Dog saliva has bugs and bacteria in it that can spread through their sloppy kisses -- no matter how cute the dog is, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Most notable potential affects are gastrointestinal problems, including food poisoning and salmonella.
“The diseases we worry about most come from some of the bugs that cause gastrointestinal problems in humans,” said Dr. Jane Sykes, interim director of the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis.
Open wounds that are exposed to canine saliva can also increase the risk of contracting meningitis, according to Sykes.
Playing fetch with a dog is an easy way to expose oneself to potentially harmful germs. Balls and sticks that the animals bring back to owners are oftentimes covered in their saliva. Allowing animals to sleep in their owners' beds also offers opportunities for disease-carrying ticks and fleas in dogs' coats to bite owners.
The best way to avoid any potential illnesses is to make sure all animals are up to date with vet appointments. Even then, people younger than 5 and older than 65 are most susceptible to health concerns, Sykes said. It's uncommon for healthy adults to get sick from kissing their dogs.
Overall, having dogs as pets is more advantageous than dangerous.
“As many as 60 percent of Americans have pets in the house, and the animals have been shown to provide good health, exercise and emotional care to their owners,” Sykes said.
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