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Is Pet Kissing Risky Business?

I’m a pet lover, as I’ve got a dog of my own.  It’s not uncommon for pet lovers to give their dog or cat a smooch from time to time (although I’m not necessarily in the habit of letting the dog lick my face), but some health experts warn that it is bad for your health.  In fact, there is a debate in veterinary medicine as to whether pet owners should plant a kiss on their beloved Fido or Fluffy: not long ago, Dr. Christina Winn, a veterinarian, came out in favor of pet kissing.  She advocated kissing as a way of communication between pets and their owners.  However, it wasn’t too long before Dr. Winn received a chiding letter, signed by several veterinarians in opposition to the pet kissing advocacy.

Pet Owners Issued Pet Kissing Warning Kiss Their Pets AnywayThere have been several recent studies issuing warnings about the health risks of kissing your pets, and that some diseases are communicable between animals and humans.  Some studies have even found that kissing your pet can lead to dental disease, which  might not be a surprise since most of us have personally witnessed where are pets’ mouths are want to go.  Dr. Mary Becker even went on TV to warn pet owners about kissing their pet, but realized that of the 4 million viewers watching Good Morning Today, 3.9 continued to let their pets kiss them.  Dr. Becker even admits driving home from the segment on the popular morning show, and letting his dog give him a wet, sloppy one as he walked in the door.

The Moral of the Story

Overall, although there have been several studies citing the danger of kissing your pets, who’s ever heard of someone dying of a disease transmitted by their pet through kissing?  And who’s ever developed gum disease directly linked to their pet kissing habits?  Probably very few, if any, says Dr. Becker.  As for his practice, he says he will continue to plant kisses on his furry patients.  In addition, Dr. Richard E. Besser, a pediatrician and the former Acting Head of the U.S. Department of Health, says he’ll continue to his pets, too.  If these guys can continue to kiss their pets, well maybe I can, too.

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