How To Clean A Dog’s Mouth? – Is It Really Clean?

How To Clean A Dog’s Mouth? – Is It Really Clean?

We typically interpret a pet’s licking as a sweet compliment when they show you their affection. Many pet owners even refer to these licks as kisses from their adorable dogs. And even though they remind us that our dog loves and cares for us, you may wonder now and then how sanitary those “kisses” are.

How To Clean Your Dog’s Mouth?

It only takes good oral hygiene to maintain the balance of the microbiome in your dog’s mouth. The best thing that you can do is brush your dog’s mouth regularly. Use dog-specific toothpaste only, as xylitol, an ingredient in human toothpaste, is toxic to puppies. Your dog will be more willing to sit still for the brushing if you use tasty flavors like peanut butter and chicken. Alternatively, you can use a toothbrush that fits over your fingers like a tiny glove or a soft-bristled baby toothbrush. The first few times, your dog may try to bite you, but if you are consistent, they will get used to it and become more receptive to being left alone.

1. Dental Toys And Treats

Along with routine mouth brushing, there are some toys or treats that can help prevent the formation of plaque and tartar. You can stow toothpaste or other special treats for brushing your mouth in toys like the Kong. Maintaining your dog’s dental health is made easy with treats like Greenies Canine Dental Chews. Additionally, you could give the dog a rawhide bone, but you should use extreme caution when giving them one because rawhide can cause harm to dogs. Get rid of it from your dog as soon as it becomes soft. Other chew toys have ridges or bristles that scrape tartar and plaque off your dog’s mouth as they are chewed. This is a win-win situation for your dog’s dental health and for keeping him busy and out of mischief. But first, a word of caution. Your dog’s teeth won’t be kept as clean as they should be by toys alone. Brushing must be done in addition to these.

2. Water Additives

Due to how simple they are to use, water additives are becoming a popular solution. As their name implies, they are added to water to combat bad breath. The mouth of some dogs is more prone to decay. You might want to ask your veterinarian about dental sealants if your dog has this problem. These can assist in safeguarding your dog’s teeth and overall oral health, just like they do in humans.

Is a Dog’s Mouth Cleaner Than a Human’s Mouth?

I think we’ve probably all cringed as we’ve watched a friend or someone we know share their food or a drink with their dog out of the same bowl or glass their using and then exclaim, “Don’t worry, my dog’s mouth is cleaner than yours!” Maybe not; after all, contrasting the canine and human mouths is akin to contrasting apples and oranges. Both significant differences and similarities can be found. No judgment should be made if you share your water with Fido because a person’s relationship with their dog is obviously very unique. You do you!

Can A Dog’s Saliva Heal A Cut?

While we’re on the subject of dog mouths, there is a second folktale about dog mouths that you’ve probably heard before: dog saliva helps heal wounds.

A little more complexity is added to this. Even humans lick their wounds as most mammals do. In the past, there was even a belief that dog saliva had healing properties. The Greeks and the Egyptians both used dog saliva in their medical procedures and included dogs in their religious rituals.

They might have had something right. Licking has some advantages for wound healing on its own. The risk of contamination and infection is decreased thanks to the tongue’s ability to clear away debris from the wound site. Of course, excessive licking can exacerbate the situation and cause self-trauma, as in the case of hot spots.

Can Dogs Contract Human Germs?

Perhaps part of the reason the idea that “a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s mouth” came to be so widely believed is that we don’t typically swap diseases with our dogs when we swap saliva. If you kiss a dog, you won’t catch the flu; however, if you kiss a human loved one, you might.

The majority of the bacteria in your dog’s mouth are not zoonotic, so you most likely won’t contract a disease from a hearty dog kiss. This has some exceptions. Salmonella, a bacteria that can infect humans, is more likely to be contracted by dogs on a raw diet, and you really don’t want to kiss a dog that frequently robs the bathroom.

To put it another way, kissing your dog is less dangerous than kissing a human, but that does not mean that your dog’s mouth is necessarily cleaner than a human’s; rather, he just has a largely unfriendly assortment of germs.

Is A Dog’s Mouth Clean?

A dog typically has the cleanest mouth among humans and cats. Having said that, this may differ based on where your dog has been sticking their snout lately. In the end, though, it’s highly unlikely that getting licked by your dog will make you ill. You typically have nothing to worry about because the majority of the bacteria found in your dog’s mouth won’t give you infections. However, it’s probably a good idea to be aware of where that tongue has been.

In the end, if you’re really concerned that your dog will make you sick from their kisses, don’t let them lick you. But usually, there shouldn’t be a problem.

Dog's Mouth
Swedish Vallhund head portrait outdoors.

Should You Let Your Dog Kiss You?

So there you have it. The simple answer to the question: “are dogs’ mouths clean?” is no. However, in most cases, there is nothing to worry about if you want to give Fido a sloppy kiss. Since your dog’s mouth bacteria differs so greatly from yours, his saliva is generally safe for you to consume. In fact, a kiss from your dog is probably safer than one from a human who has similar bacteria to you. Call Animal Dental Care and Oral Surgery in Loveland right away to set up your dog’s routine dental cleaning, though, to keep his mouth as hygienic and clean as possible!