| Pet Care Advice By Veterinarians |

Can You Eat Food Your Dog Licked?



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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Are you wondering if it’s safe to eat food that your furry friend has taken a liking to?

Many dog owners have faced the dilemma of whether to toss out their beloved snacks or continue eating after their pooch has had a taste.

In this article, we’ll explore the factors to consider when deciding if you can eat food your dog licked, including hygiene, health risks, and potential consequences.

Get ready to make an informed decision and keep both you and your four-legged companion happy and healthy!

Key Takeaway

  • It is generally not recommended to eat food that your dog has licked due to the potential transfer of bacteria, germs, and parasites that can cause health issues.
  • There are several potential diseases that can be transmitted from a dog licking a person, including Capnocytophaga infection, ringworm, and certain bacterial infections, but the risk is generally low.
  • To keep your dog from licking the food, you can try using a “leave it” command, creating a designated feeding area, or using food puzzle toys to redirect their attention.

Can You Eat Food Your Dog Licked?

Can You Eat Food Your Dog Licked

No. Eating food your dog has licked can expose you to bacteria, germs, and parasites that can make you sick.

These contaminants could be anything from salmonella or e-coli to parasitic worms or even the canine parvovirus. Ingesting any of these microorganisms can cause severe illnesses in humans.

Additionally, dogs may have come into contact with other contaminants from the environment or their own grooming habits.

However, the decision to eat food your dog has licked ultimately depends on several factors, including your dog’s cleanliness, your immune system, and your personal comfort level.

Some people may choose to eat the food if they believe their dog is relatively clean and they have a strong immune system, while others may prefer to play it safe and discard the food.

What Diseases Can You Get From a Dog Licking You?

Here is a list of the diseases you can get from a dog licking you:

1. Capnocytophaga Infection

Capnocytophaga is a bacteria found in the mouths of dogs and cats, which can cause infections in humans when transmitted through bites, scratches, or contact with saliva. Symptoms may include fever, swelling, redness, and pus at the site of infection.

2. Pasteurella Infection

Pasteurella is another bacteria commonly found in the mouths of dogs and cats. Infections can occur through contact with saliva, bites, or scratches. Symptoms may include redness, swelling, pain, and pus at the site of infection.

3. Salmonella Infection

Dogs can carry Salmonella bacteria, which can be transmitted to humans through contact with contaminated saliva, feces, or surfaces. Symptoms of Salmonella infection in humans include diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, and vomiting.

4. Campylobacter Infection

Campylobacter is a bacteria commonly found in the intestines of dogs, which can be transmitted to humans through contact with contaminated feces or saliva. Symptoms of Campylobacter infection include diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting.

5. Ringworm

Ringworm is a fungal infection that can be transmitted from dogs to humans through direct contact with infected skin or fur. Symptoms include an itchy, red, circular rash on the skin.

What Happens If You Eat Food Licked By Your Dog?

If you eat food licked by your dog, the consequences may vary depending on several factors, such as the cleanliness of your dog’s mouth, your immune system, and the presence of harmful bacteria in the dog’s saliva.

Here are some possible outcomes:

  1. No adverse effects: In some cases, you may not experience any negative consequences, especially if your dog’s mouth is relatively clean, and your immune system is strong.
  2. Mild gastrointestinal issues: You may experience mild gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, or stomach cramps due to the presence of bacteria or germs in your dog’s mouth.
  3. More severe infections: In rare cases, consuming food licked by your dog could lead to more serious infections caused by harmful bacteria like E. coli, Salmonella, or Campylobacter. Symptoms may include fever, vomiting, severe diarrhea, and dehydration.
  4. Allergic reactions: If you have an allergy to dogs, exposure to their saliva could trigger an allergic reaction with symptoms such as itching, hives, or swelling.

How To Keep Your Dog From Licking The Food?

Here is how to keep your dog from licking the food:

1. Use Positive Reinforcement Training

Train your dog to understand commands like “leave it” or “off” using positive reinforcement techniques. Reward your dog with treats, praise, or affection when they obey these commands and resist the temptation to lick your food.

2. Create a Separate Eating Space

Establish separate eating areas for you and your dog to minimize the chances of them licking your food. This helps create boundaries between human and pet food spaces and reinforces good manners in your dog.

3. Supervise Your Dog During Mealtime

Keep an eye on your dog while you are eating, and be ready to intervene if they show interest in your food. Consistent supervision will help reinforce the message that your food is off-limits.

4. Distract Your Dog

Provide your dog with a distraction during your mealtime, such as giving them a puzzle toy or a long-lasting treat. This will keep them occupied and less likely to focus on your food.

