Cat Kisses – Are Those Loving Licks Dangerous ?!
There is a theory or a myth that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s mouth. It’s debatable, but those puppy smooches and cat kisses could be very harmful to our human health.
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While it may seem like a sweet and caring lick, a kitty kiss or a puppy slobber can be dangerous. The little gesture we may find endearing could actually be something we should not encourage. It’s mainly an issue of bacterial ecosystems. A human’s system is completely different from a cat and dog. In fact, we only share about 15% of the same bacteria. That means our immune systems and native bacteria are less likely to fight off a cat’s foreign bacteria.
Beyond the different bacterial makeup, a cat and dog’s saliva has staying power. According to a study done by Floyd Dewhirst, a bacterial geneticist at the Forsyth Institute and professor of oral medicine at Harvard, “If you’re licked by a dog, and someone were to take a Q-tip five hours later and rub that spot, they could recover over 50 different species of dog-mouth bacteria.”
Perhaps the rumors of the healing powers of dogs and cats like come from misinterpreted studies and stories. Veterinarian and host of the radio show Nine Lives with Dr. Kat. Kathryn Primm explained per National Geographic, “One 1990 study found that dogs’ saliva had slight antibacterial effects when a mother licks herself and her young. But both studies involved licking within the same species, not one species licking another with a mouth full of foreign bacteria.“
So, does this mean our pets are festering portals of harmful bacteria? No, not really. It is wise to keep those kisses to a minimum and reserve them for healthy adults instead of young children or older adults with weaker immune systems. “I always advise people to use standard hygiene,” Primm says. “After an animal licks your hands, it’s a good idea to wash them.”
Do you let your pet give you kisses? Does this information impact your thoughts on the cleanliness of those loving licks? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.