Pets are like family to us and it seems natural to show as much affection as possible when you are around your pets, but according to some medical experts, that might not be a good idea.
According to Dr. Neilanjan Nandi, an assistant professor of medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, mouth-to-mouth contact with a dog should be avoided because a dog's mouth is a breeding ground for yeast, viruses and bacteria. Think about it, what has your dog been doing all day? Where has his/her nose been?...simply put, would you walk around licking stuff off the ground and then kiss your kids goodnight?
Now most people think that a dog's saliva might contain “wonder curing properties” that aid in wound healing seeing as a dog usually licks his/her wounds to help heal them faster, however, that might not be the case.
According to Dr. Nandi, a dog's saliva is only meant to heal dog wounds, and there are some organisms in a dog's mouth that the human body simply cannot tolerate. There are a number of illnesses that can be passed from dogs to humans, and one of the most common of these are gastrointestinal problems caused by parasites, bacteria or viruses. Various skin and respiratory allergies and fungae such as ring worm and chronic diseases such as lyme disease which spreads from a tick that jumps from a pet to a human, can also be spread.
In another study, Japanese researchers discovered that a dog's mouth is rife with all sorts of bacteria that can cause havoc on a human's teeth and overall health. “Transmission of oral bacteria between humans and their companion animals could also occur when they have routine close contact,” - the researchers concluded in the Archives of Oral Biology - a leading saliva, mouth and tooth medical journal.
This conclusion was reached after the scientists scraped plaque off 66 dogs and 81 humans' teeth and placing the plaque under a microscope for closer observation. Numerous types of bacteria like Porphyromonas Gulae, Tannarella Forsythia, Campylobacter Rectus to name a few were found.
Another factor to keep in mind is that dogs frequently lick around the anus, which we all know is not always the best picture to have in mind :)...but this natural habit means that parasitic eggs could be harbored in a dog's saliva which will be transferred to your mouth if you allow your dog to lick your face or mouth.
It is also wise to always wash your hands after you have played with your pets. Using a non-toxic hand sanitizer as supplied by Sprinkle Spray will also go a long way in helping to keep germs and bacteria at bay.
So while it is not a closed case that allowing your pet to lick you is not safe, one has to think of the above and wonder if there is not some method to the madness in not allowing your pet to give you a smooch on the lips...for safety reasons of course. :)