Most dog owners like to come home to a cheerful dog, and a lick here or there does not hurt either. But what is the composition of dog saliva, and can getting licked by your dog have a negative impact? Here are some facts about dog saliva.
Unlike in humans the saliva in dogs plays a little role in digestion. In humans, the saliva contains some enzymes that aid in digesting food. In dogs however, the saliva’s sole purpose is to aid in swallowing; all the digestion goes on in the dog’s stomach.
You might have seen your dog lick his wounds. The reason is, the saliva is antibacterial, and therefore helps in healing the wound. However, this does not eliminate the need to take your dog to the vet when he is hurt. In fact, sometimes the wound has to be covered to keep the dog from constantly licking it and sabotaging the healing process.
A dog’s saliva has a pH range of 8.5 to 8.65 compared to human saliva which has a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5. This property makes dogs less prone to cavities because the alkalinity destroys the acids produced by bacteria and which causes cavities. However, dogs still need to have dental visits at least once a year, with dogs suffering from periodontal diseases needing more frequent visits.
Usually, when people get allergic reactions, they blame it on dog dander. It turns out that dog saliva is also a culprit. Dog saliva causes allergic reactions due to the proteins it contains. When a dog licks its fur, the saliva dries up and the proteins it contains then become airborne. Studies have revealed that dog saliva causes more allergic reactions than dander.
Although dog saliva is antibacterial, it can still transmit bacteria from dogs to humans. Researchers have found peridontopathic bacteria present in dog’s plaque. These bacterial can cause severe gum disease, which can in turn lead to heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes. Since the research concentrated on kissing, for now, avoid kissing your dog or licks on the face.
Facts About Dog Saliva