That includes some of them having an unusual look!
Of the dogs that we have at home one, little Pedi, is not your average dog. He is just about blind and one of his eyes is different to the other. Not that this stops him from getting around and one sees the power of their noses at work.
Once again, The Dodo has a story about a dog that isn’t your average canine. But so what!
This Little Dog Peeking Over A Fence Is Making People Uncomfortable
Her name is Junebug and she’s actually a perfect angel 😇
This is Junebug. She’s a curious little dog with an outsized personality.
But, yeah, she can seem a bit intense.
This photo of the 4-pound pup has been making the rounds online in recent days. In it, Junebug is seen peering over the top of a tall fence, fixing what appears to be a rather ghoulish gaze on the viewer. . “Never been more scared of a dog,” one person sharing the image tweeted.
Here’s a closer look.
The photo of Junebug went viral. And since then, people online have likened her appearance to that of Beetlejuice, the Joker and even that scary clown from “It.”
Is her expression somewhat spooky? Well, yes. But in reality, there’s nothing scary at all about Junebug.
The Dodo was able to track down Junebug’s owner, Tim K., to learn about their “scary” dog and the viral pic. And sure enough, that menacing vibe people seem to sense in Junebug doesn’t align with reality. She’s actually a perfect angel.
“Junebug is, without a doubt, the sweetest dog you could ever meet,” Tim said. “She loves people. And everyone who meets her falls in love with her. She’s just the sweetest little thing in the world.”
To be fair, though, Junebug sometimes looks a tad disgruntled — even when she’s not.
But how is Junebug peeking over such a tall fence in the pic above? There’s a sweet explanation behind that, too.
“We have a privacy fence in our backyard,” Tim said. “Every once in a while, Junebug wants to see what’s happening on the other side of the fence, and I’ll pick her up and hold her. We let her look over.”
Tim’s wife snapped the picture, which he decided to share with a dog-loving community online.
“For us, it was just a cute photo,” he added. “It wasn’t until people started commenting … she’s got such an intense look on her face.”
But that’s just Junebug.
Tim and his wife never intended for the photo of their dog to go viral, or for people to think she’s scary. They know the truth, though, and are happy to spread the word about the real Junebug.
“We’ve always been dog people. She’s a member of our family,” Tim said. “If Junebug knew about all of the attention she was getting, she’d be over the moon.”
Well I am not sure I agree with Tim. Dogs are so clever that a part of me thinks that Junebug realises the attention she is getting. I guess we will never know for sure. But that doesn’t take the slightest from what is a lovely story.
Rescuing dogs is both a wonderful and heart-breaking thing to do. When I met Jeannie in 2007 she had been rescuing dogs from the streets of Guaymas in Mexico for years, attending to their immediate needs, and finding homes for them mainly in Arizona. The stories she had to tell were incredible. A year later I moved from Devon, England, out to Mexico with Pharaoh to be with Jean and then in 2009 started writing this blog. In 2010 when we came North to the USA to be married we brought with us 16 dogs much to the amusement of the US Border officer as we entered the USA.
So this story in The Dodo naturally jumped out at me.
Dog Chained In Abandoned Backyard Can’t Believe He’s Finally Being Rescued
“He ‘meeped’ like a muppet, he was so excited, so he got the name Beaker!”
When a man living in Detroit returned home one day and noticed that someone had dumped a chained dog in a neighboring backyard, he frantically began calling around for someone to help. Luckily, Rebel Dogs Detroit took the call and sent a volunteer, Tiffany Perkins, out to investigate. She had no idea what to expect when she first arrived — but as soon as she saw Beaker, her heart just melted.
“Beaker was timid and cowered behind the garage to hide,” Perkins told The Dodo. “He peeked out the side as I started calling for him. As I got closer, his tail started wagging. Then he pushed his weight against us for petting him — and seemed to be visibly relieved. He ‘meeped’ like a muppet, he was so excited, so he got the name Beaker!”
