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Lifestyle // The Wild Side
Dr. John Kaya

Your Dog Licks Your Roommate’s What?!

The thing about being a veterinarian is that everyone has a story to tell about their pet. At times, this can be quite awkward. What’s truly astonishing, however, is the wide variety of tales told. Not a week goes by that I don’t find myself with lower jaw dropped oh-so slightly as an amazing story is shared. Trust me when I say I can’t make up stuff this good.

It was a normal day at work. The craziness that started the week at a tilt settled into a manageable pace. During these times, idle chatter often gives birth to a compelling story.

“Hey, Cathy, so how’s your little doggie Chibi doing?” I asked.

“Chibi is doing just fine. Well, except for a blood chemistry value that’s a little abnormal. I think it has something to do with his liver, but the elevation is not severe. If you look at him, you wouldn’t even think anything was wrong,” Cathy cheerfully admitted, although there was a hint of concern in her voice.

“Have you started him on a liver supplement? There are a handful of products available these days to help with liver problems,” I replied.

“Yup, we started Chibi right away and, in fact, he’s due to recheck his blood values to see if there is any improvement. We’re hoping for the best.” Cathy smiled.

“You know,” I said, “Sometimes the liver can be affected by toxins in the environment.”

I proceeded to methodically go through a list that included dog treats imported from foreign countries, insecticide yard spray and household cleaning products. Cathy shook her head from side to side, signaling the unlikelihood that Chibi had any exposure.

Suddenly, Cathy tilted her head and mumbled, “I wonder …

“Do you think that underarm deodorant may cause a problem?” she asked.

“Well,” I replied, “deodorants do contain a variety of chemicals. I suppose it could be a problem. Did Chibi get onto the bathroom counter and lick some Old Spice?,” I joked.

Sheepishly, Cathy replied, “Actually, he likes to lick the deodorant straight from a person’s armpit.”

This is the part where my jaw drops an inch or two as I slowly visualized Chibi in the act of licking Cathy’s armpit. It must have been the incredulous look on my face that prompted Cathy to explain the situation a little further.

“Wait, Doc, I hope you don’t think that he licks my armpits because that’s gross. Actually, Chibi licks my roommate’s armpits.”

I really didn’t see much difference between one pit or another. Dog saliva is sticky and filled with bacteria. Left in the warm confines of a person’s armpit, I would suspect a foul odor would start brewing. I advised Cathy to have a discussion with her roommate so that Chibi would no longer have access to deodorant in situ.

Hopefully, minus the armpit licking, Chibi’s liver values would return to normal.

I’ve learned over the years to expect the unexpected, but I never expected to hear of a dog that licked armpits.

The moral of this story is simple: Don’t let your dog lick your roommate’s armpit. Besides the potential toxin exposure, it’s just weird.

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