Can we Kiss Dogs?

Child kissing a puppy

Can love possibly be a sin?

Many dog owners kiss their dogs and cats, so we can only hope that they have brushed their own teeth and their pet's too! But joking aside – cuddling and snuggling with animals isn't just unhygienic in certain cases, but can also be dangerous.

Cuddling is of course allowed with healthy, well cared-for dogs

Humans themselves carry countless germs and fungi and on a daily basis spread millions of invisible dead skin particles in their environment that feed dust mites ... and pets too.

Caution with parasites and diseases

However, we should give good consideration as to whether we allow dogs or cats to sleep in our bed. If they bring ticks or fleas from their daily forays through the bushes, this can become unpleasant and even have health consequences. Fleas can transmit tapeworms and ticks Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis. Hence, you should protect your dog or cat accordingly.

Kissing a dog

Fleas that fall soaked with blood out of your pet's fur, digest their food into a crack and look for new victims when they are hungry, which could include humans, are particularly unpleasant and potentially dangerous too. Of course, purely domestic cats rarely suffer from this problem. If your pets are sick, for instance, suffering from a gastro-enteric illness or a respiratory infection, you should reconsider whether you should both sleep in the same spot.

What about kissing?

Any desire to kiss your dog should disappear completely if, for instance, it has been closely sniffing the faeces of another dog on a walk just beforehand. Professor Wilfried Kraft from the Veterinary University of Munich warned in particular that kissing pets can also transmit Helicobacter pylori, a commonly diagnosed pathogen that emerges with stomach ulcers. Of course, a pet owner infected by this bacterium can also pass this on to their dog or cat.

Contact with animals trains the immune system

An ancient proverb says “waste not want not”, meaning that we shouldn't reject food that is perhaps past its best, since we remain in good health because the immune system works well. Children of farmers or vets often don't live in a particularly germ-free or pristine environment. Some play in the stables, share their food with the farm dog and chickens, whilst the others like to hang around in consulting rooms and happily care for sick animals. Of course, these children bathe and shower regularly and don't live in squalor, but they simply have more contact with a broad range of germs.

British Pet Health Council: Animals reduce risk of allergies

According to a release from the British Pet Health Council, animals can even contribute to reducing the risk of allergies: “Cuddling and snuggling with furry friends trains children's immune systems and prevents allergies against pollen, dust mites and animal fur in adult age.” A recently published study from the University of Munich also came to the conclusion that children who have regular contact with animals have far less respiratory illnesses than their counterparts who have grown up in a cleaner and more hygienic environment.

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