Are Dogs’ Mouths Cleaner Than Humans?

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Dogs pantingWhen you get home, does your dog greet you with kisses and licks? You’re not alone. My dog loves jumping up and down and is determined to kiss my face. She can jump pretty high and is more successful at this than I’d like her to be. But I’m not a fan of puppy kisses on my face, it kind of grosses me out. Is this something I need to be concerned about or am I just overreacting? It’s time to settle the question, “Is dog saliva cleaner than humans?” Find the answer below!

Dog Lick Q&A

Below are some common questions and facts about dog licks.

Are Dog Licks Clean?

“Clean” isn’t an easy word to use for describing dog licks. Dog saliva has some characteristics that make humans think it’s clean, but we wouldn’t recommend using your dog’s saliva to clean your dishes. Dog saliva is antibacterial which is why they often lick their wounds. The saliva creates a film on the wound which numbs the area and reduces the pain. However, the bacteria in dog saliva can be harmful to humans which is why you should not let your dog lick any wounds you have because it could lead to infection.

Is A Dog’s Mouth Cleaner Than A Human’s?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s. I don’t mind kisses from my dog, but I’m not crazy about her kissing my mouth, that’s where I draw the line. “A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s” is a complete myth. Think about it, dogs (not all) sometimes lick their private region, eat out of the trash, bring dead animals to the doorstep and drink out of the toilet. Humans (not all) brush their teeth twice a day, floss once a day, use mouthwash daily and don’t do any of the things listed above that dogs do.

Are Dogs’ Mouths Clean?

It depends on the dental hygiene practices used by the pet parent. A dog who has its teeth brushed, eats dental chews and visits the vet regularly probably has a cleaner mouth than a stray dog. It also can depend on the dog. Some dogs are predisposed to periodontal disease and other dental issues.

Is It Bad To Kiss Your Dog On The Mouth?

Surprisingly, there are mixed opinions on this. I assumed that when I researched this question, I’d come up with, “Yeah, it’s fine to kiss your dog on the mouth, it’s just not the cleanest,” but I was wrong. In most instances, your dog licking your face is harmless. However, in some instances, the transmission of disease between pets and people can be very serious. If you have an open wound or sore and the bacteria from your dog’s saliva contacts comes in contact with it, you could obtain an infection that can progress quickly. However, many times the infection can be treated with antibiotics. This is why you shouldn’t let your dog lick your face, period.

Find Out Why Your Dog Has Bad Breath

Is It Good For A Dog To Lick Your Wounds?

NO! Do not let your dog lick your wounds. Dog saliva has bacteria that can be harmful to humans and can create an infection. Learn more about why dogs lick wounds.

What Happens If A Dog Licks Your Cut?

If a dog licks your wound, there’s a chance that the wound may become infected, so it is best to keep your dog’s mouth away from the area. If you do get an accidental lick, be sure to clean your wound immediately with hydrogen peroxide and then cover it with a bandaid to avoid any further contamination.

Puppies Kissing Babies

There’s no denying that puppy kisses are adorable. Our dogs kiss us to show affection, and this compilation of doggies giving babies kisses is absolutely precious.

What Animal Has The Cleanest Mouth?

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to answer this question because animals have different types of oral bacteria, so it’s like comparing apples to oranges. Perhaps in the future, there will be a way to compare the different types of bacteria, but at this time, it’s impossible to say which animal has the cleanest mouth.

Other Interesting Facts About Dog Saliva

Dog saliva does have some unique qualities compared to humans. For example, dog saliva is better at preventing cavities than human saliva. Their saliva is also used to help them swallow and get food down the esophagus, whereas for humans saliva helps with digestion. Possibly the most interesting thing I learned researching this article was that there are proteins in dog saliva which are responsible for allergies humans have. We often blame dog dander for our allergies, but in reality, it could be their saliva! You can also read our article to find out why dogs lick.

Do you let your dog give you kisses on the face?

About The Author:

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. She has been writing about dogs since 2014, covering subjects such as dog insurance, training, health, accessories and more. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing and personally testing canine products and services. With every piece she writes, her goal is to help our readers find the best fit for their unique needs.

Kimberly grew up in a family that loved Labrador Retrievers and remembers running and playing in the yard with them as a child. In 2017, she and her husband adopted their Coonhound mix, Sally, from a local shelter. Kimberly's research was put to good use since Sally faced some aggression issues with other dogs and needed some training to be an inside dog. She worked daily with Sally and sought help from professionals to help Sally become the happy pup she is today.

One of Kimberly's favorite pastimes is spoiling Sally with new toys, comfy beds and yummy treats (she even makes homemade goodies for her). She tries to purchase the safest products for Sally and knows that each canine has their own specific likes and dislikes. Kimberly is passionate about dogs, and knows the bond between humans and canines is like no other.

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April
Great article Kimberly, really informative and well-written/researched. Thanks for solving this question I’ve had for years once and for all!
Dennis Bill Nottingham
No known cure for digging holes?