Are Pooch Smooches Actually Bad For Your Health?

There's no doubt about it — pets just make life better. Research even shows that owning a dog can be good for your health. A 2019 review published in Circulation found that dog owners had a lower risk of death, probably because walking a dog regularly helps improve heart health. Interacting with dogs also lowers stress, according to a 2019 study published by the American Educational Research Association. Besides that, dogs offer humans companionship, unconditional love, and affection. We love our dogs so much that 51% of dog owners consider their dogs family members, per the Journal of Business Research.

Dogs love their owners, too, and 1 of the ways they express affection is through licking. Dogs may also lick you if they want attention, or sometimes they do it out of instinct (via The Spruce Pets). While dog kisses might make you happy for whatever reason, they might not be the best thing for your health.

Dog kisses could be loaded with antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Dogs just don't lick you — they lick themselves as well, and that includes their rear ends. This could possibly be a source of some germs you may not want, as a study from the University of Lisbon and the UK Royal Veterinary College discovered. The research involved 114 humans, 85 dogs, and 18 cats from 41 homes in Portugal and 45 homes in Britain. Researchers found a super strain of E. Coli in fecal samples from 15 humans and 14 dogs. In addition, people and pets in 4 homes tested positive for another type of bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics (via the Daily Mail).

The author of the study, Dr. Juliana Menezes, told The Telegraph that antibiotic-resistant germs are a threat to human health because they can make other illnesses, like pneumonia and sepsis, untreatable. She said that dog owners should practice good hygiene around their pets and wash their hands after handling their dogs, especially after picking up dog poop. Researchers also pointed out that owners shouldn't let dogs lick their faces or their plates (via the Daily Mail).