A “superbug” warning has been issued, telling dog owners not to allow their pets to lick their face.

Pets who lick themselves, particularly their behinds, could then smear superbugs hidden in faeces across their owners faces when they show affection.

Researchers found 15 per cent of dogs’ faeces contained a drug resistant superbug.

The study, carried out in the UK and Portugal tested dogs from 100 households.

Oxford Mail:

Warning to dog owners over ‘superbug’ health risk

Lead author of the study, Dr Juliana Menezes, an expert in veterinary science, warned: "Even before Covid, antibiotic resistance was one of the biggest threats to public health.

"It can make conditions like pneumonia, sepsis, urinary tract and wound infections untreatable. Our findings reinforce the need for people to practice good hygiene around their pets and to reduce the use of unnecessary antibiotics in companion animals and people."

She added: "Risk factors include kissing, licking the owner's face or eating from the owner's plate. To reduce the spread of these bacteria within the household, it would be necessary to reduce this close relationship between the owners and their pets, and also to have greater hygiene practices.

"Bearing in mind that the bacteria we studied are found colonising the gastrointestinal tract, the transmission occurs via the faecal-oral route, so good hygiene practices on the part of owners would help to reduce sharing, such as washing hands after collecting dog waste, or even after petting them."