The Dangers of Dirty Dog Bowls
We’re pretty sure there were times when you’ve allowed a day or two to pass by without cleaning your dog’s food or water bowl. There’s no need to feel bad about it, though- there are no judgments here. In fact, before learning about the dangers of dirty dog bowls, many people are just as guilty as you are. Clicking on this article is a great first step and clearly shows your concern regarding your dog’s health and safety. If you want to know more, read on!
According to Hartpury University researchers Aisling Carroll and Coralie Wright, dog bowls are the third most contaminated items in households and can easily serve as breeding grounds for many disease-causing pathogens such as worms, parasites, viruses, and bacteria, if not regularly cleaned. Not only do these nasty microbes have the capacity to infect your family dog, but they can also spread diseases to human members of the household.
Disease-Causing Pathogens Found in Dirty Dog Bowls
Roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms are parasitic worms found in contaminated dog feces that, when ingested, attack the intestinal tract. They can easily stick to your dog’s paws during neighborhood walks or dog park visits if your dog happens to walk over contaminated ground or soil. All your dog has to do is dip one contaminated paw into their food or water bowl, and these parasitic worms will have a one-way ticket into your dog’s intestinal tract.
Giardia intestinalis is one of the most common intestinal parasites. Similar to parasitic worms, they’re transmitted when an animal ingests contaminated feces. These parasites love water and flourish in moist environments, so always keep your dog’s water bowls clean and filled with fresh water to prevent them from contracting Giardia.
Leptospira interrogans is another water-loving species of bacteria that spread through the urine of infected animals. The most common carrier of this bacteria are rats, and we all know it’s not uncommon for them to be out and about during nighttime scouring for food and whatnot. These little critters can easily contaminate your dog’s food or water bowl while you sleep.
E. Coli and Salmonella
E. Coli or Escherichia Coli and Salmonella are bacteria that can easily transfer from dog to human and vice-versa. Once they’ve entered the body of a host, they’re typically known to cause vomiting and diarrhea. However, if an infected dog isn’t given treatment on time, the infection can enter the bloodstream (sepsis) and result in septic shock, which is fatal in both dogs and cats even with treatment.
Either of these bacteria can infect dogs of any age, but younger and older dogs, as well as those with weakened immune systems, are more at risk.
How Often Should I Wash My Dog’s Bowl?
If you’re not washing your dog’s food and water bowls daily, then you should start now. You should never let leftover food or dirty water sit in your dog’s bowl for more than a day. Trust us- leaving dirty bowls out is only asking for trouble—or infectious microbes, in this case.
Food bowls should always be cleaned and washed thoroughly after every meal, especially if you feed your dog wet food. Water bowls, on the other hand, should be washed daily and refilled with clean water throughout the day.
How Should I Wash My Dog’s Bowl?
If you’re serious about preventing disease-causing pathogens from accumulating on your dog’s food and water bowls, then weekly bleach soaks are the way to go! On top of washing the bowls with dishwashing soap and warm water daily, disinfect them with bleach once a week.
We suggest that you follow these steps:
1. Wash the bowls thoroughly using regular dishwashing soap and hot water. Scrub the bowls using a sponge to remove all traces of leftover food and dirt.
2. Rinse the bowls with warm water.
3. Mix ½ cup of bleach to a gallon of water.
4. Soak the bowls in the bleach mixture for about 10 minutes to remove all possible pathogenic microbes.
5. Let the bowls air dry.
The Best Kind of Dog Bowl
Stainless steel dog bowls are the best and most practical bowl of choice. They’re sturdy, long-lasting, incapable of leaching toxic chemicals into food, easy to clean, and less likely to harbor microbes due to their non-porous structure. However, stainless steel dog bowls can be a bit loud, especially when a dog decides to drag it across the floor. So, if you’re not a fan of that, make sure to get one with a rubber base.
Ceramic dog bowls come in second, but since they tend to form micro-cracks where bacteria and other microbes can accumulate, you will need to replace them more often. Although, if you’re big on ceramic bowl aesthetics and don’t mind getting a new one when cracks start to appear, ceramic dog bowls can work for you.