Eli5 why animals can lick their butts and not worry about disease

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Eli5 why animals can lick their butts and not worry about disease

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You are generally immune to your own gut bacteria. So your own feces presents little bacterial issues for you. It’s getting the bacteria from someone else’s feces.

That said, if they are doing so excessively, it could be a sign of infection or something else wrong.

Well my good sir I must say that this is the reason. Animals do not have concept of disease or even have the ability to comprehend what I disease is. They have know why or communicating ‘this will make you sick’ and have no way of sharing information because they can’t even develop the information to begin with.

They do! A common source of UTIs in cats is simply that they lick their butts before they lick their genitals, as my vet bills can attest.

Animals don’t worry about disease because they don’t have much of a conception of disease.

Animals may very well get diseases from licking their butts. Humans could lick their butts and not get diseases. There’s a risk but it’s not a guarantee every time you lick butt you’ll get a disease.

Dogs in particular are less sensitive to many illnesses because they’re pretty carnivorous and eat carrion. They have stronger stomachs with different bacteria in their guts.

This is the same sort of question as “why can animals eat raw meat but it makes humans sick?” Humans can also eat raw meat, but there’s a risk of disease, and there is for animals too. We’re just aware of these diseases and the risks and so choose to avoid them.

It’s risk vs benefit, essentially.

The risk of developing a disease from having a dirty butt is higher than the risk of getting a disease from licking your butt. Most animals don’t have any other good options for cleaning themselves so licking it is. They do get diseases sometimes but it’s better than not cleaning themselves at all.

Humans do have other options so we opt for the least risky choice.