Smooching Your Pet

img AD Ratings imgJune 28, 2019




Is Smooching Your Pet Unsafe?

Getting wet licks from your dog, cat, or another pet on your mouth is often considered a healthy expression of love and concern. Wanting and showing affection is not surprising as your shaggy bundle of love and delight intends to be an intimate part of your life. Even if you loathe the idea of getting slobbered, you may still not avoid the dogged lunges of your pet for your mouth and face. However, should you be worried about possible health concerns for yourself from pets kissing your face?

Both animal and human health experts have offered their views on pet kissing for your health based on years of research. To know how unsanitary it is to get kissed on the mouth by a pet, we will stick to dogs and cats: the choice of many pet owners. However, in case you have other kinds of pets, medical advice may be more or less applicable. So, let’s get started.

Impact Of Germs

First, let’s face an unpleasant fact: your pet will get its mouth dirty. Dogs and cats tend to indulge much non-sterile activity such as licking residual poop from their anus, exploring dead birds, and licking spills on floors. Consequently, your pet’s mouth gets coated with all types of offensive  material that you would not want near your mouth. The question is, are these germs harmful?

According to Dr. Omai Garner, an assistant clinical professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and associate director of clinical microbiology at the UCLA Health System, “On just an overall level of cleanliness, [kissing your pet’s mouth is] not good,” reported the wellness website SELF.

Impact On Oral Health

It’s a matter of apprehension among veterinary and human dentists that pet kisses may affect human oral health. While the chances of this happening are not yet clear, experts know that the oral microbiomes of dogs, cats, and humans are similar in some ways, says Dr. Lenin Arturo Villamizar-Martinez, an assistant professor in dentistry and oral surgery, North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Research shows that dogs, cats, and humans share some of the same kind of bacteria that lead to gum or periodontal disease. However, there is no evidence linking contact with pets and transmission of the bacteria leading to periodontal disease in owners of pets, says Dr. Villamizar-Martinez: probably due to humans having defenses against it.

In support of there being no link, a small PLOS One study in 2015 showed that DNA sequencing carried out on the oral microbiome of four dogs and their owners (and two persons who didn’t have dogs) indicated that canine oral bacteria might not survive in the more acidic, lower-pH human mouth. Moreover, cats are supposed to have the same oral pH as dogs.

The PLOS One study stated a vital observation: frequent tooth brushing tends to remove most pet bacteria that may have gotten into a human mouth. However, if some germs remain, the possibility of getting sick can be discounted.

Danger Of Infection

Pet owners should watch out for zoonotic diseases: illnesses that can be passed on through bacteria, viruses, fungi, and, parasites that pass between animals and humans, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A primary mode of transmission is in contact with the bodily fluids of an infected animal. In some cases, this could be a cat or a dog.

Avian flu, a zoonotic disease, that’s often in the media, is transmitted through animals that are usually not pets such as chickens. But be careful as dogs and cats, healthy or otherwise, can also carry germs that can spread to humans and induce illness.

Though contracting a zoonotic disease is usually rare, as per the CDC, partly because pet owners touch their pets with intact skin like the palm of their hand, and most germs in a pet’s mouth are unlikely to lead to such disease, says Dr. Leni K. Kaplan, professor at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, reported SELF.

A matter of more significant worry for pet owners is their contact with nose, mouth, and eyes because the permeable mucous membranes in such areas are more susceptible to absorbing germs from your loved pet, says Dr. Mia L. Geisinger, director, Advanced Education Program in Periodontology, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry.

Such contact can take place indirectly: for example, your dog may lick poop off its butt, lick your hand, which you may use to rub your eye. Therefore, the CDC recommends hand-washing after contact with dogs and cats or their bodily fluids like their poop and saliva.

There may also be direct contact like when you kiss your dog or cat on the mouth while showering your love on your pet. However, this may lead to disease transmission.

What Kind Of Illness Can Pet Contact Cause?

Kissing a dog or a cat on the mouth can lead to many types of potential illnesses, the probability of which is rare. However, if you do, it’s likely to be discomforting gastrointestinal illness, says Garner.

According to the CDC, campylobacteriosis is a common infection passed on from dogs and cats to humans and can trigger stomach pain, fever, and diarrhea in humans. Campylobacter, the offending bacteria, transfers through the stool of an infected, sick, or healthy-appearing animal.

