How often do you wash your dishes? After every meal, right? It’s a habit we’ve been accustomed to because it’s good for our hygiene and our health. But for some reason, the same emphasis hasn’t been put on our pets’ plates!
Feeding your dog with the same bowl every day without washing it, means that it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria! And when bacteria become lodged into your pup’s gums and teeth when they eat their food, that can cause an array of other health problems.
But how often should you wash it? And should you wash it along with your other dishes? Read on to find out how to look after your dog bowl, and what you can do for your dog’s wellbeing.
One thing we shouldn’t be lazy on is hygiene, especially when it can have a direct impact on your pup’s health! The fact of the matter is, if you allow bacteria to keep growing in the food bowl they eat from, then that bacteria is going to get into their mouth, and their system. Once it’s in the mouth, it has access to all the organs inside your dog’s body. And just like our bodies, your dog’s insides might be vulnerable to infections and diseases that are out of our control.
But, the kind of bacteria that grow in their bowl depends on a few factors. The first is the type of food you feed them. Dry kibble will hold a lot fewer bacteria than moist foods like raw meat.
The second is how well you look after their teeth. Oral hygiene plays a big part in protecting them from bacterial diseases, too, because germs will travel back and forth from the bowl to the mouth during the meal.
The third is the environment and exposure to the big wide world. If an unwashed bowl, or the food itself, stays in a hot climate or in the direct sun, there’s more chance that germs will spread. There are a variety of different germs that can appear, the most well-known being Salmonella and Pseudomonas.
So now we know why we need to clean it, let’s look at how and how often. If your pup tends to eat dry kibble food, cleaning it once a day should suffice. But if you feed them raw meats and other moist foods, we recommend that you wash the bowl after every meal.
And what about the water bowl? It’s often neglected as being an item that doesn't need much cleaning, after all, it's only clean water in there, right? Well, in fact, there is a myriad of bacteria in there that is transferred every time your pup drinks. So the longer you leave it, the worse it gets! Even if you tend to pour out the leftover water and replace it with fresh water, it’s still a good idea to wash the bowl thoroughly each day – or as often as you can.
Another thing to consider is the material of the bowl. Plastic or wooden bowls are prone to getting scratches and cracks in them. Naughty bacteria will find space in those crevices, so if you notice any cracks or scratches, you should replace the bowl as soon as possible. Cleaning it won’t quite get all those areas of danger, so it’s not worth putting your pup at risk!
A simple way to get around the trouble of cleaning your pooch’s bowl every single day is by having spare food and water bowls. If you have extra ones, you can wait a day or two to clean the already dirty ones. We know how busy life can be, especially as a pet parent! So, give yourself more flexibility by simply buying a few extras.
Where exactly do you put your dog’s bowls? And how thoroughly do they lick the bowl “clean”? Well, if your dog is one that likes to put their tongue all over the bowl and the surrounding areas, they could be licking up something that’s not meant to be eaten. That’s why we suggest placing the bowls in a particular area with a mat or tray, that can be cleaned, along with their bowls. This will stop them from licking from the floor directly, which may have been cleaned with some cleaning chemicals that could be harmful to your furry friend!
One more way to reduce the risk of bacteria damaging your dog’s insides is by looking after their teeth and gums! Oral hygiene is important anyway – it can prevent their teeth falling out, freshen their breath, and kill the germs that could cause serious health issues such as kidney disease or worms.
Why not source a dental mouthwash for Fido, from a reputable pet brand that helps to prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar, killing the germs and bacteria that threaten their health? Most are flavorless and just require you to put a certain amount in your pooch's water bowl each day!
The best way to ensure their bowl is as clean as possible is by running it through the dishwasher. You can put it in with your own plates, just remember to leave some room. If you use a plastic bowl, it should be safe to put in, but just put it on the top shelf. The sanitising powers of a dishwasher are far stronger than that of your hands and the kitchen sink.
If you don’t have a dishwasher, don’t fret. Make sure you use a good anti-bacterial washing soap to clean with and use very hot water. As for the sponge, it’s a good idea to use a separate one from the one you use for your own plates and bowls. Cross-contamination of foods and germs could be harmful to your dog or to yourself and human family members. Just make sure you replace the sponge every week or so because bacteria like to sit and fester in wet sponges…
Your dog deserves to be saved from life threatening diseases, which unfortunately can creep up on them in the strangest of places. What goes in through their mouth has to go somewhere, and if those active bacteria decide to settle in their stomachs, there is cause for concern. This is why washing your dog’s bowl regularly and looking after their teeth is so important! Without proper care, your dog’s life could be endangered.