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Dog Saliva Contains Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Many a dog owner can testify to the sweet enjoyment they get from their beloved pets giving them kisses with their drooling doggo tongues. Maybe it’s the expression of unconditional love that makes them overlook the fact that said doggo was probably licking their nether regions only moments before. Well, as it turns out, letting your dog lick your face may be not just unsanitary but dangerously so according to a new study.

Photo by Reba Spike on Unsplash

Back in 2005, “Mythbusters” did an episode where they tested the myth that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s mouth. The results indicated, at least in their samples, Adam Savage‘s mouth did indeed have more bacteria in it than their test dog. But as Jamie Hyneman was quick to point out, the number of bacteria is not necessarily as important as the kind of bacteria. As it turns out, Jamie may have hit the nail right on the head with that.

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In a study done by the Royal Veterinary College and the University of Lisbon, antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria were being found in dog saliva. Much of the same results were found in a report from Biorxiv. One potential cause for this is fairly easy to explain just from population growth. As the number of “companion animals” has continued to grow, so does the interaction level between said animals and their human owners. With more interaction, even if not mouth-to-mouth, comes more potential spreading and harboring of bacteria.

Does that mean if your dog licks your face you’re going to get sick? No, not necessarily. It does mean however that you shouldn’t be letting your dog do that. Actually, you shouldn’t have been letting your dog do it even before this information. Would you let a random child lick your face? Of course not, and considering where your dogs tongue has been, you shouldn’t be letting them lick you either.

It sucks that we can’t have nice things, but the divide between humans and animals has only so many bridges that we can cross. At the very least, our doggos can still be our best buddies and we can still take joy in that.

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