Can you get sick from kissing your dog?

The physical and emotional benefits of owning a dog are well-known. Less considered is whether all those slobbery kisses from our furry friends can lead to sickness. Since it is possible to get deathly ill from kissing your dog, it is probably a good idea to avoid the kissing as much as possible.

Most of us have probably kissed our dogs, either superficially, or with a real wet one, but is that really a good idea? Our pups come in contact with lots of germs that live in our environment. Also, they naturally carry bugs in their saliva, which they can easily spread through kissing or licking.

Essentially, we all should always wash our hands after handling, feeding and brushing our pets, and in reality, avoid kissing them. If you kiss your dog, there is a possibility that you might exchange plaque from his mouth to yours, which could introduce different bacteria into your mouth that could be harmful.

If you haven't noticed, dogs enjoy licking their rear ends, so if you kiss your dog on the mouth, you would potentially receive some of those bacteria. It doesn't seem to bother the dog, but it probably would bother you. Any kind of feces from any living thing is not good to be putting in your mouth as e-Coli and other harmful germs could be introduced to you.

For example, a protozoan organism from dogs can cause flu-like symptoms in a disease called toxoplasmosis. It can be especially dangerous if pregnant women get it, as it can cause miscarriage and birth defects.

Dogs commonly get worms, particularly hookworms and roundworms. Dogs constantly have their nose to the ground and are very susceptible to picking these critters up, and if you and your dog are kissing, you can get them too.

Dogs can also pass along salmonella, although it is usually passed by bad meat, dogs can pick it up from reptiles such as turtles, lizards, and snakes. It can be present in their feces and the dog can pick it up from that.

It is also a good idea to watch what your dog eats, as in not letting him rummage through the neighbor's trash cans. The half-eaten hot dog or the spoiled hamburger he runs across may taste good to him, but the bacteria that is growing like crazy may not faze him but would give you a good fever if he licks you on the mouth.

In the final analysis, control what your dog eats, and don't kiss him on the mouth. Wash your hands each time you have any contact with him, as dogs are voracious lickers, and any part of him could be carrying bacterial problems for you.

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