Does a smooch from your pooch carry a health risk?

"Be cautious" when it comes to dog kisses

We all love it when our dogs greet us at the door, so happy to see us. But you may not realize there is a risk when a dog kisses you on or around your mouth. This isn't meant to scare you, just make you aware of what your pup could be passing along.

Morgan Coleman says her dog Jax always greets her with lots of kisses. "It's one of his favorite things to do when I get home," explains Coleman. She loves her puppy dearly, but is sure to wash all the slobber off her face and hands!

That's a good practice according to Veterinarian Caitlin Cleary. She says follow your common sense when it comes to dog kisses. For healthy people they should be fine, but she would be very cautious with young children or people with weak immune systems.

There is a chance your pup could pass something unpleasant to you especially with licking around the mouth. One risk is intestinal parasites. Also, you may not realize a dog's mouth can carry 700 different kinds of bacteria. A build up of plaque on their teeth could spell trouble.

"Dogs are gross. They eat gross things including fecal matter," says Dr. Cleary. She does not agree with the old saying that a dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's.

Your best defense is to wash your hands and face if you get a friendly smooch from your pet. Be sure your dog is in good health by brushing his teeth, regular cleanings and annual check-ups.

On the flipside some studies show dog germs can help a human's immune system and they can really improve a person's emotional well being.. after all dogs are man's best friend!

But until we have more research on the issue of doggie germs, you may want to be a little more cautious with your little ones or if they're around people who are ill.

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