Does your dog enjoy licking your face? Wondering if its “act of love” can cause acne? Wonder no more. I’ll discuss that here.
Dog saliva doesn’t cause acne. However, don’t let your dog lick your face or allow it to roam around licking items in your home. While its saliva doesn’t cause acne, it makes you prone to other health concerns apart from acne.
Here, I’ll discuss the subject of dog saliva even further. I’ll talk about the effects of dog saliva and more. By the end, I hope you’ll walk away satisfied with everything you need to know about dog saliva.
Dog Slobber Doesn’t Cause Acne
Let’s be firm on this: acne isn’t on your face because of your dog’s saliva or slobber. It’s there because of the same reasons people have acne. The three primary causes of acne are excess oil production, hair follicles, and inflammation.
Experienced a stressful situation lately? For example, did you spend an all-nighter reviewing for your exams? If so, that may be the reason you have acne. Even if you allowed your dog to lick your face that night, the acne came out because of stress.
Fortunately, your dog has nothing to do with it. So don’t go around blaming it on your four-legged friend. If it licked your face and you developed acne the next morning, it did the action as a display of love and affection. Your dog adores you!
Why Shouldn’t I Allow My Dog to Lick My Face?
So I’ve established the inability of dog saliva to cause acne. By now, you must think that because it doesn’t cause acne, it shouldn’t endanger your health. And therefore, you ask this question: “What’s stopping me from allowing my dog to lick my face?”
Nothing is stopping you from allowing your dog to lick your face — and that’s a straightforward answer. If you want to let your dog lick your face, go ahead. However, veterinarians and expert animal researchers advise against it.
Do you know it’s a bad idea for many reasons? For one, it’s unsanitary. For another reason and from the perspective of other people, it’s gross. If you do it publicly, others will presume you don’t mind endangering their health just so you could get some love from your dog.
More importantly, it endangers your own health. As mentioned earlier, inflammation is one of the primary causes of acne. And dog saliva can take part in this cause. Therefore, indirectly, dog saliva can cause acne.
Dog Saliva Can Cause Allergic Reactions
If your dog licked your face and you wake up fine — acne-free — the next morning, congratulations. Your dog’s saliva didn’t bring problems that one time. However, the potential harm that dog saliva can do to you doesn’t end there.
Having allergic reactions is also a possibility. Compared to getting acne, this is the more dangerous aspect to dog saliva because these allergic reactions can cause a serious health problem.
How do you know you’re experiencing allergic reactions, you ask? Watch out for signs. The most common signs are itchiness and redness in an area of your body. And as much as you want to ignore the itchy and red area, you’re urged to scratch it.
Other signs of allergic reactions also include swelling, coughing or wheezing, and shortness of breath. If you’re showing at least one of these signs, cleanse your body of your dog’s saliva. You may also temporarily relieve the pain and discomfort you’re experiencing with a recommended over-the-counter medication.
After taking the recommended over-the-counter medication, you should be relieved of the pain and discomfort. If not, follow up with a doctor. That’s what you should do, too, if you want to solve the problem permanently.
Why Are There People Who Let Dogs Lick Their Wounds?
Here’s a lesser known fact about dog saliva: it comes with positive effects, too. Scientific evidence suggests dog saliva contains antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. And this is the reason some people allow — encourage, even, dogs to lick their wounds.
Familiar with the bacteria Escherechia coli or E. coli and the pathogen Streptococcus canis? If you’re not familiar with the two terms, here’s a review: these are diseases transmitted by companion animals to people. Well, the same research points out that dog saliva is slightly bactericidal against those!
However, while your dog’s saliva contains antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, it’s not a good idea to leave it up to dog saliva to let your wound heal. Remember, it’s only slightly good. Medications, readily available ones over the counter, are more potent.
Besides, despite being slightly good for a wound, the healing effect of dog saliva does more harm than good. Dog saliva on wounds can lead to irritation and infection. The practical solution is to visit a hospital and ask a doctor to treat your wound.
Diseases From Dog Saliva
Yes, there are. If you develop serious irritations and infections because of your dog’s saliva on your wound, you can get diseases linked to the body parts where the wound sits. Worst case scenario? You may amputate that body part because of the case’s seriousness.
Plus, dog saliva puts you at risk of developing capnocytophaga, an infectious and fatal disease. You can also develop rabies and other zoonotic diseases — also infectious and fatal. Just because your dog’s saliva contains antimicrobial and antibacterial properties doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
If you’re generally healthy and without underlying medical conditions, coming into contact with dog saliva will barely have any negative and permanent effects on you. If you exercise regularly, eat balanced meals, get enough rest, and other healthy practices, your dog’s saliva shouldn’t be a major threat to your health.
However, if you’re suffering from an illness, it’s important to be more careful. Dog saliva can weaken your immune system and therefore lower your body’s defenses against infectious and fatal diseases. Luckily, most of these diseases are preventable.
Like I said earlier — nothing can stop you from allowing your dog to lick your face. In fact, its saliva is slightly good for you. So it’s up to you to set boundaries on what your dog can do to you. It’s important to acknowledge the risks you’re about to take.
Also, don’t forget how health experts advise against letting your dog’s saliva come into contact with your face. Of course, it’s obvious that if you want to play it safe, a practical approach is to not let it drool all over you.
As a dog parent myself, I can understand how challenging — and sometimes, impossible — it is to say “no” to your dog and its adorable face. However, you need to hold your ground. If it shows it’s about to lick your face, gently gesture against it. Don’t worry, if your dog sees that you dislike its actions, it won’t insist.
I’m Tanya. I currently live in the Philippines with 5 dogs, Jackielyn, Alex, Casey, Esteban, and Miss Cathy. When I’m not with them, I write content about them.