Before you read on I want to make it clear that I love dogs. But that doesn’t take away from the facts surrounding their cleanliness or lack of. The fact is , dog’s mouths are full of bacteria and the saying that they are cleaner than human mouths is a complete myth.
It’s common sense really, all you have to do is watch where dogs put their mouths, they are constantly sticking their noses and mouths in garbage, licking anything they see lying on the ground or in the park, and of course they like to give their own private area a good licking , oh and don’t forget they love to sniff each others backsides.
John Oxford is a professor of virology and bacteriology at the Queen Mary University in London, and here is explains in more details just how much bacteria your dog’s muzzle and mouth can carry.
“It is not just what is carried in saliva. Dogs spend half their life with their noses in nasty corners or hovering over dog droppings so their muzzles are full of bacteria, viruses and germs of all sorts.”
It is these viruses and germs that can be very harmful to your health and even life threatening as one 70-year-old woman from England found out.
Her very rare case is described in the medical journal BMJ Case Reports. The woman’s speech began to slur before she eventually became unresponsive. An ambulance rushed her to the hospital where she improved, but four days later she developed confusion, a headache, diarrhea and a high fever, and her kidneys began to fail.
Blood tests revealed she had sepsis, or blood poisoning, which resulted in organ failure. For doctors, her dire condition presented a medical mystery.
Eventually after several tests they finally found the culprit: a bacterium commonly found in the mouths of dogs and cats, called Capnocytophaga canimorsus.
It is said that there have been 13 similar cases reported in the UK alone.
There are also a number of other rather unpleasant diseases that your dog can pass to you … if you don’t have a strong stomach you might not want to continue scrolling down.
This is called ringworm infection. If the dog has an sign of this infection around their mouth and they kiss you then you will more than likely contract it.
This image is really hard to look at. It is an MRSA infection and can be caused by just a little lick from a dog.
This one is very similar to an MRSA and is called Staphylococcus aureus. Fortunately it is more responsive to treatment but still a nasty infection nonetheless and one you want to avoid at all costs.
This last one is particularly nasty. Its called the capnocytophaga canimorsus infection and the poor man who these hands belong was told that his dog licking an open wound is what caused this horrible infection. Apparently his feet were worse and one even had to be partially amputated. I’m not going to show you those photos …
As scary and horrible as these infections look the chances of you catching them are very slim but that’s not the point. Do you even want to take the chance of catching any of them? I know I don’t.
Man’s Best Germs: Does Your Dog Influence Your Health?
“?Our bodies contain around eight million genes. Yet only about 0.3 percent are human. The rest come from your microbiome – the sum total of genes from the numerous microbes (mostly bacteria, but also viruses, yeasts and fungi) that coat your skin, mouths, gut lining – just about everything.”
Comparison of the Oral Microbiomes of Canines and Their Owners Using Next-Generation Sequencing
“Although the dog is the most common companion animal, the composition of the canine oral microbiome, which may include human pathogenic bacteria, and its relationship with that of their owners are unclear.”
“Sometimes, the oral contact between dogs and their owners can be more extensive than that between parent and child. Dogs kiss and lick their owners to express amiable emotions. This raises the possibility of transferring bacteria from the oral microbiome of dogs to their human owners.”
Cultivable Oral Microbiota of Domestic Dogs
“The genera isolated from the oral cavities of dogs were typical of those found in human dental plaque and included Actinomyces, Porphyromonas,Fusobacterium, Neisseria, and Streptococcus.”
“The results showed clearly that the cultivable canine oral microbiota is mainly composed of species distinct from those found in humans”