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Dog mouths: Cleaner than ours?
There is a common myth that dogs' mouths are cleaner than humans'. This is not necessarily true, because it depends on a number of factors. While it may be better, bacterially speaking, to be mauled by a dog than be bitten by a human with hepatitis C, a dog's lick is not going to be good to heal its wounds or yours.
The news source reports that some pet owners even cite historical facts about the dogs of Julius Caesar, and how he relied on his dogs to lick his soldiers' wounds clean. However, if that is even true, it was more than 2,000 years ago. Today, a lick from a dog should certainly not be relied upon over a trip to the doctor's office. At the same time, you should not rely on your dog's ability to lick its own wounds to heal them.
It is good for a dog to lick its wounds to get blood, dirt and bacteria off, and licking can even be therapeutic. The tongues of mammals are partly designed to remove dirt and dead tissue from injuries. In addition, saliva contains enzymes and other characteristics that can reduce infection and speed healing. Studies have found more than 20 beneficial compounds in it to date. Mammalian spit includes that of humans, of course. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that it may be beneficial for humans to briefly lick their wounds, too.
The issue with modern dogs is that bad oral bacteria is often found in their mouths, and they tend to get obsessive about licking, which can spread bad bacteria and infection. If your dog has an open wound, it is best to use an e-collar to prevent it from licking and treat the wound with pet meds like Be Soothed Tea Tree Oil Skin Relief or Betagen. These sprays can relieve itching and pain while speeding the healing of infections.
In addition, there are a number of ways you can improve the cleanliness of your dog's mouth. The 1-800-PetMeds Breath Refresher can rid your dog's teeth of plaque and debris, making its breath smell better and lowering its chances of dental diseases. It is also a good idea to keep your pet's mouth clean by brushing its teeth with pet supplies like the Petrodex Finger Toothbrush, which is especially good for hard-to-reach spots. If your dog can't sit still for toothbrush time, try giving it Greenies for dogs or put some C.E.T. AquaDent Drinking Water Additive in its water dish. These products will keep your dog's mouth clean without it even knowing it.