Today we are talking about your dogs. We share our food, home, beds, hearts, and deepest darkest secrets with these guys. There isn’t much that we don’t share with these slobbery, shedding, noisy balls of fur. Now, before I jump into the sicknesses your canine can give you, I want to emphasize that your pet does more good than harm to your health. Simply petting a dog lowers your blood pressure and heart rate. And in one study of heart attack survivors, dog owners were 8.6x more likely to be alive a year later than people without dogs. Dogs are AMAZING.
With that being said, it’s important to know about the not-so-cool stuff too. Lisa Conti, a veterinarian and director of the division of environmental health at the Florida Department of Health points out that “dogs have bacteria around their mouths you don’t want on your face.”
Dogs do this funny thing when they greet each other by smelling each other’s behind. Then they turn around and greet us with a big slobbery kiss. Every year 200,000 Americans get stomach flu and that stomach flu is from that loving sloppy kiss your pooch is giving to you.
“Dogs lick themselves all over; so these germs can be on the dog’s nose when it’s nuzzling you,” says Peter Rabinowitz, MD, associate professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine and an expert in pet-related infection.
Soap and water should already be your friend but make sure it’s your best friend forever (BFF). “I’m not saying don’t pet your dog,” Rabinowitz says, “but I am saying to wash your hands afterward.”
Personally, I’m always loving on my pooch and taking pictures of him. No doubt that his bacteria is all over my phone. Just 10 minutes in the PhoneSoap and my phone is free of stomach flu germs!
So please don’t be afraid of loving on your pooch. But next time your pooch comes running to love on you, maybe dodge that slobbery kiss.