Dogs Licking Babies

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I saw this post on my Facebook page yesterday that incensed me ! I don’t often get worked up about rubbish that appears on general Facebook news, you end up getting a lot of adverts and general rubbish, but this one shook me to the very core.  I have no idea how it got into my news but I am sure you will appreciate why I was so angry when  you look at this screen shot I took of the video.

I don’t know where to start with what is SO wrong with this video of an Italian Mastiff with a baby lying on its belly, licking the baby. If you think that this behaviour is okay with a tiny baby, possibly not much more than a month old, as he is unable to lift his head, then you are not going to like the rest of this blog.

I will explain all the reasons you should never put your baby  or dog in this position and also why you should not let your dog lick your baby at all, never mind on its  face or nose.  This behaviour is totally negligent, even if it does make for a pretty picture, there are far too many instances where dogs have turned, causing at best catastrophic trauma to the baby, and worst, death.

 

Hop over to Facebook to watch this video.

Dogs Licking Babies

There are so many reasons why allowing your dog to lick your baby at all is a very bad idea.  I hope in the following blog I can persuade you to stop your dog doing it right now before you pass on some uncomfortable, distressing disease to your baby or heaven forbid, something devastating happens.

Licking The Face and Mouth

If you watch this video, I have put the link in the introduction, you will see that when the dog has licked the baby’s nose and mouth, it looks at its owner,  to see their reaction. Licking of the face is a look-at-me behaviour that the dog associates with dominance. No animal should be allowed to exhibit signs of dominance over your baby.

This behaviour has to be stopped immediately by you, the owner.  A consistent command to stop the dog licking, every time.  You might think it unfairscreen-shot-2016-11-08-at-13-09-27 to your dog who you think is exhibiting only friendly behaviour but you cannot be too careful, a previously docile dog can turn at any moment.

The licking of a baby’s face, to you, might appear to be a mothering instinct in the dog.  It might seem endearing, but imagine if the dog takes that mothering instinct further? Dogs have a different approach to mothering their pups than we have to our babies – they carry them by the head or neck, they nip when they misbehave, they growl, snap, and paw their pups to elicit control. Any of these behaviours to a baby could be disastrous.

→ Watch what your dog does with its mouth and tongue for a day……..

screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-13-09-13Dogs eat garbage, faeces, lick their backsides and genitals.  There is multiple bacteria in a dog’s mouth, it then licks your baby’s face, mouth, hands, feet.  Your baby then stuffs his fingers in his mouth or sucks his toes – transferring all those germs into his mouth.  Babies immune systems are not developed and they cannot cope with those kind of germs.    The thing that surprises me so much with this video, is that the parents have placed such a young baby on this dog, allowed it to lick their baby’s face, yet they will be meticulously sterilising this baby’s bottles! How ironic !

This baby is so young that the licking of the dog elicits a rooting reflex in the baby and it starts looking for the nipple to suck.  

If a dog can lick your baby….THEY’RE TOO CLOSE ! 

Bacteria

Dog bacteria will thrive in a human mouth, as a study in Japan 2011 shows.  Rare periodontal  disease was found in humans that lived in close contact with infected dogs. This type of disease was aggressive gum disease, heart disease and kidney disease.  This sort of disease would give your baby severe gum disease even before they grow any teeth.  Babies are not born with their own collection of ‘micro biomes’.  We acquire our micro biomes from the environment at birth.  As we grow up our microbial profile changes along with us.  I don’t think you want your baby’s ‘micro biome to be made up of harmful dog bacteria! Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for your baby to pick up immunity to the germs and bacteria that make up our world but this must be done in a controlled and careful way to ensure they pick up immunity without picking up diseases and illnesses along the way.

Leptospirosis →  Dogs frequent areas where they can pick up leptospirosis from the surrounding wild animal population and even without showing any signs of the disease, they can pass it onto your baby by licking them. This can lead to kidney impairment and failure. Whilst Leptospirosis is more common in tropical countries, dont think that because you live in a cooler climate, that you are free from worry.

Worms→ Dogs lick their own backsides, as well as other dogs, they eat faecal matter and pick up parasitic worms. De-worming your dog regularly is a good habit for a dog owner and minimises the risk of giving your baby worms, particularly roundworm.  Roundworm if not treated can cause blindness and the  very least will give your baby a bad tummy ache and cramping.

Check your dog’s anus and fur around the anus when they are back from their walk for signs of faecal matter. They sit around the floor, and bottom shuffle, spreading germs that you then pass onto your baby by letting them crawl and lay on the floor.

Staphylococcus→ Dogs can carry staphylococcus, E.Coli, Streptococcus, all of which can be transferred to your baby through licking. These may not necessarily be life threatening but nevertheless will be very upsetting, painful and utterly miserable for your baby.

