Did You Know: Why Dogs Lick Their Wounds?

Common practice. All dogs instinctively want to lick their wounds. The reflex was a sound one—once.

Healing saliva. The idea that canine saliva contains healing properties is widely held; it appeared in the myths of some ancient societies such as Mesopotamia. Is it fact or fiction? Well, it’s somewhat factual. Dog saliva is slightly bactericidal against E. coli and Streptococcus canis, but modern medicine is far more effective.

Bottom line. In today’s world of soap, surgical stitching, and antibacterial wound care, wound licking can cause more harm than good. It can lead to irritation and infection and may slow the healing process. So, don’t put your dog at risk. Follow your veterinarian’s advice, keep wound care products on hand, and encourage your dog to keep his tongue where it belongs—in his mouth.