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How Dirty Are Your Dog's Kisses?

MIAMI (CBS4) - We've all gotten licks of love from our dogs. However, would you let your dog kiss you on the mouth?

Urban legend has it that dog's mouths are very clean.

"That's not true," said Nova Southeastern University Microbiologist Dr. Julie Torruellas-Garcia.

Saliva samples from dogs in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach were sent to the lab to be tested. Based on the cultures that grew in the lab from the samples, Dr. Torruellas-Garcia said you may want to think twice before you and your dog exchange siliva.

"There was quite a bit of bacteria that grew from the dogs' mouths," said Dr. Torruellas-Garcia.

While our testing did not reveal the presence of any e-coli or bacteria that could cause a staph infection, Dr. Torruellas-Garcia and her students found globs of other microboes.

"One plate had so many bacteria mixed together that it was difficult to test," said Dr. Torruellas-Garcia.

In swabs taken from dogs in the West Palm Beach area, the testing found evidence of Nisseria, bacteria linked to STD's, pneumonia and plaque.

"Think about where a dog tends to lick, and consider he or she might have just licked before they licked you," said Dr. Torruellas-Garcia.

After all, it's not like a dog knows to wash hands or brush teeth. West Palm Beach Veterinarian Ken Simmons said not to worry though, all that bacteria doesn't stay in a dog's mouth for long.

"It's gone so fast, if they lick and groom themselves, whatever organisms they ingest, they're gone in a matter of minutes," said Simmons.

If doggie breath bothers you, it may be time to take your dog for a dental cleaning. After all, if you didn't take care of your teeth, your mouth would have the same problems.

In the end, the testing didn't reveal anything out of the ordinary. Dr. Simmons said it's simply a matter of with what you are comfortable.

"I don't think it's a great idea to french kiss a dog, but having a normal lick on the face is no more dangerous than a kiss from your spouse," said Dr. Simmons.


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