When your cat or dog licks you, most people think the slimy touch should be washed off right away. Yet pet saliva actually has some health benefits. Researchers in the Netherlands identified a chemical in pet saliva called histamines, which speeds wound healing by promoting the spread and migration of new skin cells.
Dr. Nigel Benjamin of the London School of medicine has shown that when saliva contacts skin it creates nitric oxide. Nitric oxide inhibits bacterial growth and protects wounds from infection. Researchers at the University of Florida isolated a protein in saliva called Nerve Growth Factor that halves the time for wound healing. Of course pet saliva also contains bacteria and possibly parasites, so having your pet lick you might actually be safer than going to see a doctor.