If you are a pet owner and have found yourself bleeding or injured, you might have noticed that your dog wants to lick the wound. While most dogs will come to investigate, some will also try to lick the blood. There are heartwarming reasons that your dog will attempt to, and often manage to lick the wound. However, licking human blood can also be dangerous to your dog and you.
Why do dogs lick human blood? How is it dangerous to both of you? We’ll answer these questions and more below.
Why Do Dogs Lick Human Blood?
The simple answer is that your dog is trying to take care of you. When a dog has been injured, its instinct is to try and heal itself by licking the wound. This trait is present in dogs and other species, such as rats and cats. While it’s sweet that your dog is trying to heal you by licking your wound, it’s also dangerous.
While there are components of a dog’s saliva that help heal wounds, which is why they do it to themselves, your dog’s mouth and saliva contain bacteria that can make you sick.
How Can My Dog Make Me Sick?
Many pet owners don’t realize that there are sicknesses they can catch by letting their dog lick their wounds. While some diseases are more likely for you to catch than others, the possibility still exists. Of course, the primary disease you should be aware of is rabies. Not only is it highly contagious, but if it’s not caught in time, there is no cure. If your dog has this virus, it can easily transmit the disease to you through its saliva when licking an open wound.
Rabies is a deadly disease, and it’s crucial to note that once rabies symptoms begin, nothing can be done to save you. However, it isn’t the only disease you risk catching by letting your dog lick your wounds.
Campylobacter: This bacterium causes severe diarrhea and vomiting and can lead to secondary infections.
Salmonella: Salmonella isn’t just found in contaminated meat and plants; it can also be transferred by your dog licking your wounds. It is another bacterium that will cause gastrointestinal distress and can be dangerous if not treated.
Giardia: This is a parasite that generally affects water supplies. However, it has a slight chance of being transferred through saliva, so it’s best not to let your dog lick your wounds.
Dog Saliva Can Cause Infections
Not only can your dog’s salvia cause the disease above, but it can also cause you to develop an infection. While many experts say dogs’ mouths are cleaner than humans, dogs hold quite a few types of bacteria in their mouths.
One of these bacteria strains is Pasteurella, which can lead to significant infections if its spread to other areas of the body. Pasteurella can lead to infections that are so severe that the affected area has to be amputated. There have been cases reported of major organs being affected, and it is possible to die from these infections if they aren’t caught in time. While this might not happen to you, it’s not worth the risk.
While it may be tempting to let your pup lick your wounds, it’s not a good idea. Dog’s saliva carries bacteria that can cause an infection and a few diseases you might not have thought about, such as rabies. It’s also highly possible that you can make your canine pal sick. Make sure to put a Band-Aid or gauze bandage on any wound you have to keep your dog from licking the wound. That is the best way to protect you and your furry friend from harm.
Featured Image Credit: Fiery Phoenix, Shutterstock