As a nation of animal lovers, we happily lavish affection on our furry friends.
Dogs also love to show us affection – and will sometimes give us a lick, whether or not we like it.
But if you thought the worst part was a gust of dog breath to the face, then you’d be very wrong.
Letting your dog lick your face can potentially kill you.
Author and dog expert Marty Becker told Doggies Care : “All you have to do is look, watch, smell and you’ll realise that is not true.
“They raid the garbage can. You know, we give each other a peck on the cheek when we say hello, they give each other a peck on the rear end.”
John Oxford, professor of virology and bacteriology at the Queen Mary University in London, painted a grim but effective picture of the bacteria present in your dog’s mouth and muzzle.
“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.”
The list of potential diseases is a worrying one.
Capnocytophaga Canimorsus is an organism carried in the mouths of dogs, and it causes a very bad sepsis infection.
If you do catch this, your first symptoms will resemble those of other illnesses: fever, chills, sweats and a lack of energy. You will, however, fall ill much more quickly than you would with a more commonplace infection.
Next on the list is ringworm – one of the easiest diseases for your dog to pass onto you from their saliva.
Dogs can also carry round MRSA and not have it affect them. One little lick from them, however, can be bad news for humans.
Staphylococcus aureus is similar to MRSA and, but is more resistant to treatment.
It’s also worth being aware that there’s a higher risk of infants becoming infected by a dog licking them.
Of course, we should all welcome shows of affection from our pets and not live in fear of it, but its worth being wary of getting a too close to a dog’s mouth.