One of dogs’ favorite pastimes is licking. They lick objects in your house. They lick their own body parts. Sometimes, they lick your face.

Although it can be utterly cute and heartwarming, your dog licking your face is not something you should tolerate. Why? No matter how cute your doggo happens to be, just like your own mouth, their mouth too is a breeding ground of all kinds of pathogens and bacteria.

If some harmful microorganism happens to be residing in your dog’s mouth, your dog’s endearing licking could definitely get your sick.


Here are just some of the potential bacteria that could be present in your dog’s saliva.

  • Campylobacter jejuni 
  • Salmonella spp. 
  • Toxoplasma gondii 
  • Bartonella henselae 
  • Capnocytophaga canimorsus 
  • Brucella canis 
  • Escherichia coli 
  • Leptospira interrogans

If these names don’t ring a bell, it’s only because you’re actually better off not getting to know them. While some of the pathogens on this list, including the E. coli and Salmonella spp. are not quite harmful unless your an elderly or has a weakened immunity system, others are straight up bad news.

For example, the Leptospira interrogans can easily sicken anyone that happened to be exposed. Meanwhile, Toxoplasma gondii can have adverse health effects to women who are pregnant.

To ensure that you do not fall prey to any of these pathogens and bacteria, wash the areas your dog has licked using strong detergent and water immediately after contact.

How to rectify excessive licking

Addressing this issue is as straightforward as letting your dog know you’re not up to any licking. Soon as they do so, rise from your position and leave them behind. This communicates that you do not encourage licking and when your dog gets the same result after repeat attempts, eventually they will get the message.

Do not in any way be harsh to your dog by scolding them. Instead you may want to resort to distractions such as giving them toys. You can also bring them outside for playtime at the backyard.

Here consistency is crucial. If you are worried about the health repercussions of your dog licking your face and other parts of your body, you must be consistent with your message of refusal. Yes, no matter how cute it gets.

Failure to ensure consistency will only confuse your dogs. And a confuse dog can lead to an anxious dog. An anxious dog results to one developing an array of destructive behaviors.

Another strategy to discourage licking is to abruptly shift to a different variant of shampoo or soap. Your dog might be giving you those excessive lickings because they appreciate how you taste and smell. Once they are confronted with an unfamiliar smell they will most likely turn around to find something else to be interested in.

Do remember that licking is instinctive to dogs. You can’t totally stop them from being their canine selves. The best you could do is help train them so they’ll know which are okay and which are not okay to lick.



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