Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Is My Dogs Mouth Cleaner Than Mine?

Our team of veterinarians in Apple Valley will provide you with facts about whether a dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's mouth.

Is a Dog's Mouth Cleaner Than a Human's?

It's inaccurate to compare a dog's mouth to a human's. Although some similarities exist in the types of bacteria both species have, dogs have a greater variety of dental bacteria not found in humans. Dogs' mouths contain about 600 different germ species, while humans have roughly 615 and counting.

In summary, dog and human mouths aren't entirely comparable in terms of their bacterial composition. However, there are similarities. For instance, the bacterial family known as Porphyromonas can cause periodontal disease in both dogs and humans. Billions of germs gradually accumulate on the teeth's surface, leading to problems like bad breath, gum recession, tooth root abscesses, and bone damage around the tooth roots.

Fortunately, both dogs and humans can treat the early stages of periodontal disease through at-home dental care. Moreover, dogs, like humans, require regular professional cleaning.s.

Can You Get Infections and Diseases From Dog Saliva?

Dogs' saliva poses a very low risk of transmitting germs to humans, but there is still a possibility. Dogs can spread bacterial and viral diseases through their saliva. These illnesses can be transmitted if a dog bites you or if their saliva enters your nose, mouth, or eyes.

Bacterial Infections

Dog bites can spread harmful bacteria to humans, resulting in severe infections. Capnocytophaga canimorsus is a type of bacteria that can be transmitted through dog bites, while Pasteurella canis is another common bacteria found in a dog's mouth that can cause infections in humans. The severity of the wound depends on its location and the person's immune system.

If you get bitten by a dog, you should clean the wound thoroughly with soap and water for 15 minutes before seeking medical help. It is important to note that if your dog eats contaminated food, such as food contaminated with Salmonella or E. coli, it can transfer these harmful bacteria to you through its saliva. Although raw dog food is more prone to contamination, any type of dog food has the potential to become contaminated.


Dogs can transmit the most dangerous infection through their saliva, known as rabies. This virus spreads to humans when a dog bites them. Once inside the body, the virus affects the nervous system, causing different symptoms. At the early stages, dogs may exhibit signs of nervousness and anxiety. As the disease progresses, dogs become aggressive, lose coordination, and feel disoriented.

If you come across a dog or wild animal showing these symptoms, it is crucial to inform your local animal control or police department immediately. Remember to keep a safe distance. Unfortunately, when a dog, person, or wild animal shows signs of rabies, it is almost always fatal.

Is it Bad If Your Dog Licks You Then?

Because your skin absorbs saliva poorly, there is little risk of infection if a dog licks your skin (as long as they are not licking a wound). If you are allergic to dog saliva, your skin may develop hives, a rash, and/or become extremely itchy.

How to Clean a Dog's Mouth

Proper dental care for dogs is crucial for maintaining a clean and healthy mouth. Learning how to clean your dog's teeth is an important part of this care. A simple and effective method is to schedule regular dental appointments for your dog. We suggest doing this at least once a year, or more frequently if your dog is experiencing dental problems like periodontitis.

At Apple Valley Animal Hospital, when you bring your dog for a dental checkup, our veterinarians will conduct a thorough oral examination. They will carefully look for any signs of dental issues, including:

  • Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • Bleeding around the mouth
  • Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
  • Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Loose or broken teeth
  • Bad breath

If you notice that your pet is experiencing reduced appetite, unusual chewing, excessive drooling, difficulty holding food in the mouth, unpleasant breath, or other symptoms, it may be a sign of periodontal disease. Untreated oral health issues can worsen and cause significant pain and discomfort for your pet. Therefore, it is crucial to contact your veterinarian promptly. They will assist you in scheduling a dental appointment for your pet.

Our comprehensive dental care involves thoroughly cleaning and polishing your dog's teeth, including the areas above and below the gum line. We also conduct tooth probing and x-rays, followed by a fluoride treatment and the application of a dental sealant to prevent future decay and damage. In cases of advanced periodontal disease, we will work together with you to develop a treatment plan aimed at restoring your pet's mouth to a pain-free and healthy condition.

Should I Brush My Dog's Teeth?

As a pet owner, you play an important role in assisting your dog in fighting dental disease. Here are a few simple ways you can help keep your dog's mouth healthy and clean his teeth:
  • Brush your pet's teeth daily with a finger brush from your vet or a child's toothbrush to remove any plaque or debris. It's as straightforward as brushing your own teeth. If your dog is resistant to having its teeth cleaned, try some doggie toothpaste in flavors that your dog will love. This dog-friendly toothpaste can transform a chore into a treat.
  • Use a plaque prevention product (your vet can recommend some), which you can apply to your pet's teeth and gums. These products act as a barrier to prevent plaque buildup.
  • Offer your pup treats such as dental chews or food designed to help prevent plaque buildup and tartar.

Dental care is an important part of your pet's overall health. Be sure to book your pet's annual dental appointment today, your dog will thank you. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Book a yearly dental cleaning for your furry friend at Apple Valley Animal Hospital to keep their mouth healthy and fresh!

Contact Us, Apple Valley Vets

Caring for Pets in Apple Valley

Apple Valley Animal Hospital accepts new clients to our specialty services and 24/7 emergency services.

Request Appointment

Book Online (760) 242-5400