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Do You Like Kissing Your Dogs? Scientists Warn Us…

Do You Like Kissing Your Dogs? Scientists Warn Us…

If you are a dog lover, you are probably used to exuberant slobbery shows of love from your furry pets. But you need to know and warn your other friends with dog too that licks across the face, especially on your mouth, can create a lot of health problems.

The first thought that comes to mind is ‘where has this dog been?’ for they are creatures who reside outdoors and sniff at everything in the vicinity. As per research, science warns us against showing affection to pets by kissing them. This isn’t just an opinion; kissing your dogs can make you very sick. John Oxford, emeritus professor of virology and bacteriology at Queen Mary University in London, said ‘It is not just what is carried in saliva. Dogs spend half of their life with their noses in nasty corners or hovering over dog droppings so their muzzles are full of bacteria, viruses and germs of all sorts.’

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The Kiss of Death

One scary example is that of a woman from the the United Kingdom who contracted an infection from the saliva of her Italian Greyhound. She spent weeks in the intensive care recovering from multiple organ failure. She suffered from blood poisoning called severe sepsis caused by the Capnocytophaga canimorsus bacteria. This bacteria is commonly found in the mouths of dogs.

Bacteria can be transferred between humans, or from dogs to humans. Humans wash their hands and clean their teeth daily. Dogs lick themselves to clean or they need you to give them a good bath. A dog’s mouth is not cleaner than yours. Their saliva naturally carries bugs that can be easily passed on to both other dogs and humans.  A Japanese team of scientists who collected dental plaque from dogs and humans confirmed that the bacteria in dog saliva can cause frequent diseases. Sometimes, such bugs are more dangerous to us than to the dogs: “The diseases we worry about most come from some of the bugs that cause gastrointestinal problems in humans,” said Dr. Sykes.

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Humans are aware when they are sick, so they’ll generally take precautions to ensure they do not pass the sickness on to friends/family members. Dogs don’t have this knowledge, and will lick an owner without realising the harm being caused. We can’t blame the dog. But we can avoid constant slobbering on our skin. Take it from Dr. Oz: “If your pooch is a scavenger, then a canine lick on the lips could jeopardize your health. The half-eaten hot dog your dog found on the street — or the feces he was nibbling on — could be loaded with germs and bacteria such as toxocara, salmonella, giardia, hookworm, tapeworm and many others, putting your family’s health at risk.”

More Common Than Rabies

Men’s Health details the various sicknesses that are commonly contracted from dogs. They include:

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  • The Stomach Bug – diarrhoea, vomiting, fever from feces lying around the house.
  • Ringworm – an infection caused by fungus, transferred from coming into contact with the same object.
  • Parasites – once again, found in feces. Even the slightest bit landing on your hand can cause the symptoms to appear.
  • Meningitis – The bacteria Pasteurella multocida
 which can be found in the mouth of dogs can cause fever, swollen lymph nodes,and in extreme cases, meningitis.

Pat Them More to Show Your Affection

All this doesn’t mean you’ll be immediately infected if you get licked or kissed by a dog. But it is wise to make your friends aware of what can happen from the slobbery kiss of a pet. While it is an affectionate act shown towards a loved one, the impact on your health can be detrimental. The ratio of such disease contraction is small, but where there is a chance, there should be concern. According to Shelley Rankin, associate professor of microbiology at Penn Vet, “There have only been about 13 cases reported in the entire United Kingdom, and I’m guessing on a similar scale in the U.S.”

When in doubt? Kiss your partner, and pat your dog.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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