As a professional dog walker, I’m definitely one of those people who can’t seem to get enough of dogs, especially my own dog Dingo. When I come home she’s ecstatic to see me; leaping and jumping up and down as if I’d been gone for weeks, bringing me her toys and yes – wanting to give me a big sloppy dog kiss. Now even though I’m around dogs all day, I never get tired of the lovin’ I receive – but the licks on my face I can do without.  And it’s not just because I’m not enthusiastic about having a soggy, freshly licked face. There are a few other, more logical reasons you might want to reconsider letting your pup lick you.

First as a dog walker and pet care specialist, let me offer the idea that – you have no idea where your dog’s mouth has been. Being around dogs constantly I can tell you that they will try and eat anything that crosses their path from dirt to poop to old socks and yes…. their own vomit. Not to mention they lick their genitals. Often.

How many times have you heard that a dog’s mouth is much cleaner than a humans? Is it??? I’m fairly certain that’s like comparing apples to oranges as a dog’s hygiene and saliva is not like a humans. Not to mention that dogs can often carry and transmit bacteria and parasites such as hookworm, ringworm, Salmonella and my favorite – Giardia. This is a highly contagious parasite that is transferable to humans and can cause diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Not to mention if your dog has this you then usually have the pleasure of sanitizing almost everything of your dogs plus your own bedding and house hold surfaces. Good times.

Dr. Neilanjan Nandi, an assistant professor of medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia says a dog’s saliva has proteins that may help cleanse or heal its own wounds, but “There are some organisms unique to dogs that we were simply not meant to tolerate or combat.”
— "Should You Let Your Dog Lick Your Face?" by Christopher Mele, New York Times

So next time you see your favorite best friend starting to offer you a kiss maybe think again. Personally, aside from the idea of my dog passing along some sort of lovely parasite or bacteria, just a quick visual of some of the things my dog has eaten in the past is enough for me to pause and stop her big sloppy canine kiss. Perhaps instead a nice long hug and pet will suffice.

 Just some thoughts offered by your friendly neighborhood dog walkers at Scratch N’ Sniff Pet Care.


Shaley Howard is the Owner and Pack Leader of Scratch N’ Sniff Pet Care. She and her team have been providing daily dog walks and loving, reliable, trustworthy pet care since 2006. For additional information about Scratch N’ Sniff and areas of Portland they service go to