Many pet owners love when their dogs lick them and give them kisses, as it’s seen as a sign of affection and considered a bonding exercise. However, you may want to be careful next time you let your dog give you a kiss on the mouth -- there are some very serious health consequences involved in such a common practice (video below).
The reason dogs lick is because it’s a method of communication, and it’s also a way to get attention from their owners. Though many believe that a canine mouth is cleaner than a human mouth, it’s actually quite the opposite. Dogs have a tendency to lick questionable things, even garbage, and sometimes they eat dirt and other unsanitary things.
“They raid the garbage can. You know, we give each other a peck on the cheek when we say hello, they give each other a peck on the rear end,” veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker told ABC News.
Getting kisses from a dog can actually cause a variety of diseases like E. Coli, ringworm, staph infection and MRSA, Health Eternally reported.
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It’s generally OK to let your dog lick your face, as skin generally won’t be affected by a dog’s saliva. It’s your lips and mouth that you should really worry about.
If you want to give your dog a kiss, however, you’ll be okay. Becker said that bacteria in a dog’s mouth is specific to dogs as a species, so it won’t harm a human.
“So a staph or a strep for a human is not transmissible to a dog, if you were to kiss it, and vice versa,” Becker said.
Many readers said they were skeptical of the idea that dog kisses were unhealthy and unsafe.
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“I'm 50 and have never caught anything from a dog licking me. Sure, their mouths aren't squeaky clean, but it makes them happy and makes me happy. I try not to let them lick my mouth, but don't mind kisses on the face,” one reader wrote on Shared’s Facebook page.
“Some complain about everything. Dogs have less germs then people. Now a days with all the pollution and chemicals we spray and wash with in our homes please don't worry about your pet showing some love,” another added.