Surely could not have a store named Pet Kisses without addressing this debatable topic. Is it safe to kiss your pet?
People have had a love for domestic animals and have been part of households since the begging of time. It is estimated that half of dog owners sleep with their pooch and that number rises to almost 65% for kitty owners. Three out of Four owners give their pets birthday and Christmas gifts and 40 percent say they’d rather hang out with their pets than with their partners( perhaps if people were not so annoying or if they came to bed with kitty briefs on, it wouldn't be that much!)
Given these figures, it’s no surprise that kissing pets is common practice and that animals return the favor 10x over.
The controversy comes due to the enormous oral microbiome of bacteria, viruses, and yeast(dang girl, where has your mouth been!) Many veterinarians and doctors have stated that humans shouldn’t let dogs lick their faces at all because certain things that thrive in canine mouths can transfer to humans and cause a lot of diseases.
Risks of worms, Clostridium, E. coli, salmonella or campylobacter, all of which can cause severe intestinal disease. Also can exacerbate periodontal disease in humans. Then there is this Emerging Infectious Disease called Zoonoses. Yes Seriously. I didn't make it up haha. This bug has mild symptoms but can morph into daunting illnesses, such as meningitis.
Cats tend to kiss us less ( alothough I am quite fond of cat kisses personally...but maybe thats a different topic!) and aren't as quick to be smelling the neighbor's butt, but they too can create issues. Pasteurella or the eponymously named cat scratch fever, both of which cause potentially serious skin and lymph node infections.
Before you banish the poor mutt to the land of no kisses where you former beaus reside, you should know that there’s another side to the story. Several studies have found that dog saliva can speed up wound healing, just as the ancient Egyptians and Greeks believed. A Netherlands study found that dog saliva contains a substance called histatin, which helps new cells to spread. Other research found that when saliva contacts skin it creates nitric oxide, which inhibits bacteria and infection, and a protein in saliva called Nerve Growth Factor that halves the time for wound healing. And as pointed out in Psychology Today, “the saliva of a dog’s tongue acts to loosen any debris that may be on the surface of the wound. Any dirt or other debris will also become attached to the moisture of the saliva, thus at the very least, the area of the wound will be cleansed
Scientists claim dog saliva might actually boost immunity and help alleviate allergies and asthma. Studies have long recognized that kids brought up with dogs have lower rates of asthma, allergy, and immune-related skin conditions like eczema. Researchers hypothesize, is because canine saliva might work as a kind of probiotic, inoculating people against allergens.
All of these diseases seemingly have a low risk. I know I for one have kissed much worse two-legged kind! Substantially higher risk comes to dealing with the periodontal disease. This is far more common in animals and can easily transform to us humans.
It’s estimated that 85% of all pets have periodontal disease by the time they are three years of age. Periodontal disease is a progressive disease of the supporting tissues surrounding teeth and the main cause of early tooth loss.
Periodontal disease starts when bacteria combine with food particles to form plaque on the teeth. Within days, minerals in the saliva bond with the plaque to form tartar, a hard substance that adheres to the teeth. The bacteria work their way under the gums and cause gingivitis — inflammation of the gums. Once under the gums, bacteria destroy the supporting tissue around the tooth, leading to tooth loss. This condition is known as periodontitis. Gingivitis and periodontitis make up the changes that are referred to as periodontal disease. The bacteria associated with periodontal disease can also travel in the bloodstream to infect the heart, kidneys, and liver.
A professional veterinary dental cleaning is the only way to remove tartar from the teeth and under the gum tissue to protect your pet’s health. With a professional dental cleaning and follow-up care, gingivitis is reversible. Periodontal disease is not reversible, but diligent at-home dental care and regular veterinary cleanings can slow down the progression of the condition.
So as long as we aren't sniffing dirty butts with our pets, have them checked regularly by a vet and we keep their chompers clean, Pet Kisses are ok!