Giardia, a microscopic intestinal parasite, can also cause GI infection due to contact with a pet after swallowing fecal particles with the parasite. It can lead to stomach pain, cause diarrhea, gas, vomiting, and nausea in dogs, cats, and humans, as per the CDC. However, the chance of infection is low if you have a dog or a cat as usually, humans get a different variant of giardia compared to dogs and cats, according to the CDC, though other varieties of pets such as rodents may carry strains of the human-infecting parasite.

Theoretically, you may also get non-GI illnesses such as cat-scratch disease from your pet when an infected cat with the bacteria Bartonella scratches or bites you hard, resulting in cut skin. Alternatively, when infected cat saliva comes in contact with mucous membranes like in your mouth, as per the U.S. National Library of Medicine. A cat, often, may not show signs of the bacteria. However, in humans, the bacteria can cause flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever, fatigue, and decreased appetite, as per the CDC. A cat-scratch fever through scraped skin can cause the cut to get painful, swollen, warm, and leak fluids.

However, none of the above-discussed illnesses from your pet are usually life-threatening: except people with weak immune systems like the elderly, young, and those with disease-related compromised immune systems. Such people are at a higher risk of contracting these illnesses and resultant complications.

Moreover, pregnant women should be especially aware of toxoplasmosis: a medical condition caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. The illness can spread following contact with cat poop and can lead to birth defects even if the person exhibits no symptoms. Usually, humans don’t show signs of toxoplasmosis. However, an infected person can have a mild case of the flu, says the CDC.

The Verdict On Pet Kissing

The call on the subject is summarized by Dr. Villamizar-Martinez, who says, “We love our pets, but we need to have some limits.” The unlikelihood of falling ill due to kissing your pet should not make you careless or love them less. To lower the chances of infection, experts recommend that you find other ways to shower your affection and attachment.

 

 

 

icon 0 Reactions



Sign in to post a message



 

  • 0 icon
    Portrait of a smiling senior woman sitting in the doctor's office with dental x-ray on the background
    AD Ratings

    Depressed And Lonely Dental Patients

    Very few private dental practices offer to address specific mental anxieties of their patients who also happen to be their dental patients. Dental offices often address dental anxiety, but not many dentists respond to the particular psychological issues a patient may be dealing during a dental visit.

  • 0 icon
    Dental floss focused with  toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, at background, essential oral care products recommended by dentist.
    AD Ratings

    Oral Hygiene Maintenance and Alzheimer’s

    Researcher Piotr Mydel, at the Broegelmanns Research Laboratory in the Department of Clinical Science at the University of Bergen (UiB), describing the connection, said, "We discovered DNA-based proof that the bacteria causing gingivitis can move from the mouth to the brain," reported Science Daily.

  • 0 icon
    Broken tooth dental symbol and toothache dentistry concept as a single cracked damaged molar on an isolated white background.
    AD Ratings

    The Unanticipated Consequences Of Gum Disease

    The latest research suggests that gum disease, a common and discomforting disease, is so much more than just that. Mounting evidence points to the many unrelated health problems caused by gum disease bacteria. Maintaining your oral health is, therefore, not only vital for your oral health but also general health.

  • 0 icon
    Dentist checks the teeth of a patient
    AD Ratings

    Oral health & High Blood Pressure

    If you have poor oral health and hypertension, watch out. Latest medical research indicates that poor oral health can get in the way of blood pressure control and affect hypertension treatment. According to the study published in the American Heart Association's journal, patients with good oral health are more likely to benefit from planned medication for high blood pressure, reported Science Daily.

  • 0 icon
    people, medicine, stomatology and health care concept - happy male dentist showing tablet pc computer to woman patient at dental clinic office
    AD Ratings

    Oral Care And Substance Abuse Recovery

    Patients recovering from substance use disorder have a better chance at drug abstinence, recovery, and improved quality of life, including professional and personal life if they take care of their oral health. The latest study points to a link between proper oral care and emotional and physical emotional recovery of a patient receiving treatment for substance use disorder.

  • 0 icon
    Dentist holding a medical history asking information to a patient before treatment sitting on a chair in a clinic box
    AD Ratings

    Measles Other ATDs

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) recommends that dental practices should screen all their patients for highly contagious viruses and other aerosol transmissible diseases before administering dental treatment to ensure adequate disease prevention.

