Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg caught flack after a viral video from a campaign stop in Burlington, Vt. showed him shaking a dog's mouth instead of his paw.
In the awkward encounter, Bloomberg first shook a man's hand before shaking the open mouth of a dog and then scratching the top of his head.
Although the dog appeared unharmed, some social media users were wounded over the exchange.
Another photo surfaced from 2013 when Bloomberg attended the Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Line Christening and Inaugural at the Pier at the Hudson in New York, where he appeared to be shaking a dog's snout there, as well.
"Mike plays with his dogs, he plays with his kids' dogs, and this video shows him playing with a voter's dog as he became the first candidate to campaign in every Super Tuesday state," Stu Loeser, a spokesman for Bloomberg, told Fox News on Tuesday. "Incidentally, this is how the experts suggest you play with your dogs to train them."
It remains to be seen if Bloomberg will bring a dog or any other pet into the White House if elected.
President Trump is the first president in more than a century to not have a pet while in office.
Loeser told Fox News that Bloomberg "has never met a dog he doesn't like and vice versa. As far as plans for the White House, we don't want to bite off more than we can chew right now."
The former New York City mayor has made it a priority to tackle states such as Vermont with a large number of delegates in play beginning on March 3, or Super Tuesday, while forgoing campaign stops in the first four primary states.