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Dog Saliva Might Be Better for Your Health Than You Think

Dogs love to lick people’s faces. It’s right up there with chasing anything that moves, sleeping all day and sniffing just about everything. It’s one of the many ways they show their affection.

And we, in turn, show our affection by letting them lick away. As long as we aren’t on our way to a fancy dinner party, we love dog kisses. Sure, they leave us covered in slobber, but they also kind of tickle and assure us that all is good in the world.

Yet, there are some that doubt the goodness of dog saliva, claiming it to be unhygienic, unhealthy and even gross. Good thing we have dog-loving scientists to prove them wrong.

Dog Saliva as a Probiotic – Best Study Ever?

That’s right, a team of researchers from the University of Arizona have set out to prove that dog saliva really is good for you. More specifically, they are interested in its effects on the immune system and how it can alleviate allergy symptoms, like sneezing and itching.

Dr. Charles Raison, who is heading up the team, believes that dog saliva could potentially act as a probiotic, effectively helping to improve pet owner’s immune systems.

To test his theory, he has given a number of very lucky people a dog to live with for the next three months. In the meantime, his team will be measuring the participants’ immune system response.

The thought is that the participants will end up taking on some of the microbes from the dogs, meaning that the dogs’ saliva really does act as a probiotic.

Dogs rule because they drool?

Of course, this only really works because dogs are so generous with their kisses. And not just with people, dogs will lick just about anything and then lick you and then some other random stuff again. You end up coming in contact with their saliva in a number of different ways, but that may not be such a bad thing, after all.

Sadly, for cat owners there is no such luck. Unless they’re dipping their hands in saucers of milk, opportunities to come in contact with cat saliva just do not present themselves all that often.

The Ongoing Debate

This announcement has obviously sparked some heated debate. While some “will never understand why people let their dogs lick their face,” others are overjoyed, excitedly rejoicing “I’m going to live forever.”

But the debate is not a new one. Ancient Egyptians believed dog saliva was great for curing wounds, while the French even have a saying for it, “A dog’s tongue is a doctor’s tongue.”

The latest research does seem to indicate that dog saliva can help heal wounds, perhaps twice as fast according to the University of Florida, due to a special protein. But most veterinarians are skeptical because of the potential bacteria and parasites present in the saliva.

In the end, your dog generally has your health in mind, so make sure he or she is getting the proper care and nutrition. Regardless of the study’s findings, I think most people agree with one reader who said, “My dog can lick me all he wants, whether it’s good for me or not.”


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