Ok, I admit it. I like being licked. Big wet doggie tongues all over my face, my hands, my feet…
Are you with me or do you think – Iiioooohhh, that’s just gross?!
As we all know, our kids like to put their noses into all sorts of unsightly places – but yet, some ‘french kissing’ with our doggies actually might be good for us. Really good. Healthy kind of good!
We did some ‘sniffing around’ on this matter and here is what we found:
Researchers at the University Arizona (UA) believe that the microbes contained in a dog’s gut could have probiotic effects on the hooman body – encouraging the growth of good bugs.
Kind of like eating yogurt.
It is believed that dogs might work as a kind of probiotic to enhance the health of the bacteria that live in our guts. These bacteria are increasingly recognized as playing an essential role in our mental and physical health, especially as we age,” says Dr. Charles Raison, a UA professor.
Hoomans have co-evolved with dogs for over thousands of years, yet we still don’t understand what is so special about this relationship, what makes us feel so good about being around them.
Previous research has shown that dog-owners are often happier and healthier, but there has been little understanding of the reasons behind this. Is it just that fuzzy and furry love that makes us like to pet our kids, or is there something else going on under the skin? The question really is: Has the relationship between dogs and humans gotten under the skin? AND IT SEEMS, YES IT HAS.
An initial study done in 2013, published in the Journal PLOS ONE, proved that households with dogs tend to have greater bacterial diversity, between both dogs and humans. That’s a good thing, since the more microbes you’re exposed to, the stronger your immune system becomes. The scientists behind this new study are now out to uncover why allergies and asthma have increased in the Western World. One theory is, that human microbiomes – the collection of microbes in our body – may be depleted because we aren’t exposed to as much beneficial bacteria as we once were.
In the French medical world, there is popular saying, “A dog’s tongue is a doctor’s tongue”. Beneficial value of dog saliva includes:
- Antibacterial property
The assumption that a dog lick can bring benefits came already from the people in Egypt. And many benefits have been proven already.
Boost wound healing
Dog saliva contains a beneficial compound called histatins. Histatins are proven to be able in boosting the wound healing process. Histatins promote the spread and migration of new skin cell. So, it enables a wound to recover more quickly.
Besides histatins, dog saliva also contains a protein called as Nerve Growth Factor. This kind of protein is known for the ability to halve the time in wound healing. RAHER PAWSOME, don’t you agree?
Protect wound from infection
A research conducted in the UK found that dog saliva has the ability to automatically create nitric oxide when the saliva contacts our skin. Nitric oxide inhibits bacterial growth and can prevent infections to spread, hence your wound will be much more protected after a dog licks your wound. Cooka’s advise, swap the hansaplast for a few licks!
Boost immune system
The University of Arizona also found that the exposure of dogs in people between 50 to 60 years, significantly improved their immune system. And another study on babies born into families with dogs shows a reduction in allergies.
Compensate the probiotic
The assumption that our dog’s mouth is not as clean as our own is wrong. This is proven by the pH level in a dog’s saliva, which is much higher than human saliva. Bacteria cannot live in a place with a high pH. This way, it is possible that a dog’s saliva contains probiotics that us hoomans miss. And when a dog licks us, it can compensate for some need of probiotic.
Keeping a dog at home can relieve our stress and lift our mood. Especially when your dog licks you, it is just like getting a kiss. Yes, doggie-french kiss.
The result is a significant improvement of our mood, just like when we are kissing, as the licking from our doggies can release serotonin, the hormone which actively enhances that feel good mood.
On a sweet note:
The benefits of being licked can also be enjoyed by the dog. Just like us hoomans, dogs are prone to stress. Especially when we are away all day and have little time for one another. Therefore, sharing affection like licking can also be beneficial for our dogs to reduce their stress.
To refuse your dog to be licked may improve their stress level and they might feel neglected.