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Do You Kiss Your Dog?
Are Doggy Kisses Delightful or Dangerous?



Who can forget Lucy’s reaction when Snoopy gives her a big, wet smack on the lips?

“I’ve been kissed by a dog! I have dog germs! Get hot water, get some disinfectant, get some iodine!”

Lucy, it seems, is in the minority … as far as pet lovers go, anyway. A poll by PDSA, the UK's leading veterinary charity, found two-thirds of dog owners kiss their pets. Another survey, this one commissioned by Del Monte Food and involving 1,000 dog owners, found that 32 percent smooch their pooch!

Still other surveys have found that more than half of pet owners let their pets lick their face, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Greener Wiener A Place for Pet Owners Who Kiss Their Dogs on the Lips!

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And when it comes to their pet being in danger, 58 percent of pet owners said they’d be willing to go “mouth to muzzle” and give their cat or dog CPR in an emergency. In fact, the recent Associated poll found that 63 percent of dog owners and 53 percent of cat owners said they’d be at least somewhat likely to perform CPR on their pets.

For those of you who fall into the growing group of pet owners who happily take a lick on the face or plant a smooch on your pooch … should you be worried? Should we all really be following Lucy’s lead and, instead of nuzzling up to our furry friends be running for the disinfectant?

Are Canine Kisses Safe?

It’s a question many pet lovers scoff at, but the truth is it is possible to get germs from your pet, and vice versa.

Recent research by Dr. Richard Oehler and colleagues at the University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa found that dogs and cats can transmit the drug-resistant bacteria known as MRSA along with at least 30 other potentially disease-causing organisms.

"Pet owners are often unaware of the potential for transmission of life-threatening pathogens from their canine and feline companions," the researchers told ABC News.

In most cases, however, the researchers pointed out that transferring germs just from routine contact is relatively rare. Instead, most bugs are transmitted by bites or scratches.

About 20 percent of dog and cat bites can result in serious infection, with hands being the body part most likely to develop infections; up to 40 percent of dog bites to the hands become infected.

Licks to Your Face May Not be So Bad After All

A separate study by Dr. Kate Stenske, a clinical assistant professor at K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine, also found that regular bonding behaviors between pets and their owners are not a significant cause for concern.

"I became interested in the topic because there is such a strong bond between dogs and their owners," Stenske said. "If you look at one study, 84 percent of people say their dog is like a child to them."

Close to half of dog owners share food with their dogs, and more than half sleep with their dogs in their bed and let their dogs lick them on the face, Stenske said.

"We also know diseases can be shared between dogs and people," Stenske said in a K-State press release. "About 75 percent of emerging diseases are zoonotic, meaning they are transferable between humans and other animals. With these two pieces of knowledge, I wanted to examine the public health aspects of such activities."

So Stenske studied fecal samples from dogs and owners, checking for E. coli strains. She found that 10 percent of dogs and their owners shared the same E. coli strains.

What does this mean?

Bonding behaviors like sharing the bed or allowing licks on your face were not likely to increase shared E. coli. However, Stenske did find an association between antibiotic-resistant E. coli and owners who didn’t wash their hands after petting their dogs or before cooking meals.

Before Your Pooch Puckers Up, Freshen Up with Bluto’s Yummy Gum


This all-natural blend is exceptional for pet oral hygiene, bad breath and periodontal disease.

Bluto's Yummy Gum contains hydrosols of peppermint and helichrysum, combined with anti-inflammatory (thyme linelol) and antibacterial (niaouli) ingredients to provide an effective and natural oral hygiene treatment.

This is one of the most effective and natural oral treatments to keep your dog's gums healthy and breath fresh! It even comes with a pop-up brush, making it an all-in-one oral hygiene system for your dog.

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Bluto’s Yummy Gum

Can the Kisses Continue?

The research is fairly unanimous that petting and bonding with your pets is not likely to cause illness, as long as you’re healthy. Still, practicing good hygiene by keeping your pet clean and healthy is important. highly recommends using only gentle and natural pet shampoos on your dog, and one of our favorites is Aromadog Healthy Shine Herbal Dog Shampoo. Aromadog Healthy Shine Shampoo has a completely herbal base with absolutely NO chemical additives, and is made of essential oils to clean and encourage the healthy growth of your dog's coat.

For a treat, you can also try Derma Pooch Spa Therapy Bar. It’s a luxurious soap that soothes itchy, flaky skin and enriches dry fur, leaving a soft, silky, shiny coat and light scent. Derma Pooch Spa Therapy bar soap is also all natural, using only the finest blend of ingredients.

And before you pucker up, we highly recommend giving your pooch a quick brush with Bluto’s Yummy Gum -- one of the most effective and natural oral treatments to keep your dog's gums healthy and breath fresh.

Finally, washing your hands after interacting with your pet -- especially before eating, cooking or handling food -- is a good common sense approach to follow.

Recommended Reading

What’s Really in Your Dog’s Food? Top Reasons Why Your Pet’s Food Could be Slowly Killing Him

Seven Top Autumn Safety Tips for Dogs and Cats


American Journal of Veterinary Research, November 2009;70(11):1401-6.

Lancet Infectious Diseases, July 2009;9(7):439-47.

K-State Media Relations January 27, 2009

Yahoo News October 21, 2009

ABC News June 22, 2009

K-State Bites July 10, 2009

Del Monte Foods October 13, 2005

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