The Benefits of Dog Saliva – Health Risks Included!

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Dog is considered as a human’s best friend knowing for its never-ending loyalty. Due to the instinct to keep loyal towards the owner, dog becomes one of favorite animal to be adopt as a pet. You have already perceived there are lots of benefits having canine as companion.

A dog is able to make you feel happier and lighten your life as you walk the dog around your environment, and surely can even bring it to your workplace as it conveyed in Health Benefits Dogs in the Workplace. It is not exactly assumptions of what people believe on our day-to-day basis, but a great number of researches have proven those advantages of owning a dog for human being.

People who own one dog or more in their life, or maybe you reckon this as well: dog has a habitual behavior to lick their specific part of the body. It can be paws, and also a vital area to relieve feces. Sometimes, dog also gives peck and licks human in the face as a form of affection.

Apparently, the act of licking aims to stimulate their breath too. Besides the aforementioned example, here is the other: dog is more likely to lick wound. Imagine a situation where a kid playing in the park, fell down, and a family dog licks the scratch of that kid. It reminds of French proverb claimed that “a dog’s tongue is a doctor’s tongue”. Some people trust that the saliva of dog can actually offer some kind of healing properties. Is that 100% true? Are there actual benefits of dog saliva?

Fact that you should know is: saliva contains lots of bacteria. It does not merely talk about the dog saliva, but as well as human saliva as you can read in Health Benefits of Kissing on Lips. To be more reliable, American Kennel Club noted that Harvard researchers found there are more than 600 kinds of bacteria exists in the dog’s mouth. Speaking of whether dog saliva is beneficial or harmful, it can be both. This can be crucial information for dog owners or even the one who does not own a dog at all still can pay full attention to this, since it is good for adding your knowledge.

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Here is the information about benefits of dog saliva:

  • Works as antibacterial for dog itself

As a person or maybe dog owner, you might have seen dog does the act of licking oftentimes. Not only claws, but also genital area and any other part of the body. Licking is done as well as the dog has cut or scratches on their skin. Surprisingly, when the saliva comes to the wound, it is proven as the action of cleaning and somehow works as antibacterial properties.

A study back in the year of 1990 remarks a dog mother licked her body and its puppy. Consequently, it gives antibacterial effect as a result. Conclusion is, the saliva offers benefit as an antibacterial when it is done by dog for itself or towards the same species.

  • Prevent dental caries for dog

Dental caries, also known as tooth decay or cavities is a condition of which damages the teeth caused by bacteria. In saliva of dogs, the pH is in the number of 7.5 to 8 which is higher than human saliva pH 6.5 to 7.

With the high scale of pH, dogs are rarely experiencing caries on its teeth. Since the pH is considered as alkaline, it minimizes the number of some types of bacteria producing acid which is caused the decay of the tooth and results it to keep healthy. 

  • Helps dog’s digestion process

Saliva of dogs somehow helps the digestion process due to no existence of enzyme in dog saliva. The purpose of saliva in dog is to support food that has been eaten to be swallowed. Dogs are indifferent to human since they do not have to chew their food into pieces.

As an illustration, when the dog eats something, saliva lubricates the food to be gulped down then with a little help of tongue, food moves down to esophagus. That way, the food can be processed in digestion.

Health Risks of Saliva Dogs

It can be highlighted that the benefits of saliva of dogs is beneficial for dog itself. Unlike bird nest, as explained in Health Benefits of Bird Nest, which is quite advantageous for human, there are severe risks for human health that can be caused by dog saliva.

Here are the health risks based on some cases and researches:

  • Cause of sepsis

Around three quarter of healthy dogs carry bacteria namely Capnocytophaga canimorsus in their mouth. This type of bacteria may infect human with inadequate function of immune, potentially the elder one.

BMJ Case Reports noted in 2016 about an incident of 70-year-old woman infected by Capnocytophaga canimorsus due to wet lick from her dog, not by a bite or scratches. For your information, sepsis can harm the organ to be failed in function and lead to death. 

  • Cause of gastrointestinal disease

Gastrointestinal disease relates to the disease of organ such as: esophagus, stomach, intestines, and any other organ of gastrointestinal tract. Unlike the benefits of dog saliva for dog itself, human can get gastrointestinal disease from the dog saliva.

You have already noticed that the mouth of dog is full of bacteria that can cause serious health risks for human. The types of bacteria such as: Escherichia coli (E. coli), Salmonella and Campylobacter are potentially be the cause of the disease in gastrointestinal tract.

  • Cause of meningitis

In some cases, Pasteurella multocida in dog’s mouth can be a cause of meningitis. Seeking the data from Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal in 2009, there were 38 newborns had meningitis and 27 of them got meningitis due to the lick of a dog in the face.

Aside from the babies, 40-year-old woman who did regular kiss and gave the food to the dog mouth-to-mouth also diagnosed with meningitis. It is extremely important for those who have weak immune system like infants and elders to shy off from dog’s kiss in order not to get infected and diagnosed with severe health risks.

In short, dog saliva is considered as harmful for human, especially if it comes to the one with weak immunity. For a healthy person with strong immune system, it is not really hazardous if little drool goes down to the skin. However, beware if it encounters your wound. To keep hygiene, the best recommendation is to wash your hands. Also bring your pet to veterinarian in order to do check up regularly and get the vaccines.