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According to Cesar Millan, licking behaviors stem from ingrained personality traits bred through canines as a means of communication, bonding, grooming, or even psychological problems.
Dogs have been proven to carry various bacteria in their mouths that can be beneficial or non-effective to their overall health.
Mother dogs show affection to their puppies in a variety of ways to create biological bonds and they use licking as one tool from the moment of birth. The mother dog will “wake” their puppies from their post-partum state through licks, use this method to groom puppies and even teach bathroom functions.
Dr. Neilanjan Nandi, has stated that a dog’s mouth is host to “an enormous oral microbiome of bacteria, viruses and yeast.” The term “zoonotic” is frequently used to describe the bacteria that reside in your dog’s mouth that is able to be passed on to humans and cause disease.
Dog’s are generally affectionate lovable creatures and we would never want to discourage or diminish that side of their personalities because the feeling of walking in the door and getting a hero’s greeting is a confidence booster one thoroughly enjoys. Setting boundaries, however, in how our dogs display that affection can be beneficial for everyone!