Dog saliva has an antibacterial effect, but can also transmit pathogens. This is probably due to the observation that the dog licks its wounds and infected parts of the body in humans.
In Islam, however, dog saliva is considered impure. Mohammed is said to have said, "Cleaning a bowl after a dog licks it is to wash it seven times, the first time with earth."
What does science say?
As the Swiss specialist magazine “Tierwelt” reports, the veterinarians B.L. Hart and K.L. Powell from California already in the early 20th century: The saliva of dogs prevents infection with certain bacteria because it dilutes them in the wound and the dogs lick them out.
Dog saliva doesn't just dilute the bacteria. The Swiss veterinary bacteriologist Jörg Jores further explains in the magazine's contribution: “The saliva contains lysozyme that attacks certain bacteria such as staphylococci and streptococci. We also find immunoglobulins, antibodies that play an important role in the defense against pathogens. ”
Bacteria in the saliva
Not only does saliva fight bacteria, it also contains innumerable ones, some of which can harm people. Jores says: "Tartar, throat infections or organic complaints like that of the kidney can cause bad-smelling dog saliva and breath."
Food, environment, diseases
Bacteria enter the dog's saliva through food, the environment and diseases. Jores adds in the article by “Tierwelt”: “Antibiotics, change of feed, congeners and changes in the environment also play a role here.”
Dogs are often carriers of the disease
Most of these bacteria are harmless to humans, but not all. The bacteriologist emphasizes to “wildlife” that bacteria such as E. coli can sometimes be found in the saliva of dogs, because the dog is concerned with body care and licks the body parts of others.
Rabies is one of the worst epidemics that evolution has brought about. Above all, the infection of humans with rabies is a problem that an infected dog transmits with its saliva. Humans are mostly infected by animal bites, often from canids such as dogs, jackals, wolves and foxes.
Not the bite infected
A bite is highly likely to infect because saliva containing the virus gets into the wound. The Tollut virus is one of the most sophisticated of the viruses: it triggers an animal bite and thus ensures its own spread. The problem is not the bite, but the body fluid of the infected animal (or human).
Rabies warning in Islam?
Is the fear of rabies widespread in Muhammad's time in Arabia a reason that dog saliva is considered impure in Islam? That is possible.
No danger in Germany
There is no danger in Germany because rabies has been largely suppressed in Germany. In countries in Africa, Asia or even Eastern Europe, however, you should never let other dogs lick you.
Various sources of illness
Another reason for the impurity of the dog's saliva in Islam is the living conditions of the animals: Dogs in the Orient lived and live primarily on the streets. They feed on waste and carrion. As a result, their saliva contains a lot of pathogens that are dangerous to humans.
Danger in Europe?
In Europe, a bacterium in dog saliva can become a problem, namely Capncytophaga canimorsus. Every fourth dog carries it in its mouth and can transmit it through open wounds by licking it. This bacterium sometimes triggers blood poisoning.
Risk of immunodeficiency
However, there is only a risk for people who generally suffer from a weak immune system.
Can my dog eat me?
In Germany, people with a healthy immune system can easily be wiped off by their dog. You should also refrain from letting a dog lick their wounds. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)