After being chained up and abandoned, Beaker was understandably a little nervous at first, but as soon as he realized Perkins was there to help him, he completely relaxed and was so excited to meet his new best friend.
“When the chain was untethered from the garage, he dropped to the ground for belly rubs and kisses and playful chaos,” Perkins said.
Unfortunately, the chain that Beaker had around him was stuck on his neck, so Perkins quickly rushed him to the vet to get him checked out. While they waited for Beaker’s surgery to remove the chain, Perkins took advantage of the extra time to give Beaker all the love he’d never had before, and the sweet dog appreciated it so much.
“We had lots of bonding time in the car waiting for his surgery for 5+ hours,” Perkins said. “He was napping with his head in my lap after a while.”
Even after everything Beaker had been through, all he wanted was to be loved — and finally, his wish had come true.
Beaker is now healing from his surgery in his foster home and is just the happiest dog anyone has ever met. For Beaker, it doesn’t seem to matter what happened to him in the past. What matters is where he is now and all the new friends he’s made who care about him and are making sure he’s happy and safe.
“He’s learning how to be an indoor dog with unconditional love in his foster home,” Perkins said.
Beaker is currently looking for his forever home and would love a home with another playful, energetic dog who can continue to show him the ropes and become his best buddy. As soon as Beaker laid eyes on his rescuers, he knew he was finally safe, and he’s so excited to find the forever family he deserves.
A Doberman pinscher shows off her caring attitude.
It strikes me dogs are loving animals. Certainly for the vast majority of animals that I write about and that we see in our daily lives. For example, on Thursday we had to take Cleo and Oliver for their annual check-ups at Lincoln Road Veterinary Clinic. They inevitably came into contact with a few other dogs and there was no friction whatsoever; just a lot of bum sniffing!
That is why I chose this article from The Dodo to share with you.
Big Mama Dog Adopts Newborn Kitten And Carries Her Around In Her Mouth
“She’s just obsessed with this kitten” ❤️️
By Lily Feinn, Published on the 27th September, 2021
Three weeks ago, Brittany Callan wasn’t planning on adding more animals to her life. Then she heard meowing coming from the back of her aunt’s garage.
There, in the grass, was a newborn kitten. Callan placed the little animal on a soft blanket in the shade nearby, hoping the mom would return. But hours later, the kitten was still alone. She knew the little animal wouldn’t make it through the night, so she decided to take the little blind baby home.
Callan’s Doberman pinscher, Ruby, had just had puppies, and she hoped that the dog’s mothering instincts would kick in when she saw the helpless kitten.
“We’ve had baby bunnies and guinea pigs, and she just licks them like she’s their mom,” Callan told The Dodo. “She was carrying around the baby bunnies in her mouth and hiding them in the couch like they were hers — she even tried to nurse them when she was younger.”
Ruby and the kitten couldn’t look more different, but none of that mattered when they met. Callan held the kitten out to her dog, and Ruby immediately accepted the new baby into her pack.
“She just started cleaning it and nudging it out of my hand,” Callan said. “Then I just opened up the kitten’s mouth and put it on Ruby’s smallest nipple, and it started eating right away. Ruby looked at it and laid her head down.”
Rubys’ puppies were already three times her size, but that didn’t stop the kitten from crawling in to snuggle with her dog brothers and sisters.
And her new mom always makes sure the kitten is clean and safe. “She looks like the scruffiest kitten ever because she’s always wet from Ruby licking her or carrying her around in her mouth,” Callan said. “Her back end is either sopping wet or matted down from Ruby cleaning her so much.”
Ruby is now weaning her puppies, but refuses to be separated from her tiniest baby for more than a few minutes.
“She’s just obsessed with this kitten,” Callan said. “She doesn’t want to be outside — she’ll go to every door and whine and scratch until you let her in, and then she’ll just pick up the kitten and carry it around in her mouth.”
