Just how dirty is your dog's mouth?

Just how dirty is your dog's mouth?

A recent article in the New York Times made a lot of dog lovers upset when it said your dogs slobbery kisses could make you sick. Channel 3's Christina Leavenworth decided to see what's really in your pup's mouth.

You can ask any dog lover. A friendly lick is usually a symbol of love.

We asked people at Bayview Dog Park and they said, "They're showing affection toward us, they love us." or, "I usually think it's a sign of love, I care about you. It's something they do to their moms."

But are their kisses harmful? The lab at Sacred Heart Hospital tests thousands of cultures each week so we added one more to the list: Dog slobber.

Lab manager Donna Mayne brought in saliva from her dog, Mia.

"I took a swab and swabbed inside of her mouth, performed a bacteria culture to see what grew," Mayne said.

Well maybe they won't let her kiss too much anymore. After just 24 hours, a ton of bacteria grew from her sample.

"Here is the culture I took from Mia's mouth, and there is tons of bacteria present there. We found actinobacillus pleuropneumoniea, neisseria zoodematis, and pasturella multpcida, another bacteria that causes wound infection and meningitis in humans," Mayne said.

So we know the potential, but will it actually make you sick? Sacred Heart's infectious disease doctor, Dr. Issa Ephtimios said most people don't have to worry about it. But he has seen it cause disease in very rare situation.

"Anything from mild infection of the skin, to severe infection of blood and the brain," Ephtimios said.

He said it's so rare he sees maybe one case every few years. He suggests that people with a compromised immune system try to keep your animals away from open wounds, your mouth and your eyes.