When Gnarly Joe® was voted the ‘Best Beard Shampoo’ by The Sun (an accolade I don’t like to talk about but can’t argue with), they quoted an interesting piece of scientific research and, even though it’s a delicate matter, it’s something I really have to talk to you about.
The Sun said 'a recent study found that dogs are in fact a lot less germ-contaminated than men’s beards’ and that ‘keeping your beard clean and conditioned isn’t just about aesthetics – it’s essential for hygiene too'. I thought this needed some further hard-hitting, deep-undercover journalism (which basically means I pretended to be Robert Redford in 'All The President's Men', and started meeting up with twitchy men in underground car parks).
The objective of the study, conducted by PubMed (US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health), was to determine whether it would be hygienic to evaluate dogs and humans in the same MRI scanner. It isn’t clear who commissioned the report or why, but I’m assuming they’ve got an overcrowding problem in veterinary surgeries across the pond.
If they’d have asked me, I’d have told them to err on the side of safety and just put the human in the scanner first. But I’ve found that American scientists rarely solicit advice from me these days, which is their loss, but I’m digressing…
There are lots of numbers in the report, which I don’t profess to understand (I’m more of a colouring-in guy), but the results were that in the study between 18 men and 30 dogs, there was a significantly higher bacterial load in specimens taken from men’s beards, compared to dog’s fur. And you don’t even want to know what they found in human oral cavities, just accept my word for it that dogs came out on top there too (before you ask, no other cavities were tested).
What can we conclude from these findings? First, if you ever go to hospital and see a dog being wheeled out of an operating theatre, there’s no need to worry: The dog is cleaner than you.
Second, isn’t it about time you bought some Gnarly Joe® Beard Shampoo, Beard Conditioner and Beard Balm? I didn’t want to be the one to have to tell you, but you really ought to think about it. Seriously.