Just the other day, I was taking my dog out for a walk at the park. It was rather warm and my dog was definitely feeling the heat with his drooling.
Drooling is pretty much second nature for many dogs.
But can dogs spit?
A rather interesting question that we will be exploring in this article together with other interesting facts about your dog’s saliva.
How Do We Spit?
Spitting for humans seems more like a reflex action than a learned one. We spit when something flies into our mouth or if something tastes bad.
The action of spitting comes from using our tongue and lips to forcefully eject our saliva or whatever is in the mouth.
So Can Dogs Spit?
Spitting for dogs is almost next to impossible due to the lack of control of their lips. They don’t have the kind of muscle control in their lips as humans do hence dogs are incapable of spitting.
That being said, dogs can do a few cool things with their lips that we humans can’t.
Dogs have the ability to curl their upper lip over their lower lip to help them drink water from a bowl.
Dogs can also extend their lower lip outwards to make room for more food in their mouth. An ability that many humans wish they had as well.
Interesting Facts About Your Dog’s Saliva
Many dog owners are cool with their dogs’ mouths all over them. In fact, dogs lick humans and other dogs as a sign of affection.
Given that we are always in constant contact with our dog’s saliva as opposed to cats, here are seven interesting facts that you should know about your dog’s spit.
1. Dog Saliva Can Prevent Oral Issues
A dog’s saliva does a better job of preventing canine cavities as compared to human saliva. Nature knows that dogs can’t really brush their teeth and gums hence they need to come equipped with in-built canine cavity prevention.
Dog saliva is of a slightly alkaline nature than human saliva which helps to reduce the acidity in their mouth that can erode the enamel of the tooth.
That being said, your dog still needs good oral hygiene as the saliva alone isn’t enough to stop plaque from forming and causing periodontal disease.
As much as dog owners enjoy smelling their dog’s breath, you wouldn’t be too happy if your dog’s breath smells like the sewers.
Regular brushing and dental checkups are required as our dog gets older to keep its teeth and gums in good condition.
2. Saliva Helps Dogs With Digestion
Unlike humans whose saliva contains enzymes to help break down and digest the food in our digestive system, the saliva in a dog’s mouth is mainly used as a lubricant.
We humans need to chew our food in order to mix it with our saliva to start the digestive process.
Dogs can just gobble down their meal without problems and let the enzymes and acid in the dogs’ stomachs do their job.
The purpose of the saliva is just to ensure that the food is able to move down the esophagus smoothly and into the dog’s stomach.
3. Dog Saliva Is Antibacterial
Your dog’s saliva has antibacterial properties which is why dogs tend to lick their wounds. There are proteins in the dog’s saliva that can help prevent the wound from getting infected.
Studies have also shown that wounds that are licked by the dog tend to heal twice as fast. Cats have the same innate ability to heal themselves with their purring. The purring of a cat resonates at a frequency that helps to heal bones and regenerate muscle tissue.
However, a dog’s saliva isn’t a wonder drug that can heal all wounds and injuries. Sometimes the excessive saliva on the wound can cause to wound to get inflamed.
It is also a good idea to treat your dog with veterinary medicine if it is a serious injury.
4. Not All Dogs Drool Equally
Some dog breeds drool more than others. Dogs with loose skin around their mouths or shorter mouth are drool machines. Excess saliva tends to pool easier and dribble down their chins.
These include breeds like:
- Great Dane
- St Bernard
- Great Pyrenees
My friend has a bulldog who drools all the time. I have to be careful of where I step in their home to not step in a puddle of spit.
Excess drooling can cause your dog’s lips to experience pink discoloration due to the presence of porphyrin.
Is Dog Spit Toxic?
Truth be told, a dog’s mouth isn’t the cleanest part of its body. Dogs lick their butts after taking a poo and they have no qualms about eating out of the garbage can.
Here are some things to note before going in for more dog kisses.
Transmission Of Bacteria
Dog saliva isn’t as clean as dog owners make it out to be. It is possible to get a bacterial infection from your dog’s saliva.
There have been many reports of people getting gravely ill after being licked by a dog.
Although such cases are rare, it is still possible.
Individuals with immune system dysfunctions, pregnant women, the elderly and infants should not be licked by dogs as they are more susceptible to zoonotic infections.
The risk of transmission is even greater if the dog licks your mouth or an open wound.
Transmission Of Parasites
Dogs can’t use toilet paper after getting rid of their waste and the only way to clean themselves is with the tongue.
Your dog’s feces can contain parasites like hookworms, and roundworms that can remain in your dog’s mouth.
Fortunately, these parasites aren’t present in a large enough quantity to cause an issue for most humans.
However, people who are immunocompromised should avoid being licked by dogs.
Dog Saliva Allergy
Your dog saliva contains a protein that can you might be allergic to. When you come into contact with your dog’s saliva, it can cause your skin to itch and get inflamed.
Studies have shown that dog saliva has a bigger possibility of causing an allergic reaction than dog dander that comes from pet fur.
So if you are aware of such allergic reactions that you suffer from, it would be wise to refrain from getting dog kisses.
Do Dog Saliva Heal Wounds?
If you are referring to the wounds on your dog, then yes. Your dog saliva has some antibacterial properties that can help with the recovery process.
But please do not allow your dog to lick any open wound on your body as the risk of a bacterial or parasite infection will be very high.
Even if there’s no infection risk, your dog’s tongue has a very rough texture that can further aggravate your wound.
Can Dogs And Humans Share Saliva?
You might be paranoid about your dog’s mouth and saliva after reading this article but rest assured that the risk of getting anything bad from your dog via its saliva is very slim.
Saliva on non-broken skin is actually safe with dogs as there is very little absorption through the skin.
The main issue that arises is when there is contact with your dog’s saliva on your mucous membrane and broken skin.
It should be avoided as much as possible to prevent any risk of an adverse reaction.