Dog kisses not as clean as you think - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Dog kisses not as clean as you think

Dog saliva contains bacteria. (Source: KLTV Staff) Dog saliva contains bacteria. (Source: KLTV Staff)

We’ve all heard the rumor that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s mouth, so those slobbery kisses are perfectly safe. What some researchers just found in dog saliva might send you running for your tooth brush if you’ve recently locked lips with your pooch.

Any dog lover has probably been on the receiving end of a wet dog kiss before. “I’ll pet them and then I’ll always sit down so they can like come and sit in my lap because they want to,” Clayton Hemphill, a dog owner, said. “And then I’ll just let them lick me on the face because they always want to do that.”

Another local dog owner who was walking his pups in a Tyler park explained he tends to avoid direct kisses.“The only time they ever kiss me on the face is when I’m putting their leashes on they might jump up and kiss me,” Peter DeBoer said.

Rumor has it those kisses are clean. “I have heard that, that like their mouth is more clean than the mouth of humans,” Hemphill said. As it turns out rumor is all that is.

“I’ve heard it too and I don’t know, I’ve seen some pretty nasty dog mouths and some pretty nasty people mouths too,” Dr. Stephanie Coleman, a veterinarian at South Tyler Animal Clinic, said.

A recent report found traces of Neisseria, a bacterium linked to STDs, Pneumonia, and Plaque, all in dog saliva. You may want to think twice before French kissing your dog and bad breath is a sign of that bacteria, but the veterinarians said it doesn’t linger for too long.

“But what they’re actually licking you with is their saliva and so if they were to lick something off the ground and then lick you, it seems unlikely that it would infect you,” she explained. And all those things they lick and the places that tongue has been, is it possible to actually get an STD from your dog? “I guess it’s possible, nothing is impossible. I don’t think for a normal person and a normal dog it’s really an issue,” she explained.

A local infectious disease specialist at Trinity Mother Frances Health Systems agreed. “If I was having chemotherapy and I were immune-suppressed I wouldn’t recommend it ,or if I had someone who doesn’t have a very strong immune system then I would limit that contact with that animal,” Amy Beasley, the director, said.

But, overall, washing your hands and getting your furry best friend’s teeth cleaned professionally can eliminate much of the bacteria.“Dogs have their own flavor and people have their own flavor and they didn’t say in the study what flavor it was, so I wouldn’t get too worried about it I bet it’s the dog flavor instead of the people flavor,” Dr. Coleman explained.

And there are always plenty of other ways to show your dog you love them if you’re afraid of pooch’s coodies.

Those tests didn’t reveal anything out of the ordinary for a dog’s mouth. Pets should have their teeth brushed regularly and if you have any concern contact your local vet or doctor.

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