Is Kissing Your Dog Dangerous

Is it Dangerous to Kiss Your Dog?

A question dog owners are asking more frequently is about the safety of kissing your dog or being kissed by your dog. The reason behind this recent line of questioning is because of the press coverage about the kissing bug.

The kissing bug is a beetle-like insect that has been native to South American and is now in the United States. The kissing bug, also known as conenose bugs, assassin bugs, and vampire bugs, is a concern due to is ability spread Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi) which can infect people and dogs. The kissing bug is named as such because if its propensity to bite around the lips and mouth. The kissing bug does not kiss you, your dog, nor do they kiss each other.

T. cruzi is a protozoan parasite that infects cells and can cause the deadly Chagas disease in people and in dogs. Learn more – go to Chagas Disease in Dogs.

Kissing bugs are widespread in South America and are becoming more common in the United States. States such as Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Arizona, Louisiana may have infection rates up to 9% in some dog populations.

Can you Get Chagas Disease From Kissing Your Dog?

You cannot give or get T. cruzi or Chagas disease from kissing your dog. You or your dog can only get Chagas disease by being bit by the insect that transmits the disease.

Areas were dogs are more commonly infected with Chagas disease are also areas where there is an increased incidence of infection in people. This is believed to be due to both human and dog exposure to the kissing bug, not from a dog or person transmitting the T. cruzi to and from each other.

People can acquire T. cruzi from being bit by a kissing bug. Learn more about how to avoid contact with kissing bugs with this article: Top 5 Pet Owner Questions About The Kissing Bug.

Please note: It is possible to get Chagas disease from being exposed to the blood of your dog in an open wound.

The Dangers of Kissing Your Dog

Are there dangers in kissing your dog? It is possible if your dog’s fur or face is contaminated with bacteria to take on that bacteria.

Are there dangers to being kissed by your dog or is it safe? There are old myths about how clean a dog’s mouth is. They are myths. Dogs mouths are dirty. They are full of bacteria. A simple lick or kiss from a dog is unlikely to cause a problem but is possible if the lick or kiss occurs to an open wound or to an individual with an immature or compromised immune system.

How to Protect Yourself From Dog Kisses

A dog kiss here and there probably won’t cause a problem unless you have a compromised immune system or an open wound. The best thing to do is to wash your hands carefully after handling your dog or dogs food. Routinely deworm your dog and pick up his feces in the yard. Discourage your dog from eating his own feces. Learn more about coprophagia (feces eating) in dogs.