Posted by Tina Spanevello on June 15, 2016
The cleanliness of dogs mouths versus humans mouths has been questioned for centuries. In fact, many people believe that dog’s mouths are cleaner than a human mouth - but how could that be? Our dogs can’t even brush their teeth themselves, let alone visit the dentist! Well the answer is short, really - it’s a myth. Your dog’s mouth isn’t any cleaner than yours, but furthermore - they aren’t even comparable.
It’s like comparing apples to oranges - they’re completely different fruits, just as canines and humans are different species.
While they do have a tongue, teeth, soft tissue, and bone structure similar to humans, it all comes down to comparing the bacteria. Your dog may have less bacteria in their mouth than you do, but that still doesn’t mean they’re mouth is “cleaner.” In fact, majority of the bacteria you can find in your dog’s mouth is species-specific. This is where the myth stems from - any species-specific bacteria won’t be transferred to you from your dog, and vice versa. Go ahead, let your dog give you those slobbery kisses they’ve been waiting for - it’s unlikely that their bacteria will have an effect on you.
There are only a few germs that are able to transfer between canines and humans. For example, rabies is transferable through saliva (only) - but if your dog is bitten by an infected wild animal and then proceeds to bite you, or lick an open wound you have, then you could be at risk.
Fortunately, diseases you can contract from your dog are preventable - in this case, it can be as easy as keeping your pets away from potentially dangerous wild animals.
Keeping your pet’s immunizations up-to-date in combination with oral hygiene (brushing their teeth), and administering the proper flea and tick preventive are all ways to promote your dog’s health. Brushing their teeth can help to minimize their oral bacteria, but we all know how difficult it can be to get all those nooks and crannies!