Don't Let A Dog Lick Your Baby's Face — Research Shows It Is Far More Dangerous Than You Think
Your adorable furbaby and newborn can be besties from afar, but when it comes to wet nose to chubby cheek contact there are quite a few reasons why you shouldn't let your dog lick your baby's face. It's only natural for your pet to be curious about the newest member of the family. The fluffball has most likely tried on numerous occasions to get up close and personal with his small squealing bud. While the sight of the two of them snuggled up together on a fuzzy blanket is beyond Instagram worthy, it's best to keep dog and baby apart — because your pooch may not be as clean as you think, or as submissive.
While you and your S.O. may choose to shower your pup with kisses every time you return from work, a newborn's immune system is not yet as effective as an adult's. We have all heard the myth that "a dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's" but the hard truth is that neither of us are sanitary specimens to behold. Studies show that disease-causing oral bacteria is present in both human and dog mouths, however dogs are a lot less discerning as to where they put their tongues.
A simple lick can have some pretty serious consequences when it comes to passing multitudinous microbes from doggy to human. "Studies have confirmed this exposure, and it can lead to mouth and gum infections, or even systemic infections," Dr. Leavey explained. Another health-related issue is the dog's diet. If it is one a raw diet or finds a piece of raw chicken scrap or bone on the street, the dog may be able to pass zoonotic bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, or even worms, in some rare cases, to it's human compatriot. Keep that pup's mouth away from the mucous membranes of the face, as the saliva is a lot more likely to be absorbed there. Yuck.
Safety is also a key concern when babies and dogs play together. "While many dogs lick a human's face as a submissive gesture of appeasement, others do it to get a reaction from their humans," writes DogNotebook.com. "This look-at-me behavior is a sign of dominance in Fido. Touching a human with their mouths is also a controlling behavior in some dogs." Pediatrician Dr. Ashanti W. Woods, advises pet owners to train their dog to be submissive to their child. Without this precaution things can get a little out of hand. "The pet may become protective over the owners and attempt to defend them by attacking the child for yelling or merely playing with his parents," Dr. Woods told Women's Day.
So next time your canine gives your little one those puppydog eyes, make sure he expresses his love from afar — at least for now.