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Is My Dogs Mouth Cleaner Than Mine?

Is My Dogs Mouth Cleaner Than Mine?

Canine mouths being cleaner than human mouths is a common belief, but is it actually true? Our vets at Baton Rouge are here to give you the facts and set the record straight.

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

It's inaccurate to compare a dog's mouth to that of a human. Although there are similarities in the types of bacteria present in both, dogs possess a wider range of dental bacteria that are not found in humans. In fact, dogs typically carry around 600 different species of germs in their mouths, while humans have approximately 615 and more.

In summary, the answer is no. Dog and human mouths are not entirely comparable in terms of their bacterial composition.

Even though there are differences, there are also similarities between dogs and humans when it comes to periodontal disease. For instance, the bacterial family known as Porphyromonas can cause this condition in both species. Over time, billions of germs gather on the surface of the teeth, resulting in unpleasant breath, gum recession, tooth root abscesses, and damage to the bone around the tooth roots.

Fortunately, the early stages of periodontal disease can be treated in both dogs and humans through at-home dental care. Additionally, dogs, like humans, require regular professional cleanings.

Can You Get Infections and Diseases From Dog Saliva?

While the risk of getting sick from a dog's saliva is low, it is not impossible. Bacterial and viral diseases can be spread through a dog's saliva, especially if you are bitten or if their saliva comes into contact with your eyes, nose, or mouth. It's important to take precautions to avoid any potential risks.

Bacterial Infections

A dog bite can spread harmful bacteria to humans, causing a serious infection. One of the bacteria, called Capnocytophaga canimorsus, can be transmitted through the bite wound. Another common bacteria found in a dog's mouth is Pasteurella canis, which is often present in people who have been bitten by a dog. The severity of the dog bite depends on where the wound is located and whether the person's immune system is compromised or vulnerable in some way.

In the event of a dog bite, it is important to clean the wound properly with soap and water for 15 minutes before seeking medical attention. If your dog consumes food contaminated with Salmonella or E. coli, these harmful bacteria can spread to you if your dog's saliva makes contact with your mouth. It is worth noting that while raw food diets for dogs are more susceptible to contamination, all types of dog food have the potential to become contaminated.


Dogs can spread the most dangerous infection through their saliva, which is called rabies. This virus is transmitted when a dog bites someone. Once inside the body, the virus affects the nervous system and leads to various symptoms. Initially, dogs may show signs of anxiety and nervousness. As the disease progresses, dogs become aggressive, lose coordination, and feel disoriented.

If you come across a dog or wild animal displaying these symptoms, it's important to contact your local animal control or police department immediately. Make sure to keep a safe distance. Unfortunately, when a dog, person, or wild animal shows signs of rabies, it is almost always fatal.

Is it Bad If Your Dog Licks You Then?

It is unlikely that a dog licking your skin will cause infection since the skin does not easily absorb saliva unless the dog licks a wound. However, if you are allergic to dog saliva, you may experience hives, a rash, or extreme itching on your skin.

How to Clean a Dog's Mouth

Proper dental care for dogs is crucial for maintaining a clean and healthy mouth. Learning how to clean your dog's teeth is an important part of this care. A simple and effective method is to schedule regular dental appointments for your dog. We suggest doing this at least once a year or more frequently if your dog is experiencing dental problems like periodontitis.

At Kleinpeter Veterinary Hospital, when you bring your dog for a dental check-up, our veterinarians will conduct a thorough oral examination. They will carefully look for any signs of dental issues, including:

  • Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • Bleeding around the mouth
  • Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
  • Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Loose or broken teeth
  • Bad breath

Untreated oral health issues can worsen and cause significant pain and discomfort for your pet. If you observe signs of periodontal disease in your pet, such as reduced appetite (indicating tooth pain), unusual chewing, excessive drooling, difficulty holding food in the mouth, unpleasant breath, or other symptoms, it is crucial to contact your veterinarian promptly. They will assist you in scheduling a dental appointment for your pet.

We offer complete dental care for your dog, which includes a deep cleaning and polishing of their teeth, focusing on both the areas above and below the gum line. We also perform tooth probing and x-rays, followed by a fluoride treatment and the application of a dental sealant to prevent any future damage or decay. If your pet has advanced periodontal disease, we will collaborate with you to create a treatment plan that aims to bring back a healthy and pain-free condition to their mouth.

Should I Brush My Dog's Teeth?

As a pet owner, you have a crucial role in helping your dog combat dental disease. There are some easy ways to keep your dog's mouth healthy and clean their teeth:
  • Brush your pet's teeth daily with a finger brush from your vet or a child's toothbrush to remove any plaque or debris. It's as straightforward as brushing your own teeth. If your dog is resistant to having its teeth cleaned, try some doggie toothpaste in flavors that your dog will love. This dog-friendly toothpaste can transform a chore into a treat.
  • Use a plaque prevention product (your vet can recommend some), which you can apply to your pet's teeth and gums. These products act as a barrier to prevent plaque buildup.
  • Offer your pup treats such as dental chews or food designed to help prevent plaque buildup and tartar.

Ensuring proper dental care for your pet is crucial for their overall well-being. Don't forget to schedule your furry friend's yearly dental check-up today. Your dog will appreciate it!

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you need to schedule your furry friend's yearly dental cleaning? Contact our Baton Rouge to book an appointment to ensure your dog's mouth stays fresh and healthy.

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Kleinpeter Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Baton Rouge companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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