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How clean are your dog's kisses?

Sunday - 5/18/2014, 2:29am  ET

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WASHINGTON - They're our companions and our best friends. But those smooches from the family dog are not as clean as you may think.

Microbiologist Dr. Julie Torruellas-Garcia from Nova Southeastern University in South Florida collected saliva samples from dogs and sent them to a lab for testing.

"There was quite a bit of bacteria that grew from the dogs' mouths," Dr. Torruellas-Garcia told CBS4 in Miami. "One plate had so many bacteria mixed together that it was difficult to test."

Some dogs even had nisseria in their saliva - a bacteria that has connections to STDs and pneumonia.

"Think about where a dog tends to lick, and consider he or she might have just licked before they licked you," said Dr. Torruellas-Garcia.

But veterinarian Ken Simmons said he didn't think the bad bacteria stays in a dogs mouth for too long. "Having a normal lick on the face is no more dangerous than a kiss from your spouse," he said.

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Tags: dogs