Your dog's mouth is just as gross as yours, veterinarian says


You may enjoy a quick kiss – or slobber – from your lovable, furry friend, thinking it's somehow safer coming from your pet. But you're wrong, according to a veterinarian.

That's because a dog's mouth is just as gross as yours, despite myths to the contrary. Here are several other points Dr. John H. de Jong, president-elect of the American Veterinary Medical Association, recently told U.S. News.

If my dog is sick and it licks me, can I get sick? It depends on what your dog is sick with, according to de Jong. One virus that could translate across species is rabies – a potentially dangerous disease transmitted via an infected animal's saliva. For example, if a dog had rabies and licked an open wound on your face (i.e. if you cut yourself shaving), the disease could enter your bloodstream and infect you.

What happens if a dog eats its poop then licks my face? That's a tricky one. Some dogs do indeed eat their poop. If your dog does this then licks your face afterward, you won't necessarily get any kind of illness (though it might be dirty, notes de Jong). But if your dog has somehow ingested parasites and your dog's saliva works its way into your mouth, that may get into your system and cause problems.

Related: Germ-filled spots in your house

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11 Sneaky Places Germs are Hiding in Your Kitchen
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11 Sneaky Places Germs are Hiding in Your Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the germiest places in the average home.

Refrigerator Drawers

The produce drawer in your refrigerator can be contaminated with salmonella, listeria, yeast and mold. To clean it, remove the drawer from the fridge and wash it in warm, soapy water.

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Kitchen Sink

It’s no secret; lots of germs are washed down the kitchen sink. Make sure the pathogens don’t linger by disinfecting it daily with a solution of bleach and water.

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Can Opener

The best way to ensure that salmonella, E.coli, yeast and mold aren’t growing on your can opener is to wash it in the dishwasher after each use. If you don’t have a dishwasher, hand-wash after each use but be sure to pay extra attention to the area around the blade.

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Rubber Spatula

Check to see if your spatula can be disassembled. If so, remove the handle and wash both pieces in the dishwasher or by hand to remove any E.coli, yeast or mold that may be present. If the spatula cannot be disassembled, be sure to pay special attention to the area where the two pieces join when washing.

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Salt and Pepper Shakers

Because they’re handled so frequently, salt and pepper shakers harbor a tremendous amount of germs. The best way to ensure that your salt and pepper shakers are clean is to periodically wipe them down with disinfecting wipes.

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Knife Block

Periodically clean your knife block to prevent yeast and mold from thriving. Remove the knives, turn the knife block over to remove any loose debris, and then clean the knife block in hot soapy water using a small brush in each of the slots.

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Rubber-Seal Containers

Reusable containers with a rubber seal can harbor salmonella, yeast, and mold. If the rubber seal is removable, remove it before machine or hand washing. If it’s not, be sure to pay special attention to the area around the seal when hand washing.

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Coffee Reservoir

Mold, mildew and bacteria can all be hiding in the reservoir of your coffee maker. Clean your coffee maker according to the manufacturers’ instructions frequently; many also recommend using vinegar.

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Blender

The blender is another kitchen gadget that needs to be fully disassembled before washing. Be sure to remove the blade and seal from the jar and base before washing to prevent salmonella, E. coli, yeast and mold from thriving. Be sure to dry each piece thoroughly before reassembling.

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Sponges, Rags, and Towels

Your dish sponge, rag and towels all create an ideal environment for pathogens. Be sure to wash and change your rags and towels frequently and microwave your dish sponge for a few seconds after each use to help disinfect and dry it.

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Rubber Seal on Your Refrigerator Door

Much like the rubber seal on food storage containers, the seal around the door of your refrigerator or freezer can harbor harmful bacteria. Remember to clean it periodically with soapy water and then dry it thoroughly with a clean towel.

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"Intestinal parasite eggs are passed in feces and therefore if a dog had recently eaten feces that contained parasite eggs and in turn the human got that into their mouth, the person might end up having that parasite," de Jong says. "As with viruses, some of these only affect certain species but there are some that cross species lines and can cause issues."

Am I more likely to get an infection from another human? Most viruses any species has – whether that's dogs, cats or people – are species-specific. With that in mind, if you were kissing a person rather than getting licked by a dog, you'd be more likely to get sick from that person because of what's likely to be transmitted, de Jong says.

How do I protect myself from all these germs? In general, proper hygiene for you and your dog is your best bet. It's probably not too problematic for your dog to kiss your face, but you may want to wash your face after. You should also make sure your dog has good hygiene too, like making sure it receives adequate dental care – "consulting with a veterinarian to be sure that the teeth and gums are healthy and have dental cleanings performed on the dog as needed," de Jong says.

7 Ways Pets Can Make You Healthier

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Dirtiest things at the bar:
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10 Dirtiest Things Behind Every Bar
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10 Dirtiest Things Behind Every Bar

Though the cleanliness of each establishment varies from place to place, there are some components behind every bar that are harder to clean, and therefore, easier to neglect.

Lemon/Lime Wedges and Other Fruit

Most restaurant/bar establishments, unfortunately, do not wash the fruit. To make matters even worse, most bartenders use their bare hands to grab these garnishes; even the containers on the bar rarely get a cleaning.

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Rims of Glasses

Who stores glasses upside down? Many bars do to save space, and they stack them on an infrequently washed/sanitized surface. BYOG.

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Ice Machine

Sadly, this crucial component to enjoying a nice beverage is one of the dirtiest. A famed study by a middle schooler found that ice was dirtier than the toilet water at the same establishments 70% of the time. Though freezing temperatures kills bacteria, that statistic is still hard to swallow.

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Bar Sink

Usually filled with sudsy water that is used to quickly rinse utensils and barware, the sink rarely gets cleaned/disinfected throughout the shift.

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Register/Touch Screen

It’s common knowledge that cash, cards, pens and check holders are dirty; add to that the register and touch screen that bartenders use during ordering/transactions without washing their hands afterwards.

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Dry Mats

They may be used after cleaning utensils, but dry mats are anything but pristine, allowing for the reintroduction of germs to whatever it comes into contact with.

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Soda Machines

It’s been proven that soda machines, including the dispensers, bags of syrup and even the tubes carrying the liquids, are a hot bed for bacteria as they often go for long periods of time (we’re talking years) without being cleaned.

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Towels

Hanging out of bartenders’ pockets, or tossed on the counters waiting to pick up any drips and spills, it’s a guarantee that the quicker picker upper behind the bar hasn’t been used just once, which allows it to spread all sorts of unwanted stuff wherever they wipe.

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Alcohol Bottles

Those bottles of liquor many look gorgeous, all lined up and lit beautifully; however, they are actually sitting behind the bar collecting dust and grime.

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Tap Beer

Rarely cleaned or covered, the beer taps have been proven to contain more bacteria, and even mold in some cases, than the bottled brews.

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