It’s a great part of owning a dog – the crazy “kisses” your pooch plants all over your face when you get home. But there’s a potentially nasty downside to all that canine lovin’, according to some health experts.
See, it turns out that, contrary to popular belief, your pup’s mouth isn’t cleaner than a human mouth. On the contrary, it can be a seething cesspool of bacteria, viruses and other nasty stuff, some of which can make you sick as, well, a dog. This really should come as no surprise. Stop and think about some of Fido’s routine activities – the licking, sniffing and rooting stuff. You know what I’m talking about, right? Not the most sanitary habits.
Ringworm is among the most common ailments you might contract from dog kisses. The skin condition is caused by a fungus (not a worm) that Rover can pick up while nosing around in the backyard. Ringworm is very contagious, so if the dog has the fungus on his lips…
Dog mouths have also been known to harbor staph and MRSA bacteria. Neither has a serious effect on canines, but both can maim or kill a dog’ owner. There have been 13 cases in the United Kingdom of dog owners contracting something called capnocytophaga canimorsus bacteria. The illness starts with slurred speech and can result in a prolonged hospital stay.
Despite all the above, I just can’t imagine never getting another kiss from my German shepherd. This is probably one of those situations where us dog owners just need to use common sense. Yes, there do seem to be some health risks, so maybe we should keep the kisses away from our mouths, or wash up immediately after playing with the pup.