Under Ruby’s care, the little orphaned kitten is thriving, and when she’s old enough, she will travel to her forever home with Callan’s cousin.
But for now, the only mom the kitten needs is Ruby. It just goes to show when it comes to family, size doesn’t matter — it’s the love that counts.
“it’s the love that counts.“
Lily Feinn has gone to the heart of Ruby’s care for this kitten: Love!
It is a great example to us humans as well. Nothing is ever gained from hate and war.
Chris Impey writes about his specialty in observational cosmology.
This has nothing to do with life, nothing that we are dealing with in our daily affairs, and has nothing to do with our dear dogs. BUT! This is incredibly interesting! Incredibly and beautifully interesting!
The most powerful space telescope ever built will look back in time to the Dark Ages of the universe
I’m an astronomer with a specialty in observational cosmology – I’ve been studying distant galaxies for 30 years. Some of the biggest unanswered questions about the universe relate to its early years just after the Big Bang. When did the first stars and galaxies form? Which came first, and why? I am incredibly excited that astronomers may soon uncover the story of how galaxies started because James Webb was built specifically to answer these very questions.
The ‘Dark Ages’ of the universe
Excellent evidence shows that the universe started with an event called the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, which left it in an ultra-hot, ultra-dense state. The universe immediately began expanding after the Big Bang, cooling as it did so. One second after the Big Bang, the universe was a hundred trillion miles across with an average temperature of an incredible 18 billion F (10 billion C). Around 400,000 years after the Big Bang, the universe was 10 million light years across and the temperature had cooled to 5,500 F (3,000 C). If anyone had been there to see it at this point, the universe would have been glowing dull red like a giant heat lamp.
Throughout this time, space was filled with a smooth soup of high energy particles, radiation, hydrogen and helium. There was no structure. As the expanding universe became bigger and colder, the soup thinned out and everything faded to black. This was the start of what astronomers call the Dark Ages of the universe.
The soup of the Dark Ages was not perfectly uniform and due to gravity, tiny areas of gas began to clump together and become more dense. The smooth universe became lumpy and these small clumps of denser gas were seeds for the eventual formation of stars, galaxies and everything else in the universe.
Although there was nothing to see, the Dark Ages were an important phase in the evolution of the universe.
Looking for the first light
The Dark Ages ended when gravity formed the first stars and galaxies that eventually began to emit the first light. Although astronomers don’t know when first light happened, the best guess is that it was several hundred million years after the Big Bang. Astronomers also don’t know whether stars or galaxies formed first.
Current theories based on how gravity forms structure in a universe dominated by dark matter suggest that small objects – like stars and star clusters – likely formed first and then later grew into dwarf galaxies and then larger galaxies like the Milky Way. These first stars in the universe were extreme objects compared to stars of today. They were a million times brighter but they lived very short lives. They burned hot and bright and when they died, they left behind black holes up to a hundred times the Sun’s mass, which might have acted as the seeds for galaxy formation.
Astronomers would love to study this fascinating and important era of the universe, but detecting first light is incredibly challenging. Compared to massive, bright galaxies of today, the first objects were very small and due to the constant expansion of the universe, they’re now tens of billions of light years away from Earth. Also, the earliest stars were surrounded by gas left over from their formation and this gas acted like fog that absorbed most of the light. It took several hundred million years for radiation to blast away the fog. This early light is very faint by the time it gets to Earth.
But this is not the only challenge.
As the universe expands, it continuously stretches the wavelength of light traveling through it. This is called redshift because it shifts light of shorter wavelengths – like blue or white light – to longer wavelengths like red or infrared light. Though not a perfect analogy, it is similar to how when a car drives past you, the pitch of any sounds it is making drops noticeably. Similar to how a pitch of a sound drops if the source is moving away from you, the wavelength of light stretches due to the expansion of the universe.
