Dog saliva is antibacterial. “Dog saliva does contain chemicals that are antibacterial and it’s very unlikely that saliva by itself would be a direct cause of infection,” says Harvey. “You often see dogs licking wounds and that is a cleansing action and an antibacterial action to promote the healing of a superficial wound.” Of course licking won’t cure all superficial infections in dogs, so veterinary visits are still often necessary.
Dog Saliva Can Transfer Bacteria.
Just because dog saliva has antibacterial properties does not mean that dog “kisses” are clean and humans should let their guard down. Dr. Edward R. Eisner, the first veterinarian to become a board-certified specialist in Veterinary Dentistry in Colorado, notes that it’s possible for bacteria to be transferred from pets to humans. One study published in Oral Biology in 2012 found that there can be a transmission of periodontopathic species of bacteria between dogs and their owners.
Dog saliva may produce allergies in humans.
While many people believe that pet fur is the culprit of allergic reactions to dogs, many of these allergies actually stem from proteins found in dog saliva. According to a study published in the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, dog saliva contains at least 12 different allergy-causing protein bands. When dogs lick their fur, the saliva dries, and these proteins become airborne. Researchers who conducted the study concluded that dog saliva has greater potential as an allergen source than dog dander.
Licking and smooching with your canine pal me be all nice and dandy at the moment you are deeply enjoying each others affection. But not all dog owners have been lucky to escape those smooches without bacteria transfer.