Does dog saliva heal a wound?
Breed: Black lab
Age: 2-5 years
Is there any truth to the old wive's tale that when your dog instinctlively licks a minor wound or scratch, is there actually an antiseptic effect that sooths the affected areas?
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Dr. Marie replied:
This is an interesting question! I was about to tell you that this was completely an old wive's tale, but then I did some research. I'm not sure that I've come to any conclusions though!
Check out this study.
It found that canine saliva did have a mild antibacterial effect against certain types of bacteria.
But, then check out this article
which looked at several cases where people got infections because of
being in contact with dog saliva. These people actually died
because of these infections! And, in one of those cases there was no bite wound from the dog, just droplets of saliva.
It looks to me like there could be some very mild benefit to letting a dog lick your wound, but there could be some serious side effects. In my opinion the risks outweigh the benefits! So, if I have a wound, no dog is going to lick it! :)
Dr. Marie.---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---
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