Science Project: Fun with bacteria cultures (Woman vs. Dog)

I kiss my dogs. Not like, make out with them, but sometimes things get a little sloppy. For instance, when I'm trying to lay a big one on Harold's little noggin, he's apt to turn his head and lick me right in the kisser. Eee, right? He also has been known to sneak drinks from my open Nalgene bottle, or wake me up by sticking his tiny doggie tongue inside my ear canal. Usually, I don't pay this much thought, but sometimes I wonder when all of his butt licking is finally going to come back to me and I'll be forced to surrender to a terrible illness.

Harold and I provide mouth cultures for our science project.

We thought it would be fun to break out the petri dishes and see exactly what was going on inside that little mouth of Harold's. We carefully swabbed the inside of his mouth and my own, and planted the samples inside two separate cell culture dishes. Then we left our little microbe gardens to incubate in a dark place for 2 days.

The results: Harold's jeebies (bottom)>Johanna's jeebies (top).

We didn't bother sending these off to a lab for proper disclosure, so our findings are very basic: Compared to my own, Harold's mouth is chocked full of heebie jeebies. Just look at that fuzzy, curdled mess! Blech. These are not the kind of warm and fuzzies that are brought to mind when I think of our darling IG.

Further research on the subject revealed that while dogs and people can't trade colds or coughs, dog licks can easily transmit bugs like salmonella and stomach flu. The good news is, the health benefits of cohabiting with a canine far outweighs the hazards of puppy love. Pets are known to reduce stress, boost our moods, ward off loneliness and encourage exercise. According the Center for Human-Animal Bond at Perdue University, just petting a dog will reduce a person's blood pressure and heart rate.

The moral of the story (or just a reminder of what we all probably already knew): Dodge face licks and wash our hands after prolonged petting.


  1. It's awful but if I have the rat out and she is thirsty she will pry my mouth open with her paws and stick her head in there. She likes to go for the spot under the tongue and will lap away at saliva if she is not forcibly removed. She will also "groom" teeth. It sounds disgusting but in a weird way it's very soothing. She doesn't nibble at her own (or anyone else's) rear, though.

  2. Ha! How does she groom a tooth? Harold has taken drinks from the mouths of really large dogs.

  3. Alex refuses to kiss me if I let Topper drink water from the same glass as me. I've done that my whole life with cats, so I think I've built some sort of a gross immunity to cat faces, but Alex pukes and gets the shits from everything. I want to secretly do this experiment with Topper Harley, using proper aseptic technique and identify the bacterial colonies. I might when I get my hands on this year's biology supplies at the school where I teach one class :)

  4. That is equal parts gross and awesome! I would be scared to know what lurks inside my cat's mouth. : / She's not a big kisser, though; she mostly likes to lick feet! eee! haha

  5. Good to know! Now I can tell my friends that I actually have a reason to wash frantically after their dog tries to give kisses. I can't imagine my cats saliva is much cleaner...

  6. What a precious post! Harold's picture is so funny. I have a cat. I wonder how his bacteria would turn out. Entertaining!


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