Tips From Royal Flush Havanese On the Dangers of Doggy Kisses

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Royal Flush Havanese gives you the facts about a dog's mouth.

What are the possible dangers of letting your dog “kiss” (lick) you?

A dog's mouth is NOT cleaner than a human mouth!

To let the canine family member “doggy kiss” or not?

It’s certainly an issue that divides doglovers. Some find it a natural mode and expression of human/canine affection and others find it downright repulsive. In-between these two extreme reactions, there is certainly a lot of middle ground.

Royal Flush Havanese presents the facts regarding this issue. What are the possible dangers of letting dogs “kiss” (lick) one's face? Is it safe? And is it behavior to encourage, tolerate, or downright discourage?

As far as proper canine etiquette with strangers goes, Royal Flush Havanese must take the stance that it is definitely behavior to discourage and curb. It’s always important to remember that not all people are comfortable with dogs or familar with their behaviors or modes of expressing friendliness or affection. To a non doglover (and hard as it is for doglovers to imagine there are some), a lick from a dog is a most unwelcome thing. In fact, to someone who is not familiar with dogs, it can be even frightening. So, of course, as far as the dog’s interactions with strangers go, it is something to definitely discourage. And strongly.

Royal Flush Havanese believes in positive reinforcement training to discourage dogs from such behavior. “Firm but kind” is the motto here. Remember, dogs lick/kiss as a means of showing affection and submission.

The behavior itself harks back to wolves, from which all domestic dogs are genetically descended. All wolves as pups lick their parents' faces. This is to signal to them that they need to be fed and for their parents to regurgitate food to them. Wolf pups at this stage are too young to even chew their own food, never mind hunt for it. Licking their parents’ snouts signals they need to be fed and stimulates the parent dogs to regurgitate their thoroughly pre-chewed meals (think of it as wolf baby food). Gross to human sensibilities, yes, but essential to wolf pup survival. When wolves get older submissive wolves continue to lick the snouts of the dominant wolves in their pack. This is to acknowledge their leadership and to basically say to them, “You’re the big wolf, the leader/parent. I submit to your authority. Take care of me.” So, when our dogs engage in this behavior with us they are doing the same, acknowledging us as their “pack leaders,” and asking us to feed and take care of them.

But is it safe, sanitary, and hygienic to let our dogs do this?

Scientists have shown that humans and dogs both contain potentially illness-inducing bacteria in our mouths. So, in theory it is possible for both species to transfer these germs to one another through close physical contact,in other words, kissing/licking.

Without getting too scientific in jargon, the scientists found that dogs' mouths, contrary to the old adage, are NOT cleaner than human mouths. And that of all the many bacteria present in a canine’s mouth, the most commonly transferable to humans is that which causes gum disease. And the list of bacteria dangers to dog lovers from doggy kisses doesn’t stop there. But rather than list a series of intimidating germs’ Latin and Greek derived, hard to pronounce names, just keep this in mind. Dogs are natural scavengers. Their mouths, as a general rule, go to places humans never venture. Just think of how your dog cleans him-or-herself, for starters. Or what it sniffs when on a walk. And those are just the places you know of and see.

Royal Flush Havanese advises you for the sake of family health not to encourage a dog to express his-or-her affection with licking, especially in the facial area. Petting, hugging are the best ways exchange affection with dogs.

Go to the Royal Flush Havanese website and read more useful tips for the health and well being of dogs. Awarded a Certificate of No Complaints and rated A+ for their outstanding dedication to honesty in the business place, customer satisfaction, and ethical policies and procedures by the Better Business Bureau, Royal Flush Havanese is dedicated to producing the finest Havanese puppies for sale and providing outstanding service in their care. The only dog-breeder in the Ocean State to be accredited by the BBB, Royal Flush Havanese has also received sterling reviews from their many delighted clients, Royal Flush Havanese is proud of their much appreciated commitment to excellence and has thousands of admiring fans and followers on Facebook. "Like" the Royal Flush Havanese facebook page today to show your support.

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Holly Mastroianni
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