Every dog owner knows that dogs love giving slobbery kisses. My dog’s love language is trying to drown you in his saliva.
Research has proven that a dog’s saliva has healing properties.
But can dog saliva can work wonders on human skin, particularly in treating acne. As outlandish as it sounds, could there be a grain of truth in this claim?
Even though a dog’s saliva can have some antiseptic properties, healing or being beneficial for acne isn’t one of them. In fact, a dog’s mouth is full of bacteria that can be transmitted to humans.
In this article, we will be diving deep into the world of canine saliva and its potential effects on acne. Let’s separate the facts from the fiction together!
What Is Acne?
For someone who has had acne as a teenager and an adult, this is one skin condition that is close to my heart.
Not only was it difficult to ‘cure’ but it affected my self-esteem and confidence growing up.
Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells.
It usually appears on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders because these areas of skin have the most oil or sebaceous glands.
The severity of acne can range from small red tender bumps to painful pus-filled bumps.
The common causes of acne are:
- Oily skin
- Hormonal changes
- Bacteria growth
For some people, acne can naturally resolve on its own while others might require medication such as Accutane or antibiotics.
Can Dog Saliva Help With My Acne?
For some people with acne, it can be caused by a bacteria called Cutibacterium acnes.
Cutibacterium acnes is a bacteria that actually lives on your skin and is required for healthy skin flora.
However, when this bacteria starts to multiply in great numbers, that is when a bacterial infection occurs and causes acne on your face or body.
Unfortunately, getting rid of or reducing the count of Cutibacterium acnes isn’t something that dog saliva can do.
Even if your acne isn’t caused by this type of bacteria, there isn’t any scientific evidence that dog saliva is good for acne by reducing sebum production in your face.
Is Dog Saliva Antibacterial?
To further understand if a dog’s saliva can be beneficial for acne, we first need to be aware of what is in dog saliva
Dog saliva is made up mainly of water and other components such as electrolytes and antimicrobial enzymes.
it is often said that dog saliva contains antiseptic and antibacterial properties and to some extent, that is correct.
A study that was conducted in 2018 found the presence of Antimicrobial peptides or AMP in dog saliva.
These proteins help protect the dog against bacterial, viral and fungal infections.
However, this doesn’t make dog saliva the next best thing since sliced bread.
A research conducted in 1990 found that dog saliva was ” bactericidal against Escherichia coli and Streptococcus canis”.
The scientists also found that the saliva had a very slight effect on two other types of bacteria, staphylococcus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa which are often found in contaminated wounds.
This would mean that our dogs have the ability to heal wounds that are very minor in nature due to the presence of these enzymes that aren’t found in human saliva.
Is It OK To Let A Dog Lick Your Face?
I love my dog to bits but letting him lick my face is something that I do not allow. A
And you should not let your dog lick your face too.
If you ever see where your dog’s mouth or tongue has been, you will understand what I’m talking about.
Your dog’s tongue is its toilet paper which it uses to clean its butt and genitals.
If you have cats at home too, don’t be surprised to find your dog finding its next snack in your cat’s litter box.
I know that you love your dog to bits but bngaging in doggie kisses after your dog’s tongue has done any of the above is bad news.
While many people consider it a sign of affection when a dog licks their face, it’s generally not a great idea from a health perspective
Whenever my cat licks my skin, it tends to become red, itchy and swollen. This is because I am allergic to my cat.
The same thing can happen if you are allergic to your dog.
An allergic reaction to dogs happens when a person comes into contact with an allergen. This allergen is a protein compound that is found in the dog’s saliva.
It can also be found in your dog’s dander which is the dead skin that your dog sheds.
Allergic reactions can be treated with antihistamines and topical creams.
It is also important to avoid contact with dogs if you have severe asthma which can be triggered by dog hair.
The Dreaded Pink Eye
Most of us would have gotten a pink eye at least once before.
That is when your eye gets red, inflamed and crusty.
People will also tend to avoid you as if you have the bubonic plague which is because pink eye is highly contagious.
The main culprits of pink eye in humans are Staphylococcus and Streptococcus.
Our dogs can get pink eye too which requires veterinary medicine to resolve.
And when your dog’s pink eye is caused by one of the above pathogens, you can get pink eye from your dog when it licks your face.
If your infected dog happens to lick your eye, the bacteria in your dog’s saliva can enter your body via the mucous membranes in your eyes.
Why Do I Get Pimples When My Dog Licks Me?
When your dog licks your face or skin, it’s transferring its saliva onto you.
This saliva contains many different bacteria and enzymes which is normal and part of your dog’s natural biology but it can sometimes cause problems for human skin.
There are bacteria and dirt in your dog’s saliva that can irritate your skin and clog up your pores.
This can cause your skin to break out in pimples.
If you are allergic to dogs, letting dogs lick your face can trigger an allergic reaction.
This can cause inflammation and pimples as part of the immune system response.
Is Dog Saliva Good For Human Wounds?
A variety of bacteria, known as Capnocytophaga, live in the mouths of dogs and cats. But these bacteria don’t cause illness in dogs or cats.
However, these germs can be transmitted to humans via bites, scratches and open wounds in a healthy person.
Symptoms of Capnocytophaga include:
- Body aches
- Swelling and discharge around the infected area
In more serious cases, it can lead to organ failure and even gangrene.
There have been cases of people who have had their limbs and parts of their faces removed due to sepsis and severe infection.
This is even more crucial for people with weakened immune systems, like the elderly, children or those with certain medical conditions.
When dog saliva touches intact human skin it is extremely unlikely to cause any problems, as there will be very little absorption through the skin.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, please see your doctor immediately before it gets serious.
I’m not implying that we need to treat our dogs like disease carriers in fur. I am cool with my dog licking my hands or feet.
But just be careful if you have an open wound or broken skin on your body.
Why Do Dogs Lick Their Owner Faces So Much?
Dogs lick their owner faces as a form of communication, affection and submission. They could also be picking up traces of food or interesting scents on their owner’s face.
Is Dog Saliva Good For Skin?
Dog saliva is not beneficial for the skin or as clean as some make it out to be. It can introduce bacteria and parasites that can cause infections, especially in open wounds or people with compromised immune systems.
Nora is a passionate writer with a love for books, animals, and gardening.
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