By the time light emitted by an early star or galaxy 13 billion years ago reaches any telescope on Earth, it has been stretched by a factor of 10 by the expansion of the universe. It arrives as infrared light, meaning it has a wavelength longer than that of red light. To see first light, you have to be looking for infrared light.
Telescope as a time machine
Enter the James Webb Space Telescope.
Telescopes are like time machines. If an object is 10,000 light-years away, that means the light takes 10,000 years to reach Earth. So the further out in space astronomers look, the further back in time we are looking.
James Webb is the most technically difficult mission NASA has ever attempted. But I think the scientific questions it may help answer will be worth every ounce of effort. I and other astronomers are waiting excitedly for the data to start coming back sometime in 2022.
You’ve seen your dog do it a thousand times — that cute paw licking that can quickly turn to “Hey! Stop that!” once it becomes a total obsession.
In general, paw licking is normal behavior for many dogs. They do it after they eat; they do it after they’ve been playing outside; they even sometimes do it before taking a nap. While all these are expected, you should start to take it more seriously if you’re noticing a sudden increase in licking, raw or irritated spots between their toes, or even loss of fur.
When it crosses the line between normal grooming and excessive paw licking, it’s probably time to try to figure out the root of the problem — so we chatted with one of our favorite veterinarians to get some expert advice.
“There are a number of reasons why dogs lick their paws, but one of the most common reasons is allergies,” Dr. Alex Blutinger, a veterinarian from BluePearl Pet Hospital in New York City, told The Dodo.
“This behavior can be caused by environmental allergies, food allergies and even fleas or ticks,” he said.
Dr. Blutinger said many everyday substances can also cause an allergic reaction, including things like pollen, grass that’s been treated with insecticide, certain plastics or rubber materials on food bowls, and even certain medications or shampoos.
“There are other caustic chemicals that dogs encounter in their environment,” he said, “[like] deicing salts to melt ice.”
This means that if you’ve noticed your dog is licking her paws more than usual, she’s likely experiencing allergies. If that’s what you suspect, it’s a good idea to chat with your vet about how to help her feel better.
Trauma to the Paws
Aside from allergies, excessive paw licking — which includes paw chewing — can also be caused by various types of injuries.
According to Dr. Blutinger, some of these types of trauma can include burns from walking on hot surfaces like cement or blacktop, splinters, broken nails, injured bones or ligaments, or even insect bites.
It’s a good idea to inspect your dog’s paws to see if you can find any physical trauma, and consult your vet if you think it’s something that may need extra attention.
“Interestingly, dogs that have gastrointestinal disorders (like pancreatitis) have also been shown to lick their paws,” Dr. Blutinger said.
He added that certain hormonal imbalances like hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease can also cause dogs to lick their paws — which means a trip to the vet is definitely in order to sort out your pup’s health!
Finally, sensitive dogs can also display anxiety by licking their paws, in the same way some people bite their nails as a sign of nervousness. If you think this is the case, it might be a good idea to figure out why your dog is feeling anxious and find ways to help her feel better.
So while paw licking is generally normal for most dogs, if you worry it’s becoming obsessive, and you can’t figure out an obvious cause, it’s a good idea to check with your vet to make sure your dog doesn’t need extra care.
I call that very sound advice.
Out of interest have any readers of this post had a case of excessive licking with their dogs?
Indeed until a short time ago it was thought that the dog evolved from the grey wolf but recently I read that the dog evolved as its own species.
But the following is a republication of an article on Oregon Wild about wolves returning to the State of Oregon.
Wolves in Oregon
Gray wolves (Canis lupus) were once common in Oregon, occupying most of the state. However, a deliberate effort to eradicate the species was successful by the late 1940s.
In fact, trouble for wolves began almost 100 years earlier, in the years before Oregon became a state. In 1843 the first wolf bounty was established and Oregon’s first legislative session was called in part to address the “problem of marauding wolves.” By 1913, people could collect a $5 state bounty and an Oregon State Game Commission bounty of $20. The last recorded wolf bounty was paid out in 1947.
