A veterinary doctor from Gatundu North in Kiambu county has revealed that dog’s saliva has power to cure human wounds and that whenever these animals licked wounds on people, the act fast-tracked the healing process.
Dr James Kamau while talking to KNA from his office yesterday said that a dog’s saliva contains a beneficial compound called histatatins which has been proven to boost the healing process of a wound. “Histatins promote the spread and migration of new skin cells enabling a wound to recover faster,” he stated.
“Many people scare away their dogs when they try to lick them and especially their wounds, but the licks are beneficial to human health,” he noted.
According to most people dog mouths are not as clean as humans and therefore they prevent their dogs from licking them especially in areas where they have wounds that are healing.
But this is debunked by Animal Dental Care and Oral Surgery “Are dogs’ mouth clean” which found that the dog’s mouth is almost as clean as humans despite them having an entirely different grouping of bacteria. This, therefore, shows that less harm is associated with dog licks since their mouth’s hygiene is almost the same level as humans.
Dr Kamau reiterated that “the dog is the only animal known to form a strong relationship between itself and its master and is therefore associated with more benefits than dangers.
Dogs are used to often licking their masters as a sign of being happy or welcoming and these are very beneficial to humans.
“One of the benefits is affecting the mood of a person. The wet dog lick serves as a massage to a person and therefore triggers the current mood of the person,” he stated.
He explained, “If a person was overthinking about something, the dog licks will serve as a distractor making the person aware of the environment”.
According to a study by Purely Pets “Why dogs lick,” dogs are pretty much driven by their senses, and often, it’s the first part of our body that we reach out to them, noted the study.
We emit pheromones in our sweat, which can be decoded by dogs to better understand our mood. It is not captured by the tongue, but instead, licking sends signals to the vomeronasal organ to figure us out.
He further noted that apart from boosting the healing process, the saliva also protects the wound from other infections. This is in line with research conducted by the University of Arizona. “Dog Saliva Benefits” which found that dog saliva has the ability to automatically create Nitric Oxide when 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, the report stated.
Nicholas Nduati, a resident of Riabai who owns 3 dogs, expressed his surprise to learn that dog licks were beneficial to humans. “I personally consider the dog licks unhealthy and fear that I might get infections from them. I am surprised to learn that they are very healthy and super beneficial to humans,” he stated while recounting an incident when he cut himself with a Panga in 2020 and his dog kept attempting to lick it whenever it sat near him but he chased it away.
Samson Okoth, a Pediatrician based in Thika, provided his take on dog licks. “Despite dog licks being associated with many benefits, people should be aware of the dangers it may cause allergies whereby if a dog licks you and it dries, it becomes airborne due to the presence of proteins in the saliva and therefore causing allergic reactions,” he cautioned
He advised people to not necessarily go far for these licks because dogs spend half of their life with their noses in every corner snooping almost everything and therefore carry with them bacteria, viruses, and germs.
By Peter Mwaura