You know you are home when you get flushed with slobbery kisses from the little bud, your pet dog. The warm welcome in the evening is a welcome gesture to handle stress after a long hectic day. But is it safe to get your face licked by your dog?
Extensive researches and studies have been conducted in this field to comprehend the effect of a dog’s lick on a human’s face. Some suggested that the practices pose a serious threat to human life, others termed it as a health benefit that could be used to cure wounds. This led to a major confusion as to is the dog licks considered to be a health hazard, or it has its benefits.
Let’s explore both sides of the argument!
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Why Are Dog Licks Bad For The Health?
Although you take good care of your furry friend, its mouth is full of germs and bacteria. According to a study by John Oxford, emeritus professor of virology and bacteriology at Queen Mary University in London, his research suggested that since dogs hover over other dog’s dropping and stick their nose in dirty corners of the house or bin, their muzzles become host to a plethora of germs, viruses, and bacteria.
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Although the microbes are unknown to the human body and thus, the chances of falling sick are less, yet the bacteria present in the mouth of the dogs are full of diseases. Along with his findings, the researcher shared a list of infected germs such as E Coli, Clostridium, and Campylobacter that causes gastroenteritis in humans. Another infected germs present in the mouth of dogs is Pasteurella multicide that caused meningitis in as many as 42 infants in France.
The inference drawn from these findings suggest that dog lick is indeed harmful and should be restricted to the neck and below regions.
Why Are Dogs Licks Good?
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If you explore the other side of the argument, it will present a contradictory finding where it proves that Dog licks are beneficial for the human body. Many researchers have said that the dog’s lick has indeed aided in healing. According to the researchers in the Netherlands, they identified a chemical in the saliva of the pet called the histatins, which is believed to speed up the process of healing by promoting and developing new skin cells.
Another research by Dr. Nigel Benjamin of the London School Of Medicine stated that when the saliva of the pet gets in touch with the skin, it produces nitric oxide which is used in bacterial growth and protection of the wound from infection.
If this wasn’t enough, a third research in the same field by the researchers at the University of Florida identified a protein in the saliva of the pet called the Nerve Growth factor that speeds up the time for wound healing by more than a half.
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These studies suggest that dog licks are not bad. However, precaution is better than cure. Once can indulge is getting slobbery kisses from their cute pawed friends but ensure that they do not lick you around an open wound.
But Wait! What About Cats Lick?
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While extensive studies on Dog’s lick have cleared the air about the threat, it poses and benefits one can avail of it, that’s not true for cat’s lick. According to a study by the Center for Disease Control, it states that nearly 40% of the cats carry an infected germ called b.henselae that leads to cat scratch fever in humans. Unlike what the name suggests, it is not caused by the bite or the scratch from a cat, but what their saliva as they lick your face. Now that could be dangerous!
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(Featured Image Courtesy: Huffington Post)