5. Keep Food Out of Reach

Store your food at a height your dog cannot reach or inside closed cabinets to prevent any unauthorized licking. Be mindful of where you place your plate or leave snacks unattended.

6. Consistent Feeding Schedule

Maintain a consistent feeding schedule for your dog to reduce their temptation to seek out additional food sources. Ensuring your dog is well-fed and satisfied will make them less likely to go after your food.

7. Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Ensure your dog gets enough physical exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and content. A well-exercised and mentally stimulated dog will be less likely to engage in unwanted behaviors like licking your food.

Can You Get Sick From Dog Saliva?

Yes. Dog saliva can contain bacteria and germs that can cause illness in humans, such as Capnocytophaga canimorsus bacteria, which can lead to severe disease and even death.

Symptoms of infection may include fever, blisters, confusion, vomiting, and muscle and joint pain. In rare cases, people have even lost limbs due to a dog-related infection.

To stay safe around your pup, it’s important to practice good hygiene habits such as washing your hands after petting or playing with your dog.

Additionally, avoid letting your dog lick open wounds or sores on your skin. If you do get bitten or scratched by a dog, be sure to seek medical attention right away.

Overall, while it is possible to get sick from dog saliva, the chances are very low if you practice proper hygiene and safety measures when interacting with pets.


Q: Is it safe to eat food that your dog licked?

A: When a dog licks food, bacteria from their mouth and saliva can transfer onto the food. This can include germs such as salmonella or campylobacter, which can cause an upset stomach or infection in humans. So while it is possible to eat food that your dog licked, it is generally not recommended.

Q: What if I let dogs lick my face or let them lick my food?

A: If you let dogs lick your face or food, you are exposing yourself to whatever bacteria or germs are present in the dog’s mouth or on their fur. This can increase your risk of sickness or infection. It’s better to avoid letting your dog lick your face or food altogether.

Q: Is it ok to share human food with your dog?

A: Some human foods may be safe to share with your dog in small amounts, but it is important to check with your veterinarian first. Many foods that are safe for humans can be toxic to dogs, such as chocolate, onions, and grapes. Additionally, feeding your dog human food on a regular basis can lead to obesity and other health problems.

Q: Are dog treats a safer option to give your dog?

A: Dog treats are designed for dogs and are generally a safer option than feeding them human food. However, it is still important to read the ingredients and make sure that the treats do not contain any harmful substances.

Q: Can letting dogs lick your face or food transmit disease or parasites?

A: Yes, it is possible for diseases or parasites to be transmitted from a dog to a human through licking. Some common parasites found in dogs include fleas, ticks, and ringworm. Additionally, bacteria present in a dog’s mouth can lead to infection in humans.

Q: Is it safe to eat food licked by a dog if you cook it first?

A: Cooking food that has been licked by a dog can help to kill any bacteria or germs that may be present. However, it is still recommended to avoid eating food that has been licked by a dog if possible.

Q: Can bacteria in a dog’s saliva make humans sick?

A: Yes, bacteria present in a dog’s saliva can make humans sick, especially if the person has an open wound or compromised immune system. It’s important to practice good hygiene and avoid letting dogs lick your face or wounds.

Q: What are some things to be aware of as a dog owner regarding letting dogs lick your face or food?

A: It’s important to be aware of the potential risks associated with letting dogs lick your face or food, including the transfer of bacteria or parasites, as well as the potential for dogs to ingest harmful substances or choke on small pieces of food. It’s better to err on the side of caution and avoid letting your dog lick your face or food.

Q: What should I do if I accidentally eat food that my dog licked?

A: If you accidentally eat food that your dog licked, monitor yourself for symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor.

Q: Is it safe to let your dog lick your face if they are healthy?

A: While it may not be harmful to let a healthy dog lick your face, it’s important to remember that there will be bacteria present in their mouth and on their fur. Additionally, letting your dog lick your face can lead to the transfer of germs or parasites, so it’s best to avoid it altogether.

Q: Can dogs’ mouths be cleaner than humans’ mouths?

A: This is a common myth, but it’s not true. While dogs’ mouths may contain bacterial strains that are not present in human mouths, there are also many bacteria present in humans that are not present in dogs.

Let’s face it – there’s no such thing as a “clean” mouth, whether it belongs to a human or a dog. It’s better to practice good hygiene and avoid letting dogs lick your face or food.

In Conclusion

Deciding whether to eat food your dog has licked depends on various factors such as your dog’s hygiene, your immune system, and your personal comfort level.

While there are potential health risks associated with consuming food that has come into contact with a dog’s saliva, the decision ultimately comes down to individual preferences.

By weighing the pros and cons and considering your specific situation, you can make the best choice for yourself and your canine companion, ensuring a safe and enjoyable dining experience for both of you.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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