Don’t Kiss Your Dog On the Lips

By Kim Everson, DVM

It happens over and over again in spite of constant correction and intervention. EdGrrr, our yellow lab, walks by the toddler and casually swipes his tongue over the kid’s lips and face. He just can’t help himself. I myself cannot resist nibbling my baby’s sweet cheeks, but the dog?! Ew, Gross!


Dogs will be dogs. Currently, my dogs have scoured the nearby farm fields and carried home approximately one quarter of a dead deer. On sunny afternoons, they laze in the yard with a gangly deer leg stretched between their paws chewing contentedly. On rainy days they raid the cats’ litter box for a quick snack. Every time EdGrrr’s tongue caresses my toddler’s face I can’t help but think of the other places it has recently been.

As much as we love dogs, kissing them on the lips just ain’t cool. It’s gross enough to inspire decades of jokes. Think of the scene in the 1998 film There’s Something About Mary where leathery Floridian Magda enjoys flamboyent pooch smooches from border terrier Puffy. Today hundreds of stomach-turning dog kissing vlogs and spoofs abound on YouTube.

You might read this and think, “Dr. Everson, your dogs are wild and crazy farm dogs. City dogs like mine have much more refined tastes.” Well, that may be true, but I wish I had a nickel for every time one of my clients lamented their city dog won’t stop eating rabbit pellets or even its own poop! As I said before, dogs will be dogs. We must take the good with the bad, the unwavering dedication with occasional dietary indiscretion. After all, it’s really not their fault that we fail to share an appreciation of canine delicacies.

Obnoxious EdGrrr kisses are a phase that will pass as soon as my baby grows a bit taller than the dog’s line of sight. Until then we will keep washing the boy’s face multiple times a day and hope our kid will have a heck of a sturdy immune system.

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