Viral diseases have a history of making the leap from animals to humans. There have been flu epidemics that got started because of human proximity to pigs or chickens. Ebola and HIV likely jumped from apes to people. But what about bacteria? And what about dogs?
We may not like to think about it, but our bodies are alive with bacteria, inside and out. If we consider ourselves and our bacteria as a single system and look at the DNA, there are about eight million different genes in play. Only a third of one percent of them are human. The rest belong to the bacteria, known as our “microbiome.”
Dogs, too, play host to a huge number of bacteria. Some of the bacteria in their microbiome are quite different from the ones in ours. And this leads us to an important question: is it safe to let a dog kiss you and lick your face?
Almost all dog owners welcome kisses from their canine friends. And why not? This is a dog’s way of telling its human how much it loves them. But what about the unavoidable exchange of bacteria? Could the bacteria that live in a dog’s mouth (but not ours) cause disease or infection in us? Could our bacteria harm our dogs? We want to show our dogs love, not make them sick.
The people at DNews describe themselves as “dedicated to satisfying your curiosity and to bringing you mind-bending stories and perspectives you won’t find anywhere else.” In the video we’ve posted below, you’ll see what they have to say about whether you should let your dog kiss you.