Newsflash: Dog butts are teeming with nasty germs.
So the innocent, thumbless creature does its best to clean using its tongue and teeth — from the same wet snout that loves giving you kisses.
Now a new study is urging dog owners to stop allowing their dogs to lick them — and to even wash their hands after petting a pooch — as their slobber may be a source of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
A joint team of researchers from the UK Royal Veterinary College and the University of Lisbon focused on a super strain of E.coli found in human and animal fecal samples from 41 homes in Portugal and 45 in Great Britain.
Close to 14% of dogs (14 out of 85) turned up the superbug, making theirs the largest share of infected poo.
Before we turn our noses up at our pooches, though, the results also suggested that us bipeds aren’t much cleaner, with about 13% of human samples (15 out of 114) showing the powerful E.coli — so we might not wanna go licking each other either.
Meanwhile, it was the not-so-humble cat that was recorded as the most sanitary, with only 5% (one out of 18) showing the superbug.
Harmful bacteria have evolved to withstand our most powerful drugs and have been anticipated as one of the biggest global threats to public health of our time. Scientists have already identified drug-resistant strains of several commonly known bugs, including salmonella, tuberculosis, streptococcus, staphylococcus and so-called “super” gonorrhea, to name a few. Those are added to the more than 2.8 million drug-resistant infections — 35,000 of them fatal — that occur every year in the US, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control.
“Even before COVID, antibiotic resistance was one of the biggest threats to public health,” said lead study author Dr. Juliana Menezes, whose findings are being presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases in Lisbon later this month. “It can make conditions like pneumonia, sepsis, urinary tract and wound infections untreatable.”
Researchers can’t be sure who — human or beast — is to blame for the spread, so they’re asking pet parents to be vigilant with their pups and refrain from wet kisses or “eating from the owner’s plate,” Menezes told the Telegraph .
However, Menezes noted that E.coli is found in the gut and, thus, in feces. As such, she stressed that “good hygiene practices on the part of owners would help to reduce sharing, such as washing hands after collecting dog waste, or even after petting them.”