Swapping Spit: Is It Safe To Kiss Your Dog?

Swapping spit with a dog will give you a good share of dog germs. Will it hurt you? That’s what kids call kissing now-a-days. And that is exactly what you are doing when you kiss. You swap spit, and bacteria that is in your spit. In fact, you can swap over 80 million bacteria in one 10 second kiss. So what happens if you swap spit with your dog? Many people believe that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s, so is it safe to kiss your canine?

Human vs Dog

The human mouth harbors over 700 different varieties of bacteria. Some are good; others can contribute to tooth decay and periodontal disease. A dog’s mouth also is besieged with bacteria, almost equal in population to a human’s mouth. Although both mouths are teeming with microbes, dog germs differ from humans, although there are some types of oral bacteria that humans and canines share. The human mouth and dog mouth both harbor Porphyromonas bacteria which contribute to periodontal disease, but while the species P. gingivalis is found in human dental plaque, it’s sister species, P. gulae, is found in dogs. Therefore, dogs can develop periodontal disease as well as humans.


It is likely that the myth that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s began because germs are species specific. With the exception of rabies, germs that are harmful to dogs are harmless for humans. Humans are immune to most dog germs. Therefore, if you were to swap spit with a dog, their germs cannot get you sick. So, in light of the facts, it may be okay to kiss your canine.

Learn more about dog germs and human germs

Aside from providing dependable general and restorative dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is a former adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, knowledgeable staff, and we proudly serve patients from Chicago and all surrounding communities. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.