After an absence of over half a century, wolves began to take their first tentative steps towards recovery. Having dispersed from Idaho, the native species is once again trying to make a home in Oregon. One of the first sightings came in 1999 when a lone wolf was captured near the middle fork of the John Day River, put in a crate and quickly returned to Idaho by government wildlife agents. In 2000, two wolves were found dead – one killed by a car, the other illegally shot.
In 2006, a flurry of sightings led biologists to believe a number of wild wolves were living in Northeast Oregon near the Wallowa Mountains and the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Sadly, a wolf found shot to death near La Grande in May 2007 clearly indicated wolves had arrived in the area.
After that sad chapter, wolves began to establish a fragile foothold in the state. In July 2008 pups were confirmed to a wolf named Sophie by the Oregon Wild wolf pack (and B-300 to government biologists). Those pups represented the first wolves in Oregon in nearly 60 years! A second set of six pups were confirmed and videotaped in November 2009. The following July, a third litter of pups was confirmed.
Unfortunately, the news was tempered with additional poaching and heavy-handed state management. After peaking at 26 confirmed wolves, wolf recovery stalled out in 2011. While some wolves dispersed from the Imnaha Pack, only one pup was confirmed to Oregon’s best-known pack, and two pups were confirmed in one of the state’s other two packs (the Walla Walla and Wenaha). Oregon’s confirmed wolf population fell to 17, and then to 14, when the state killed three more wolves (two on purpose) and poachers killed a fourth.
In 2011, wolves in Eastern Oregon lost their federal protections due to an unprecedented congressional budget rider sponsored by Montana Sen. John Tester. Hours later, Oregon used their new authority to kill two wolves and issue dozens of landowner kill permits at the request of the livestock industry.
Meanwhile, anti-wildlife interests and their political allies pushed over half a dozen bills in Salem aimed at making it easier to kill wolves and undermine wolf recovery. Most of the bills were defeated, but a compensation fund and new predator killing fund were approved.
Wolf hunts in nearby states also threaten the region’s fragile recovery. When wolves were federally delisted the region was home to an estimated population of about 1,700 wolves. Over 1,000 were killed in the first two seasons alone.
The large tracts of pristine and unspoiled Wilderness and roadless areas in Northeast Oregon are vital components in the successful recovery of wolves, and other wildlife too. (Ed: see the photograph below of the wild lands of Oregon.) The reappearance of wolves, wolverines, and other endangered wildlife in Oregon further underscores the importance of protecting those roadless areas that remain on public land.
Anticipating the eventual return of wolves, the state of Oregon completed a Wolf Conservation and Management Plan in 2005 aimed at making rational decisions in the light of day that would lead to wolf recovery. Though state polling put support for wolf recovery at over 70 percent, the plan was weak, allowed the state to kill wolves, and set scientifically indefensible recovery goals.
Even so, the plan was actively opposed by the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association. They argued in their minority report that “wolves are being used as a biological weapon” and that wolves are a non-native species that citizens should have the right to shoot without permits.
Oregon Wild and other conservationists generally – if reluctantly – agreed to honor the compromise embodied in the plan. Most believed lethal control would be an option of last resort and conservation would be a priority.
After the state shot two young wolves in response to the first livestock depredations in over half a century, it was clear the state was willing to address the concerns of the livestock industry by killing wolves.
In 2010, the plan was reviewed and revised. The public process took the better part of a year and demonstrated that support for wolf recovery had grown. Over 90 percent of a staggering 20,000 public comments were in favor of stronger protections for Oregon’s endangered gray wolves. Oregon Wild joined other conservationists and the Oregon public in defending the plan against continued attacks. Though the plan survived relatively intact, most of the approved changes made it easier to kill wolves.