  • 0 icon
    9948689a-aeac-47cb-ab9a-71fdf3b55bb9
    AD Ratings

    Smooching Your Pet

    Getting wet licks from your dog, cat, or another pet on your mouth is often considered a healthy expression of love and concern. Wanting and showing affection is not surprising as your shaggy bundle of love and delight intends to be an intimate part of your life.

  • 0 icon
    Portrait of a beautiful senior woman with healthy smile holding green apple at the dental office
    AD Ratings

    Low-Cost Dental Care For Seniors

    A healthy mouth is vital to your physical health. Without oral health, it is difficult to be in the best possible physical condition, especially if you are a senior. Recent studies also support the correlation between overall body health and oral health.

  • 0 icon
    Elderly man on a review of a dentist, sitting in a chair
    AD Ratings

    Dental Care for Veterans

    Florida Congressman Gus Bilirakis who is a leading Republican leader on the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee has re-introduced a proposal seeking to expand dental care to veterans.

  • 0 icon
    Dentist doing a dental treatment on a female patient
    AD Ratings

    Oral Health For Pregnant Women And Moms

    Improving women’s oral health is an effective way to prevent cavities in young children. Paying attention to pregnant women’s oral health is an essential aspect of the mother and child’s oral and general health.

  • 0 icon
    SSUCv3H4sIAAAAAAAEAH1Sy26DMBC8V+o/IJ+DyiMh0C/opV8Q9bDYC1gBG9nrVFXEv9e8IqeH3ryzs+OZte+vL1HEarCSs/foPle+ln3vLBkgqZWH08OGo5CkjYTeg8mMTUuHWQJyFm0gUcvWkubXsdOkPZ7vGhzUU+MhLgzCYEkO+HSlHcOy8UO9hFBw1EqcQo7tHBGa5ZaZGBjlQNj6BM9Wt/SXtY72xmaXfIt9IPTUcTD49um3wP0KDgHLunpmsR2aDv9o/T+5Hr72MNCi4j+z2ynIYbBHWBd+Wans+u0zD0uujXSTAnVQgxNSB7lv2sewfzY0GsmlaoMxTR2aYMygEgtAxuHjVbVTZGafLEsrFq7c/yQ9BHpK02J82wMT/k3mMs3TIs/OeVIlRVGWZZqz/Xf5h5QijCbFMlFncK6qPC6FSOJjc8ziuq6K+FgD8FPVJEVz9lamXx24RHblAgAA
    AD Ratings

    Oral Bacteria and Colorectal Cancer

    Scientists have identified a molecular mechanism through which an oral bacterium accelerates colorectal cancer growth. Experts always suspected that there was a molecular mechanism that hastened colorectal cancer's progression.

  • 0 icon
    Woman waiting for a dental exam
    AD Ratings

    Prenatal Dental Care Checkup

    Maintaining good oral health, pregnant or otherwise, is always advisable. Your dentist and other healthcare providers are the best-suited professionals to give you medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment plans about dental health. Remember: in case you suspect an oral health issue, never delay receiving treatment.

  • 0 icon
    33982521 - human lungs
    AD Ratings

    Lungs Can Get Affected Due to Mouth Bacteria

    New research published in the journal mSphere has examined the effect of poor dental hygiene on the respiratory health of elderly Japanese people. The study brings into focus how tongue microbiota is vital for respiratory health and was undertaken by a team of Japanese-based scientists with the Kyushu University, Fukuoka.

  • 0 icon
    Tooth human implant (done in 3d graphics)
    AD Ratings

    Top 5 Most Credible Dental Implant Companies & Manufacturers

    Globally, more than 150 companies manufacture dental implant systems and components. The most reputable and well-known dental implant companies are Straumann and Nobel Biocare. BioHorizons, Biomet 3i (Zimmer Biomet), and Dentsply Sirona are the other well-regarded dental implant producing companies.

  • 0 icon
    Woman having trouble with husband snoring
    AD Ratings

    Oral appliance for Sleep Apnea Will Help You and Partner Sleep Better

    Obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that affects patients while they sleep causes the throat muscles to relax leading to a narrower airway which induces snorting, choking and/or gasping alongside disturbing the patient's REM sleep cycle.