With the coronavirus outbreak, it is important to keep ourselves healthy and strong. The Department of Health and World Health Organization advise everyone to avoid contact with other people to prevent exposure to the virus.

For pet parents, most asked whether this means they should also not allow their animal companions to lick their faces.

“Folks who love getting kisses from their dogs and cats should probably find other ways of accepting affection,” said Joan Morris for Bay Area News Group.

A dog’s and cat’s mouths are no cleaner than that of human’s. As pet owners, we know what kind of things our animal companions put in their mouths, making it hotbeds of bacteria and parasites. Some zoonotic diseases can be transferred to humans. If the bacteria get on membranes like the linings in the mouth, Morris explained it can get more easily absorbed.

If that happens, you are most likely at risk of contracting salmonella, E. coli and campylobacter.

“[The bacteria] live in the dog’s intestines and get transferred to the mouth when the dog cleans itself,” Morris said. “This doesn’t mean you need to freak out every time your dog licks you. You just need to avoid mouth-to-mouth contact, and put that stockpile of anti-bacterial gel to good use.”

Cat saliva picks up the same bacteria. It is also not advisable to let your cats heal your wound, which some said heals it faster. It would be better to use a counter cream and skip your cat’s tongue!

There’s no problem if we touch our pets, what’s important is to wash up afterward.

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