You love your sweet precious Pug, so of course you want to let him know by giving lots of kisses on his head and also his mouth and telling him “kisses” so he returns his affection. You do not think that when your Pug licks your cheek, nose or mouth that there is anything unsanitary about it or that it could make you sick.
You have always heard that our mouths are not as clean as a dog’s mouth because when they lick their wounds they get healed. Research has found that the dogs tongue is very rough removing from the open wound contaminants and this is the reason their wounds are healed. Results from research showed that bacteria is found in the mouths of dogs and humans and through kissing could be transmitted to each other. The bacteria present in the plaque that was tested in humans and dogs and causing disease is called “peridontopathic.” A severe form of gum disease known as periodontis that could lead to kidney disease, diabetes and heart disease due to the fact that is causes the supporting tissues of the tooth to be destroyed.
Dogs that play out in the yard will possibly consume or step in fecal matter without your knowledge and by them licking themselves putting you and your family’s health at risk could contract germs and bacteria, such as hookworms, tapeworms, salmonella and toxocara. Hookworms are thin small worms less than an inch long intestinal parasites that attach to the wall of the intestines and feed on tissues or blood that migrate through the belly or the paws and affect humans. They are passed in the feces and hatch into larvae after several days under warm moist conditions. Tapeworms enter by ingesting the immediate host containing larvae and the eggs are ingested through adult fleas. Pieces of it break off into segments as it grows and pass into the dogs’ intestines. In the dog’s feces or under the tail you will notice white to cream colored dried pieces. Some are too small to see because they resemble a sesame seed, others you will be able to see well. Due to the itching dogs may bite or lick the anus or drag their hind quarters across the floor.
Salmonella is a bacterial infection causing fever abdominal cramps and diarrhea twelve to seventy two hours after infected and could last four to seven days. Treatment is not needed in most people but the severity of the diarrhea could cause the person to be hospitalized. Toxocara is known as Roundworms which are parasites in the intestines. They look like spaghetti noodles and are white to pale brown in color and grow to seven inches long. Soaking up the nutrients from the dog’s diet they hang out in the intestines. The larvae migrate through the intestinal wall and into other tissues in the body after ingestion where they enter a dormant state in adult dogs.
Roundworms can be transmitted from dogs to people and sometimes could result in blindness in children. Children’s hands and mouths should be kept away from dogs mouths to prevent them from contracting these diseases. The immune systems are very fragile in pregnant women as well as in senior citizens so they should be closely watched and restrict their exposure. Always be sure to wash your hands so there is less of a chance to contract any disease.
The research continues so we can understand more clearly how germs are shared between humans and dogs. Our dogs give us companionship, love and devotion so we should continue to embrace them by petting and hugging them and save the kisses for our family.
Photo credit: Christopher Michel/Flickr