A reader asked this question the other day:

"I was walking with my dog, when it got hold of a used condom. Is it possible that my dog got HIV or AIDS or something?"

The short answer is NO. Dogs cannot be infected by HIV, nor can dogs transmit the virus (although there is a theoretical concern that a dog could transmit HIV from one person to another if it bit someone with HIV, got blood from the person in its mouth, and then immediately bit someone else). The virus that causes HIV/AIDS does not survive long outside the human body and would quickly die in a dog’s mouth. So HIV infection in a dog from chewing on or swallowing a used condom is not a concern.

Dogs are not susceptible to the other important sexually transmitted diseases in people either. The biggest potential problem in this situation (and a slim on at best) is if the dog swallowed the condom, it could cause a blockage in the dog’s intestine. Most likely, though, the dog would pass the condom in its stool and nothing untoward would happen.

(The "ick" factor with dogs eating things like this furthers my objections to being licked in the face by any dog, however!)