Dear Daisy Dog
We’re visiting my in-laws over the holidays, and I’m concerned because their dog, Buddy, licks our children’s faces. Is this safe, or should I ask them to prevent Buddy from licking the kids?
I like to lick children’s faces too, because the kids are just my height, and their cheeks taste like milk and cookies.
Their parents accept my behavior, because I’m healthy and I take monthly dewormer medication to prevent infection by intestinal parasites.
Besides, doggie kisses are undoubtedly safer for people than human kisses.
Nevertheless, depending on Buddy’s health and pre-kiss activities, his face licking may pose a slight risk to your children, particularly if their immune systems don’t function well.
If Buddy raids the cat litter box, eats his poop, licks his anus or drinks from the toilet immediately before he licks your children on their lips, he could theoretically transfer microscopic parasites, worm eggs or bacteria to them. The risk is minimal, but if he does, the organisms could pose a hazard.
So to play it safe, teach your children to turn their heads and walk away if Buddy kisses their lips. But when he licks their cheeks, you can relax and enjoy his display of affection.