Study warns of dog licking dangers - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Study warns of dog licking dangers

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Man's best friend shows his love in many ways. But a study says that dogs could share bacteria that's harmful to human beings by licking the face.

Dogs are like family and, though most people admit to allowing the occasional lick, others think it's kinda gross.

"I don't kiss her like that actress -- open mouth licking kiss. No! But, yes. She gets kisses. She's not allowed to lick," says dog owner Madeline McClure.

According to a new study released in the archives of Oral Biology, dog owners and their pets may be swapping more germs than you think.

Researchers working with dogs in Okayama, Japan, scrapped the plaque off the teeth of 66 dogs and their owners. In those samples, they found bacteria that can cause gum disease and tooth decay in both humans and dogs.

They even located bacteria inside the mouths of 13 dog owners that is rarely found in human beings.

The study suggests that bacteria can be transmitted from dogs to humans.

Dr. Paul Howard, who works for the Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center in Carytown, Virginia, says he wasn't surprised by the results of the study.

"I tell them to avoid it for a multitude of reasons. I mean, it's just not a good safe practice," Howard says.

"If you look at a dog pack and how they react to one another, there's a lot of facial licking, and so it doesn't surprise me that they would (lick) as being viewed as part of the pact that they would want to do that to you, too," he says.

Howard suggests other ways to let your pup know that you love him.

"I think there are plenty of positive ways to show positive emotions to a dog or cat or any pet, for that matter, while at the same time avoiding mouth-to-mouth contact."

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