How Clean Is A Dog's Mouth? Should You Really Let Them Lick You? | Kidadl


How Clean Is A Dog's Mouth? Should You Really Let Them Lick You?

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Dogs are undoubtedly great friends who make you feel relaxed and loved with their sniffs, slurps, wagging tails, and flapping tongues; all their gestures of love and affection towards their owners.

They are lovable companions who are always there to lighten up your mood after a tiresome day. There are several traits of dogs that researchers keep examining like their co-evolution with humans, intelligence, senses, communication, and social behavior.

Their loyalty, playfulness, sociability, aggressiveness, and fearlessness are different from other animals and have always been attractive fields of research. Studies show that dogs have a sense of smell up to 100,000 times better than humans. Did you know that dogs have a sense of time, can sense human feelings, can be trained to detect cancer, and can experience separation anxiety? Read on to find out answers to questions like what is the dog mouth name, what is a dog mouth cover, dog mouth cap uses, and so on! After reading about cleaning a dog's mouth and teeth, also check out our facts on the alligator skull and goat hair.

What is a dog’s mouth called?

Did you know that a dog’s mouth is also called a muzzle or a snout? That long protruding part of the nose and the mouth jaws of your pet that you often pat is called a muzzle.

Often, a muzzle is mistaken for muzzle guards; for both are called the same. Some might call it a snout, which is very similar, only a snout is more about a nose while the muzzle is more about the mouth. The shape of the muzzle is different for different breeds of dogs. For example, the muzzle jaws appear different for German shepherds and pugs. A dog’s mouth, which houses its teeth, not only intakes food to the digestive tract but also performs a number of other functions. This includes communication and social interaction, grooming, sustenance, protection, and heat regulation. They are said to be the intimate connection gateway to the outside world! They are also one of the primary sites of diseases.

Are dog mouths clean?

Who doesn't love dogs? To show our affection and love for them, we let our dogs lick us and we even feed them from our hands. Dogs love when we hand-feed them as they take it as a token of our love and fondness.

Kids and grown-ups even kiss the snouts of their furry friends. Though we care least about the sanitariness of the muzzles, we must know if they are clean.

So yes, generally speaking, a dog’s mouth is not clean and if we compare them, then they are never cleaner than a human mouth. This is because the microbes and bacteria found in the muzzles and snouts of dogs are quite different from those found in humans. This is evident from the fact that dogs don't catch our cold and we don't catch theirs either!

Whenever a dog sniffs something unidentifiable or rancid, they are acquainted with microbes and bacteria. Humans don’t have such behavior and stay away from anything foul and stale. This is the primary reason why dog mouths are unclean. This is also why dog parents must take utmost care of their pet’s oral hygiene and schedule professional dental cleanings. Regular dental cleaning through the use of chew toys, dog toothpaste, or suitable treats can, however, cleanse their mouths to a great extent. We can also keep our dogs from litter bins so that they don't come across anything filthy. You can also get a toothbrush as well as a dog's mouth cleaner or specialty dog toothpaste for your doggy to avoid bad breath and for healthy teeth.

Should you let your dog lick you?

It is normal for an owner to see their dogs, regardless of their breeds, with saliva dripping off their tongue in a sticky form. You might even find that your dog's favorite chew toy is often coated in saliva. You don't need to worry though, it is completely healthy and even cute to look at. Most dogs chew toys, and this doesn't mean you need to be concerned for you or your dog's health.

Dog saliva will not cause any health issues to humans. When we show our attentiveness and love to dogs by petting, patting, and hand-feeding them, they in return lick and kiss us to show their bond as they cannot talk. Have you thought about why your dog licks you and if it should be allowed? Dogs lick when they are physically hurt, to show affection, or due to a change in their environment. Obsessive licking could be due to extreme anxiety, boredom, fear, or some other underlying issues. 

