Study Finds Men’s Beards Have More Germs Than Dogs’ Fur

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Hygiene is an important factor in our everyday lives. Not only for us pet parents, but for our pooches, as well.

Though we humans tend to practice proper hygiene almost every day through bathing and other means, we usually limit our dogs’ grooming needs to bathing once every couple of weeks to every few months.

Does that mean we are generally cleaner than our beloved pups?

It depends. If you’re a bearded man between the ages of 18 to 76, then your dog might be cleaner, or at least, your beard might have more germs than your dog’s fur coat.

Study Says Beards Are Dirtier Than Dogs

The unexpected study, published in the February 2019 issue of European Radiology, suggested that men with beards have more significant amounts of bacteria hiding in their hair than in dogs do in their fur coats.

Researchers at the Hirslanden Clinic in Switzerland discovered this conclusion while testing MRI machines. Their main goal was to study human-pathogenic bacteria in both humans and dog to see if it was safe for humans to use the same MRI machines that were previously used for dogs.

The researchers took analyzed samples of beard hair right below the mouth and saliva from 18 bearded men between the ages of 18 to 76. Then they took bacterial samples from the neck region and the area between the shoulders from 30 dogs of breeds ranging from Schnauzers to German Shepherds, as well as their saliva, at different European hospitals.

Surprisingly, it was humans, specifically male humans with beards, who came out with significantly more potentially-infectious microbes in their hair than dogs and their fur. In fact, seven of the 18 bearded men had so much bacteria, they were at risk of getting sick. But what was more shocking was that men left the MRI scanners more contaminated than the pups.

Study author Andreas Gutzeit told the BBC, “The researchers found a significantly higher bacteria load in specimens taken from the men’s beards compared with dogs’ fur. On the basis of these findings, dogs can be considered as clean, compared with bearded men.”

The Response To The Study

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Keith Flett, the founder of the Beard Liberation Front, had this to say in regards to the recent study regarding beards and dogs to the Times: “I think it’s possible to find all sorts of unpleasant things if you took swabs from people’s hair and hands and then tested them.”

Beard hair is also coarser and curlier, which makes it easier for dirt and grime to become trapped within. Hair around the nostrils and mouth where loads of bacteria resides also factor in.

Researchers acknowledged there are some limitations to the study, as it was still only a small sample size. They also state that they could do the same research using hair samples from women’s heads, which would likely lead to similar results.

The authors of the study state, “The central question should perhaps not be whether we should allow dogs to undergo imaging in our hospitals, but rather we should focus on the knowledge and perception of hygiene and understand what poses real danger and risk to our patients.”

What do you think of this study on men’s beards having more germs than dog’s fur? Do you think beards are dirtier than dog fur? Let us know in the comments below!