You know when your dog kisses you all over and you sometimes get a little tongue in your mouth and you wonder how you should feel about it, if you should be a little disgusted or a lot disgusted or not disgusted at all?
Well, we don’t have the answer. But a recent study out of the University of Colorado does say that dogs and their people have the same bacteria crawling all over them, that we share “similar bacterial house guests,” according to NPR.
Specifically, dog owners have “bacteria from Fido’s tongue and paws flourishing all over their bodies.”
That should set your mind at ease. Or not. It might creep you out.
Tellingly, the study found the same does not happen with cats, perhaps because cat owners don’t get a lot of tongue off their cats. I doubt they get any tongue.
If you’re squeamish about microscopic critters crawling on you, don’t be. We’re coated with them, claims the article. “They cover our skin, grow in our mouths and completely dominate parts of the gut. Your body has about 10 times more bacterial cells than human cells and up to a thousand different species.”
The study investigated the bacteria that came from households with dogs, with scientists taking samples from each dog and human’s forehead, palms or paws, tongues, and poo.
After sequencing the DNA of the samples, they found that two kinds of dog bacteria were “flourishing” on their owners’ skin: Betaproteobacteria, which hangs out on dogs’ tongues, and actinobacteria, which is found in the crevices of dogs’ paws.
The study claims the result is “consistent with a common occurrence of oral–skin transfer between dogs and their owners,” which sounds a bit gross.