In 2011, a lone wolf from the Imnaha Pack generated international headlines when he became the first in Western Oregon since 1947, and then the first in California in nearly a century. The story of Journey (OR-7) provided a welcome opportunity to step away from the unnecessary controversy manufactured by those opposed to wolf recovery and instead reflect on the positive story of a native species retaking its rightful place on the landscape.
Since 2012, wolf recovery in Oregon has slowly started to get back on track. Although the population has increased over the last several years, in 2015, and with only 78 known adult wolves in the state, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and its Commission decided to prematurely strip wolves of state Endangered Species Act protections — despite what peer reviewed, independent scientists recommended. Shortly after, lawmakers in Salem passed HB 4040: a bill that statutorily affirmed the delisting of Oregon’s wolves. The passage of HB 4040 essentially blocked the ability of conservation organizations to bring forth a lawsuit challenging the merits of the Commission’s decision.
The latest update to the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan — which was approved by the Commission in June of 2019 — significantly erodes protections for wolves by lowering the threshold for when the state can kill wolves, removing requirements for non lethal conflict deterrence, and opening the door toward public hunting and trapping.
For many, wolves are a symbol of freedom, wilderness, and the American west, and Oregon’s wolf country contains some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. Science continues to demonstrate the positive impacts of wolves on the landscape and the critical role played by big predators, and interest in their return is fueling tourism in Oregon’s wolf country and elsewhere in the west.
Still, wolves are threatened by a purposeful campaign of misinformation and fear. This webpage shoots down many of the common myths about wolves. A small number of vocal anti-wolf activists, along with industry lobbyists and their political allies, continue to work to undermine already weak protections for wolves and other wildlife.
For a state that prides itself on its green reputation, the extermination of wolves is one of our greatest environmental tragedies. Their return represents an opportunity at redemption.
Most Oregonians value native wildlife and believe wolves have a rightful place on the landscape. We are happy to know the silence of a hike in the Eagle Cap might be broken by the lonely howl of a wolf. If that howl is to remain, it’s critical that those who value wolves and other native wildlife stand up and speak up on their behalf.
Plus there were photographs embedded within the text that I thought would be better appreciated if they were offered separately. Here they are:
Finally a collection of wolf photographs from a link on Oregon Wild that is no longer in use. I downloaded these pictures in 2016!
I have known Keith Edmunds from a long time ago and we chat from time to time. Keith has his own company Tiger Computing, Linux specialists, (We provide managed cloud services and Linux support services for high-tech businesses), and we had a business connection many moons ago. But in an effort to stay connected with friends in the old country I have subscribed for quite some time to Keith’s newsletter. Although Keith clearly is speaking to potential clients his newsletter is quite readable for non-technical peeps such as myself.
At the end of September this year Keith’s newsletter was a little different. Here it is:
Rhys the dog saved my wife’s life last week.
She was alone in the house. She put some flatbread in a pan on the hob, then went to check something on her PC. And forgot about the flatbread.
The flatbread got hotter, started smoking, and then the smoke alarm went off. That would be a clue for most of us that something may be amiss.
But my wife is deaf. She can’t hear the smoke alarm.
That’s when Rhys, the Hearing Dog, leapt into action. He found her and butted her hard with his nose. “What is it?”, she asked him. He squatted down on all fours, the signal that the smoke alarm is going off. He only makes that move for the smoke alarm so it’s clear what the problem is.
My wife ran to the kitchen, turned off the hob and opened windows to disperse the smoke. Without Rhys alerting her there would have been a fire. The consequences of that can only (fortunately) be imagined.
So here’s how it works. Rhys is trained to notify my wife when he hears certain sounds. He notified her when he heard one, and corrective action was taken.
Here at Tiger Computing we have sophisticated monitoring systems that keep an eye on our clients’ Linux systems. They’re configured to alert our support staff if things start going wrong, and the support staff can take corrective action.
Our monitoring probably won’t save your life. But it might save your bacon.
