While it is super tempting to let your dog lick your baby’s face for a super adorable photo opp, vets and pediatricians alike are advising against this cuteness overload. According to Woman’s Day, there are two major reasons that doggie kisses plus your baby is so not worth it. Although one of the reasons is common sense for any germaphobes out there, the other is a little less obvious unless you’re familiar with dog behavior.
If you’ve ever watched a dog clean itself, then you know it’s probably not a great idea to have a dog lick anyone, including babies. “Their tongues are their toilet paper, as they lick their behinds to cleanse,” primary care specialist Dr. Marc I. Leavey told Woman’s Day. Yeahhhh, nobody — even your unsuspecting children — should want to be kissed by used toilet paper.
Another cleanliness aspect is that people may feed their dogs a raw diet. If that’s the case, the dog is not only susceptible to salmonella, but so is whoever they lick, veterinarian Dr. Thomas Kass told Women’s Day. And while it’s rare, the dog could pass worms to people too . . . now I’m scarred for life thinking about all of the dogs that I have let lick my face.
But what makes a dog licking a baby’s face specifically so bad beyond the ick factor is that licking could be a sign of dominance.
If all the germ stuff hadn’t grossed you out sufficiently, then your dog potentially thinking its the boss of your baby definitely should. Plus, it could lead to violent behavior, as Woman’s Day covered. “In fact, the pet may become protective over the owners and attempt to defend them by attacking the child for yelling or merely playing with his parents,” pediatrician Dr. Ashanti W. Woods said.
So while nothing may be cuter than a dog playfully licking a baby (except perhaps for this cat comforting a baby), you should nip that canine behavior right in the bud because having a healthy and safe baby is way more adorable than anything else.