Before I was married and had kids, I was a dog momma. My first child was a six pound, six-week old boxer. She was so cute and so naughty. I took her every place that I was allowed (and even some places dogs weren’t allowed). It was safe to say that I loved that dog more than anything else in the world.

I remember taking her to one of the local pet stores and wandering around with her buying her toys, food and clothes. The people who worked in the pet store would always come up and pet her and tell me how cute they thought she was. I recall one time an employee was petting my dog and my dog started to lick her face. The lady didn’t pull away, but leaned in closer and was laughing and smiling, all the while my dog’s tongue was going crazy on her face and in her mouth. I was glad to see someone love animals so much, but a bit grossed out too by how much this particular employee loved animals.

I didn’t, and still don’t, let my dogs lick my face. I’ll let them lick my legs or feet and if my hand gets licked, I will wash it. I just don’t think that it’s a great idea to let a dog (even my dog, who I love) lick my face. I mean, seriously, have you seen what other things dogs lick? I have, and I’ve also seen what dogs eat too. My dogs have drug home various deer parts, run over skunk, and chowed down on various other animals’ poo. So, the last thing I want is an open mouth tongue kiss with my dog.

Is it any wonder that letting your dog lick your face can make you sick? Apparently, this can also make your dog sick too. According to a study done by Japanese researchers, dog owners have high rates of a type of dangerous mouth bacteria. This is apparently like a STD for the mouth that can be transmitted between dogs and people. This mouth bacteria makes people and dogs more susceptible to teeth and mouth diseases. So, the next time you’re spending some quality time with your dog, be sure to keep it platonic, it’s safer for everyone that way.

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of The University of Montana, animal lover and writer.