Whenever I come home for a visit, my dogs come running toward me with immense excitement and bombard me with cuddles and kisses.
I've always thought their sloppy affection was harmless — until now.
It's been reported by the New York Times that letting your dogs lick your face can be hazardous to your health, and I'm really upset about it.
Apparently, dogs carry germs in their mouths that our bodies aren't meant to deal with (bacteria, viruses and yeast to be exact).
Dr. Neilanjan Nandi, an assistant professor of medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine, stated,
There are some organisms unique to dogs that we were simply not meant to tolerate or combat.
New York Times also reported that Dr. Leni K. Kaplan, lecturer at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine, said some of the bacteria our beloved pooches carry are zoonotic.
That means they have the ability to be passed on to us and can cause disease. The bacteria can include salmonella, E. coli and campylobacter.
That's not all they can transfer to humans, though.
Apparently, infections such as roundworms and hookworms can also be transmitted, but only if your pup eats the stool of anther animal or licks another dog's anus before it licks you.
I do have good news, though: This doesn't automatically mean you have to stop your dogs from licking your face ever again (thank goodness).
Dr. Kaplan stated,
When dog saliva touches intact human skin, especially in a healthy person, it is extremely unlikely to cause any problems, as there will be very little absorption through the skin.
Even so, the lecturer stated you should avoid letting your dog lick your nose, mouth and eyes because it's easier for its saliva to be absorbed there.
I know, I'm sad about it, too. I'm pretty sure my dog has already licked me a good five to 10 times today, but let's hope for the best.
To lesson the risks of bacteria being transmitted from your dog to you, you can follow easy steps like washing your hands on a daily basis and making sure your canine friend is up-to-date on its vaccines.