your face

Bacteria or gut parasites, such as giardia or roundworm eggs can be transferred if a dog licks you (Image: ALAMY)

While Zoe stresses that it is a personal choice, she explains that we don’t have to let our dogs kiss our lips. We can train them to show affection in other ways.

Kissing is a learnt behaviour which will become more frequent if rewarded, and likewise if this behaviour is discouraged and/or ignored, it will stop.”

Stuff a Kong With Treats to Keep Them Busy. Stuff a Kong with some yummy treats to keep your dog occupied, and for a tougher challenge you can freeze them in there. You don’t need fancy dog treats or stuffing either – here’s 39 food & treats I like to Stuff in Kongs.

So next time your dog jumps up and wants to shower you with puppy kisses, you may want to think twice about where their tongue has been.

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