When Pets Kiss the Vet: Goofy, Gross or Great?

Dog Kissing the Vet

Sometimes it’s the yucky little things we love best about our pets. In my case, it’s often about the sloppy kisses they offer. Call me syrupy or call me gross, but I consider cat and dog kisses to be awesome little reminders of all their animal-y wondrousness, especially when they’re offered in the context of a veterinary visit. Forget the atrocious breath, the intrusive tongue, the copious drool, and the certain knowledge that feces have recently been where your face now resides, slobbery dog kisses are awesome. And while nowhere as enthusiastic, sweet kitty kisses are every bit as good. (What they lack in exuberance they make up for in hygiene.)

Now, I know it’s a silly topic, but lately I’ve been musing on how willing most veterinarians are to be manhandled by energetic canine mouths and how thrilled we are when our feline patients deign to anoint us with their raspy tongues. I’ve been so preoccupied with the topic, in fact, that I simply couldn’t contain my thoughts any longer.

Busted by a Client

It all started after one of my clients recently called me out on my kiss-seeking behavior. Here’s how it happened:

[Trevor the chocolate Lab mix bounds into the exam room with Mr. Client in tow.]

Dr. K: Hi, Trevor! Aren’t you a sweet boy? Come over here and give Dr. Khuly a kiss!

[Trevor is only happy to comply.]

Mr. Client: Oh, Dr. Khuly, that’s disgusting! How many pets have slobbered all over you already today?

[Mr. Client makes a yucky face by way of emphasis.]

Dr. K: I’ve lost count.

Why wouldn’t I kiss my patients? It’s not like they’re human children (for whom cultural norms, basic propriety and potential infectious disease transmission preclude such close contact). They’re pets and, as such, as long as I’m familiar with their demeanor, it seems perfectly normal to solicit — or offer — a kiss.


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