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5 Pet Health Myths

  • August 7, 2011
  • 6:01 pm

Myth #5—It’s OK to kiss your dog.

The reality: “A dog’s general mouth bacteria may be OK for us, but where the dog’s tongue has been, it’s not a clean environment,” says Dr. Rubin. (Think butt-licking, poop-sniffing encounters in the dog park, and such.) In fact, you can actually come down with salmonella poisoning after receiving a dog lick to the face!

While this may not deter everyone from face time with their loyal companion, people with weak immune systems, such as people living with HIV or undergoing chemotherapy, should refrain from getting schlecked on the face.

While dogs are inherently prone to licking gross things, there are some things you can do as a pet owner to keep your pet’s mouth as clean and free of dental disease as possible. The gold standard is brushing your dog’s teeth. (NEVER use human toothpaste, though; it could contain xylitol, a substance that causes a precipitous drop in blood sugar, leading to hypoglycemia and possibly death in dogs. Always use toothpaste designed for your pet.)

Some dogs, such as golden retrievers and labs, could benefit from rope bones. As they cart the rope with knotted ends around like a bone in their mouth, it can actually mechanically clean teeth to a certain extent. The right-size ridged Kong toy can do the same.

For fun facts about pet behavior, see:
Why Cats Play with Water
Does Your Dog Watch TV?
Why Dogs Bury Things

Read more: Behavior & Communication, Cats, Dogs, Everyday Pet Care, Pets, Safety, ,

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Rodale

Rodale.com is a new original source for daily news, information, and advice on personal and environmental health. Rodale.com focuses on “Where Health Meets Green” topics, providing daily news stories and breaking news along with easy-to-follow, high-impact tips and advice.

235 comments

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8:48PM PDT on May 21, 2013

Thanks for sharing!

12:03AM PDT on Sep 13, 2011

When I was in my teens we had a family cat that only drank water from the bathroom sink tap.
It was comical - He would sit in the sink and wait patiently until someone noticed him and to turn on the water.

12:11PM PDT on Sep 9, 2011

I didn't know about kisses. Thanks!

10:43AM PDT on Sep 9, 2011

The only people food one of my cats will eat is cheese. We give a piece the size of a pea once a day. He loves it.

3:50PM PDT on Sep 8, 2011

I have to thoroughly disagree with the first "myth". Granted, table scraps may be bad for your pet (if they contain a lot of fat, oils, condiments, etc.). However, "people food" is actually better for animals than the standard, dry kibble stuff. You have to be careful with those and read the label (and ingredients) thoroughly because even "natural" pet food can be guilty of greenwashing.

Aside from that, you don't hear about dogs and cats hunting for kibble in the wild. They go after birds, rodents, and even plants, because that is what they would naturally eat. Not processed food that contains additives, fillers, chemicals, and other unnecessary things.

I would suggest looking into organic, holistic, or raw diets for your pets. There are even recipes online and pet cookbooks, so you can plan their meals and always know what is exactly in their food (which is especially useful if they have food allergies or other health issues). Plus, real/organic food can boost their immune system and give them a healthier coat, unlike the processed stuff (which may actually lead to more trips to the vet).

And it doesn't have to be a masterpiece, it can be as simple as some chicken and veggies. But if you decide to stick with the kibble route (high quality or not), please read the packaging thoroughly...

This site has some good info on raw diets:
http://www.rawdogfood.com.au/index.html

11:11AM PDT on Sep 8, 2011

I knew about the carrots (and the grapes) - but cauliflower and apples - what great ideas! My mom's dog will do pretty much anything for carrots. It makes me laugh to watch how excited she gets.

9:32AM PDT on Sep 8, 2011

Thanks for the info!

12:56PM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

Thanks...I already know these but it is not always easy to do the right thing. My cats are always begging...

7:55AM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

...thanks for the tips--never did like dogs or cats licking my face = /

2:08AM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

Worth sharing!b Thanks!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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