Until next week – Keith
It is a delightful account of yet another aspect of dogs. Dogs can undertake many things and some of our dogs are really clever. Rhys is an example of how highly trained dogs can be.
I spoke to Keith and asked permission to republish this, gladly and readily given, and whether Keith had any photographs of Rhys.
I came late to my desk yesterday and therefore shall be rather circumspect regarding my introduction. I saw the following story on The Dodo, yet again, and thought it just showed perfectly the unconditional love of dogs.
Smart Dog Sneaks Away From Home To Surprise Her Mom At Work
Just about every day for the past year and a half, this sweet dog named Indy has been accompanying her owner, Liza Thayer, to an assisted living facility in Connecticut. That’s where Thayer works — but it’s become a home away from home for the pup.
“She loves it here, and all the residents adore her!” Thayer told The Dodo.
Recently, Indy proved just how true that is.
The other day, Thayer took a day off from work to attend a friend’s wedding. She asked her dad to dog-sit while she was away. It was a change of routine, but Indy apparently didn’t get the memo.
The smart pup, it seems, assumed that Thayer had simply forgotten to take her to work that day.
So, she walked there herself.
Incredibly, Indy managed to slip away from Thayer’s dad and walk 2 miles to where she works, all on her own.
There, staff and residents were surprised to see Indy at the door, knowing that Thayer was off for the day. They called Thayer to let her know about her dog’s attempt at surprising her at work.
“I truly didn’t believe it!” Thayer said. “She takes the drive with me every day, but I never imagined she would do this.”
Thayer wasn’t in that day, as Indy may have been expecting. But any disappointment about that was surely short-lived. The pup was greeted with open arms anyway.
“The residents let her in and waited with her, feeding her all her favorite treats,” Thayer said.
For Indy, the trip was worth it.
Thankfully, the adventurous pup didn’t have to walk herself all the way back home. After enjoying her off-duty time at work, Indy was driven back home by Thayer’s boss.
By then, her dad had realized she was missing and started searching, so learning she was safe and sound came as welcome news all around.
Indy and Thayer were reunited when she returned from the wedding — made all the more special given the lengths Indy had gone to surprise her.
“She must’ve really missed me!” Thayer said.
Our Brandy, a 150-pound cross of a Great Pyrenean and a Mastiff, sometimes goes walkabout and did so yesterday. Luckily being seen by a friendly soul and returned. It was just one of the things that made the day rather hectic.
If anyone has ever shamed you for letting your dog give you a kiss, you might have told them that dogs’ mouths are cleaner than humans’ mouths. But is that actually true, or is it just something obsessed dog parents made up to justify letting their dogs lick them?
The truth is that dogs’ mouths actually aren’t cleaner than human mouths — but they’re not really dirtier either. We just have different germs.
The Dodo spoke to Dr. Jonathan Roberts, a remote veterinarian with DoggieDesigner.com, to find out everything you need to know about dog saliva.
Why dogs’ mouths aren’t cleaner than human mouths.
Your dog’s mouth isn’t exactly clean. Just like people have bacteria living in our mouths, dogs do too.
“Multiple studies have discovered that dogs have many unique and potentially dangerous bacteria and other parasites lurking in their mouths,” Dr. Roberts told The Dodo. “Around 600 different species of bacteria have been discovered in both canine and human mouths.”
The type and amount of bacteria living in a dog’s mouth depends on the level of periodontal (dental) disease present, which is determined by a number of factors, including:
Breed (smaller dogs tend to be at greater risk because they have smaller teeth and mouths, leading to more food getting stuck, and they have less bone mass, leading to tooth loss)
Frequency of teeth brushing
Frequency of professional dental cleaning by a vet
What diseases can you get from dog saliva?
There are lots of bacteria in a dog’s mouth that are different from what humans have in our mouths. Some of these are harmless, but some could make you sick.