Another reason is that they like licking human skin and nipping your fingers because they taste salty, especially after vigorous exercises. They may also be able to sniff food particles on your skin after a delicious meal. It is quite common for dogs to lick themselves as their saliva has anti-bacterial and microbial properties which help in fighting against certain bacteria and in removing dead tissues and dirt from wounds. If their saliva has some really good properties, is it safe for you too?

Most licking is harmless and a sign of self-expression from the dog. As long as you don’t have germaphobia (fear of germs) or a germaphobic friend, it’s totally alright to allow your dog to lick you. As licking is pleasurable for your dog and it brings them comfort, there is no harm in letting them do it. Often, licking is a gentle gesture and settles them, keeping them relaxed. However, you might want to avoid slurps and flapping tongues on your face because as said before, dogs often devour things that could be disgusting and happen to bring in bacteria and parasites. They often lick their genitals or may consume contaminated water. It may be harmless for them but humans might pick up these pathogens, resulting in diseases like diarrhea. There is also the chance that humans might catch infections from this doggy gesture. Encourage kisses and licks on the cheeks but not near your nose or mouth for you might easily get acquainted with bacterial infections otherwise.

It’s a known fact that some people are allergic to dog furs but did you know that some can be allergic to their saliva too? According to one study, dog saliva has at least 120 allergy-causing properties so you might want to think twice before letting your pet near your guests and kids. There are also myths that dog saliva can heal human wounds but this is not true and even if they do heal it is unlikely that it was your dog's saliva that was effective.  Make sure you wash your hands and face to avoid risks of illness after your dog is done showing its affection.

If you get annoyed with your dog's licking behavior, you can simply ignore them or walk into another room if they persist. Redirecting them and switching them to other activities will help you get rid of the behavior of excessive licking. Give them treats for this or give an obedience command to force them to stop. Give them a hug or throw some toys and try to shift their attention if you don't want obsessive licking.

Female groomer brushing dog's teeth.

How To Tie A Dog’s Mouth

There are instances when we have to tie the mouth of our furry friend. It could be because they are way too aggressive or during veterinary visits for vaccines or treatments. It’s also important to tie their mouth if your pet has a history or risk of biting or has grooming sessions at periodic intervals.

If you are wondering how this is done or if you are a new parent to your puppy, then you should have a muzzle guard at your home. If you don’t know the behavior of your dog or they have an upset stomach or ailing wounds, you can easily place a muzzle guard over their mouth to take them to the vet without any difficulty.

However, it's advisable not to make them wear a muzzle-guard for behavioral problems like barking or chewing and it should only be used for short periods of time or in an emergency as they might pant excessively and fall short of breath, especially if not accustomed to using them before. There are varied types of muzzle-guards like soft muzzle-guards, basket muzzle-guards, and homemade muzzle-guards for different purposes like training, emergency situations, or for extra comfort.

Mouth caps are also used to avoid biting and scavenging in pups and untrained dogs. These give them more comfort than muzzle guards and leashes. You can also get your dogs soft and lightweight mouth covers to stop them from biting, excessively barking, and licking. It can also keep them away from street leftovers. Make sure you use safe and soft mouth covers made of non-toxic silicone and that your doggo is comfortable with whichever type you use.

It is important to clean your dog's mouth. A dog mouth contains many bacteria along with uncleaned contents that can cause damage to the dog. There are dog mouth cleaners available to help make the job easier. A cleaner is not necessary, just regular teeth brushing is more than enough since a dog's mouth plays host to the bacterial family. Be it a puppy or a dog that can talk (bark), cleaning is necessary. A pup is normally easier to control, and it will be better to make it a habit from the time that the dog is a pup so that your dog gets used to regular cleaning.

In the case of aggressive dogs, putting them through training is necessary to control their aggression. They might bark, try to bite your finger while brushing, and have tantrums because they think that it might hurt them and they need to protect their life, which makes it hard to brush their teeth. To save your finger and for brushing their teeth well, they need to go through training as puppies, since puppies will get used to the process quickly.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for dog mouth then why not take a look at ant antenna or pug facts.

Written By
Supriya Jain

<p>As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.</p>

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