Do You Know Where That Tongue Has Been?

By Madeline Shine - 21Alive

January 30, 2014 Updated Jan 31, 2014 at 9:28 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21 Alive) -- You kiss your kids, your husband or wife, so why not your dog?

"It's important to have that communication, and that love with your dog,” Erin Crawford said.

"I just think it's an affectionate thing. It's bonding too,” Karen Kirby said.

But how far do you go with it?

"There are some individuals that will engage in mouth to tongue, you know, activity and that's their option," Dr. Dan Rogers at Aboite Animal Hospital said.

But most pet owners...well they are more mild with their doggy kisses.

"I don't mind, if it's like my hand or my feet. I'm not really into the whole mouth, face part of it. Maybe the cheek, then it's okay,” Kirby said.

"My hands, my cheek. I don't do mouth, that's one thing, you don't do that,” Crawford said.

Dr. Dan Rodgers says, like with most things, there are pros and cons.

"As a general rule, kissing your dog on occasion, or them kissing you, is not that detrimental."

However, he admits there are risks.

"It is possible. To transmit bacteria and or viruses from dog to man, or man even back to dog."

For the families, who treat their pet like family, they say it's a great way to show affection, and Dr. Dan agrees.

"The benefits of that mental health wise probably far outweigh the risk of picking up anything that would be a negative."

Dr. Dan says having a relationship with a pet, especially a dog, can do things like lower your blood pressure.

"They're kind of like, that's disgusting why would you let the dog lick you. A dog's mouth is supposedly really clean, and like cleaner than a human's mouth,” Alec Nolan said.

'Supposedly' is the key word there, Dr. Dan says that's actually a myth. A dog's tongue can help clean a wound, but it's the action of their rough tongue, not their saliva. And there is one thing Dr. Dan asks all his customers to keep in mind..

"The dog or cat's tongue serves as their toilet paper, and so as long as they understand that then they can make their choice from there."

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