News that your dog can pass on dangerous bacteria and infections is breaking the hearts of dog lovers

By Kelli Bender
Updated October 24, 2016 03:27 PM
Source Miley Cyrus/Instagram

Less than a month out from the election, the world is full of tough questions. The New York Times decided to tackle one of the most controversial talking points out there: Should you let your dog kiss you?

Plenty of pup owners only need to read through the title to answer with a resounding “Duh, yes!” Dog kisses are one of the many perks of being a pet parent, but the NYT has found these sweet smooches have a dark underbelly.

The paper reached out to Dr. Neilanjan Nandi, an assistant professor of medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, for answers to the dog kiss question. Dr. Nandi warned against pet pecks, saying animal mouths are “an enormous oral microbiome of bacteria, viruses and yeast.” Additionally, canines have proteins in their saliva that help protect their own mouths, but when it comes to humans “there are some organisms unique to dogs that we were simply not meant to tolerate or combat.” Dogs can also pass bacteria like clostridium, E. coli, salmonella and campylobacter, and other infections to humans through their licks.

The solution provided for those who don’t want to give up dog kisses, but who also don’t want a dose of dangerous bacteria, is to keep the smooches to skin — forehead, cheek, hand, etc.— only.

“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,” Dr. Leni K. Kaplan, a lecturer of community practice service at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, told the NYT in an email.

This means keeping kisses away from the nose, eyes and mouth. And also making sure your dog stays healthy, doesn’t eat poop and is dewormed. Still, for many, controlling where their dog plants its lips is still a step too far. There has been an outcry among animal lovers in response to this dog kiss precaution piece, including remarks from dog-adoring celebrities.

It is news that must hit dog lovin’ stars — many of whom participated in David Duchovny’s #LickMyFace campaign last summer— especially hard.

  1. David Duchovny

2. Téa Leoni

3. Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman

4. Gillian Anderson

4. Amanda Seyfried

5. Taylor Swift

6. Julianne Hough

7. Miley Cyrus