You may have noticed that when a dog is sitting next to a baby or toddler, he tends to lick the apple. In this case, adults tend to be moved by this gesture they consider a gesture of affection. But is this the case? And is there no danger for the child?
Why do dogs lick babies’ faces?
If dogs like to lick babies’ faces, it’s not just to show them that they love them. In reality, it is above all a story of taste … and opportunism. Indeed, babies tend to have leftover food stuck on their faces, especially around the mouth. Now, you know, dogs are big greedy. It is difficult for them to resist the urge to taste this delicious food.
But rest assured, some licking also relates to “kisses” affectionate and protective. And for good reason, licking newborns is an instinctive behavior in dogs. When a dog mom gives birth to puppies, she licks them diligently for several weeks to clean them, help them evacuate their excrement but also to remove their smell so recognizable and away from possible predators.
Licking is also a great way to release endorphins for dogs. This gives them a feeling of well-being and comfort, which helps them reduce stress.
Finally, if dogs lick babies, it is perhaps also because they know that it attracts the attention of their masters. When a newborn arrives home, it is not uncommon for our dog friends to feel neglected. They do not take long to understand that licking the child leads their owners to look at them, or even to pet them.
Why never let a dog lick a baby
Even if you find it cute, be aware that it is not recommended to let a dog lick a baby. And that on the face or the rest of the body. The reason? Dogs’ jaws contain a large number of germs and bacteria, some of which can be particularly harmful to humans. What’s more for babies, whose immune system is still fragile.
And for good reason, dogs use their mouths for almost anything and everything: eating raw meat, licking their private parts, sniffing excrement … Therefore, it is not uncommon for them to transmit diseases. to humans simply by licking them.
Similarly, they can also cause an infestation of intestinal parasites, including worms.
Finally, letting a dog lick a baby can increase the risk of biting. Indeed, it is sometimes enough for a dog to go from an enthusiastic licking to a bite. Especially since licking a human can be a sign of domination in some dogs.
Good to know: contrary to what we tend to think, when a dog licks a wound, it does not promote healing. On the contrary, it tends to increase the risk of infection.