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by Abigail Van Buren

Dog's Dishwashing Duty Is Frowned Upon by Vet

DEAR ABBY: This concerns "Name Withheld," who wrote: "I invited my sister-in-law over for dinner. She came and brought her dog. After dinner, she took a plate of leftovers, set it on the floor, and let her dog lick the plate clean. I was appalled!"

You, too, were obviously "appalled" because you suggested that "Name Withheld" should buy her sister-in-law a couple of doggie dishes.

Abby, a dog's saliva is antiseptic -- that's why dogs instinctively lick their wounds. I would much rather have my dog lick my spoon than take a taste off a spoon that has been in a human mouth.

Aren't dogs wonderful? -- JAN IN ORANGE, CALIF.

DEAR JAN: Dogs are indeed wonderful, but Dr. Erwin David, my veterinary expert, says: "Dog saliva is by no means antiseptic. Several species of bacteria have been found in the saliva of clinically healthy dogs; so for hygienic reasons, I would advise Jan to keep her dog dishes and people dishes separate."