Some of the bacteria found in dogs’ mouths that can be dangerous to people include:
E. coli, Clostridia, Salmonella and Campylobacter — “[These are] bacteria that can cause severe gastrointestinal illness in people,” Dr. Roberts said. “Dogs are often carriers of these bacteria, yet they do not become ill from them. They usually get these bacteria in their mouths through licking their anuses or ingesting other animals’ feces. Another common source of these illness-causing bacteria is from ingesting raw food.”
Pasteurella — This can cause skin infections that can travel to your lymph nodes and cause severe disease, such as cellulitis or meningitis.
Capnocytophaga canimorsus — “[This] enters the wounds in skin after being licked by a dog’s tongue,” Dr. Roberts said. “Mostly only immune-compromised people are susceptible to this disease that develops into septicemia [blood poisoning].”
Giardia and Cryptosporidium — These are actually protozoa, not bacteria, but they can still make you sick by your dog licking your face and can cause gastrointestinal illnesses.
Parasites — If your dog has parasites, such as worms, and licks his anus and then your face, you could contract the parasite.
So what is the risk of getting sick from your dog licking you? Even with all those germs, if you’re healthy and don’t have a compromised immune system, the risk is luckily pretty low.
“Most human immune systems will neutralize these parasites before they can cause illness,” Dr. Roberts said. “Those with weakened immune systems, such as persons going through chemotherapy, persons with HIV, very young and very old people should be more careful around pets.”
Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine if it’s a risk you want to take.
But to be safe, you can follow these steps to avoid getting sick from dog saliva:
Get checked out by a doctor if you get bitten or scratched by a dog.
Don’t let a dog lick your wounds.
Frequently wash items that your dog’s mouth touches, like toys and food and water bowls.
Don’t let your dog lick you if you’re immunocompromised, and don’t let him lick others who are immunocompromised.
Does dog saliva heal wounds?
It’s an old belief that dog saliva heals wounds. But is it actually true?
“There may be some truth to this after all,” Dr. Roberts said. “The action of licking helps to remove debris and necrotic tissue from the wound.”
Dog saliva also contains proteins that can be beneficial in healing.
“Mammal saliva contains a protein called histatin,” Dr. Roberts said. “This protein is able to kill bacteria before they can cause infection.”
Histatins have antimicrobial and antifungal properties and are part of the immune system. They have been found to play a role in wound closure.
But while it’s possible that dog saliva could help to heal a paper cut, you shouldn’t let your dog lick all of your cuts and scrapes — there are much better ways to take care of your injuries, and you always run the risk of infecting your wound instead of making it better.
“I would still not allow my dog to lick my wounds,” Dr. Roberts said. “We have excellent wound care products on the market these days that not only do a better job of keeping wounds clean but also come without the risk of introducing nasty infections or potential parasites.”
How to keep your dog’s mouth clean
If you do let your dog give you occasional kisses (and even if you don’t), you should try to keep his mouth as clean as possible since it’s also important for his health.
You can do this by regularly brushing his teeth and by providing toys that help clean his teeth.
“The most important way to keep your dog’s mouth clean and healthy is (just like humans) through regular teeth brushing and dental cleaning by a professional,” Dr. Roberts said. “Start introducing your dog to teeth brushing from a young age and aim to brush at least twice a week.”
You can also let your dog chew on dental treats to clean his teeth in between brushing. (These treats received The Dodo’s Paw of Approval, and you can get them from Amazon for $4.98.)
So dogs’ mouths aren’t actually cleaner than people’s, and you shouldn’t let your dog lick your wounds. But if you keep your dog’s mouth and teeth clean, a kiss from your pup every now and then should be fine (if it’s something you’re comfortable with).
We independently pick all the products we recommend because we love them and think you will too. If you buy a product from a link on our site, we may earn a commission.
I suggest that if you want to purchase any of the products described above then you go directly to The Dodo website and place your order via The Dodo.
Overall I find this a very useful article and I am grateful to The Dodo for allowing me to republish it.