Parasites→ Cryptosporidium, herpes, parvovirus, ear mites, giardia, scabies, viral papillomas, Malassezia Dermatitis.  None of these will cause symptoms in your dog, but with a baby whose immunity has not had time to build up, they will catch these parasites causing pain and suffering and potentially be very difficult to treat.

Behaviour → The dog has got to be close to your baby to lick his face.  That is too close! You may trust your pet implicitly but you have not seen your dog’s reaction to having a baby in the house, a small, wriggling body, that smells different, that takes your time up.  How can any parent place their baby onto their dog’s belly?  We all read in the newspapers or watch the news about dog attacks.  There was one only a few weeks ago in the UK, where the baby was killed, his older brother received life changing injuries and the mother was bitten too.  This was a family dog, with no previous behaviour.

Dogs read body language differently, they’re unused to baby movements and noises. The baby may move suddenly or cry, enough to make the dog change from licking to biting leading to facial or eye trauma that will be life changing at the least.

Having read this blog, I hope you would be very cautious when your dog is around your baby.  Whilst you will obviously trust your dog implicitly, you are expecting a creature with animal instinct to accept your baby and live harmoniously, which I am sure for most it does, but please don’t put your baby in danger, a sudden bite or nip and your baby could be scarred for life.  Don’t let it lick your baby,  let them acquire immunity in a natural way, without illness and upset. 


 

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12 Comments

  1. Wow! This is a video I have missed, and am glad. Because these kinds things also make me angry as well the germs which spread this way is horrible.

    We have a dog which belongs to my daughter, she knows he’s not allowed to lick her face. My sister’s dog licked my son’s eye and he ended up with pink eye. Since then I am even more cautious.

    • I am glad to read this Jettaranda, you have seen first hand what a dog’s saliva can do to you. Your son was lucky it wasn’t anything worse. It makes me angry too, that people are so uneducated as to not think of the dangers. Pets are fantastic for a family, Im not anti dog, but they must be kept in their place.

  2. I just thought that dog licking is a bit gross with their dripping saliva. But I never considered the potential harm it can cause to toddlers. Contracting disease from dogs is quite serious as babies’ immune system is far from developed. More worrying is the dog asserting dominance over the baby. Is there anyway to reverse it once the dog thought it has full control

    • Hi Kenny, Sadly I dont think there is a way of reversing the dominance without a lot of input of time and effort on the parents part, which in the long term is worth it for the safety of their children but better not to let it happen in the first place.

  3. I totally agree with you, that is really unsafe for many reasons. All the bacteria on the dog and the fact that dogs are so unpredictable is just so unsafe.
    At first it does look cute but it would be way safer and cuter if the dog was stuffed!
    Did you comment on the photo about how unsafe it is?

    • Thank you Batya, yes, I have certainly commented on the lack of safety. Its a shame that parents continue to do the sort of thing. I try to offer my opinions through my site to educate parents who maybe have a lapse in judgement.

  4. I saw this video too, but I didn’t think much of it since I seem to see videos all the time with babies and pets (often dogs). And there may be a bit of a strong reaction from people eager to defend their pets, but the truth is you should never take a chance with your child. In my town a few years ago there was a tragic accident where a family’s beloved docile dog killed their 2 week old baby by trying to play with it. The parents were conscientious people who did not neglect their child, but rather made a grave mistake by overestimating how much they could trust their pet. So yes, I echo your concerns and these cute camera moments should be rethought.

    • That’s absolutely right, it is for those cute camera moments that parents do this, a sudden lapse in common sense is all it takes. Thank you for taking time to comment Joy !

  5. Hi Helene,

    Great article, I was absorbed by the reading!
    It is so true what you’ve said in the article about the dog behavior and the bacteria. When I saw this video on Facebook, I was horrified. I would have never put my baby on my dog’s or wouldn’t have let him lick my baby. I have two dogs, and I see what they smell and eat sometimes, and it is really disgusting. Also, it is not the first time I’ve read about dogs became suddenly crazy and have attacked the owner or the child. Dogs behave completely differently from humans, and it is a must to know about it so that we can take our precautions. Don’t take me wrong, I love dogs, but I am careful with them:)
    Thank you for this useful article!

  6. Hi Helen, i totally agree with you about dogs licking any human beings, especially children.
    We have a dog and never let her lick us or the grandchildren , like you say all the germs that are on a dogs tongue can be very harmful.
    The video you show of the dog and the child is terrible and so dangerous, they become very protective of children and instead of biting you they may go for the child as some dogs do not understand that its wrong what they are doing.
    I must say well done for this brilliant information.

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