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The Dirty Truth About Your Dog's Bowls

When was the last time you cleaned your dog's bowl? This morning? Last week? Eek, last month!? Are you a busy dog owner who just can’t seem to keep your pup's bowls clean? You are not alone... How often we wash our dogs bowl can greatly impact the quality of their health. So let's take a closer look, at the dirt and debris that accumulates inside their dishes. That dirty dog bowl could be more than just unsightly – it could also be compromising your family's health!

Identifying the Problem - Dirty Dog Bowls and Bacteria

As dog lovers, we all want our pups to stay healthy and happy, which is why it's important to keep their belongings clean as well. One item that often gets overlooked is the dog bowl. Did you know that bacteria like E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, and MRSA can all thrive in a dirty dog bowl? Yuck!! This can lead to a range of health issues for both pets and humans, including diarrhea, vomiting, and even severe infections. A 2006 study examining microbial contamination, measured by total aerobic plate counts, of daily use objects in households found that pet food dishes had the ninth highest level of contamination, out of 32 household surfaces studied. By making the choice to keep our dog bowls clean, we can help ensure the well-being of our four-legged family members for years to come.

Risks of Dirty Bowls to Pet Health

It doesn't take much time for biofilm to build up in a bowl that is not properly cleaned. So, what exactly is this biofilm thing? It's a fancy name for a complex community of microbes that stick together on surfaces. They do this by creating a protective slimy barrier made up of all kinds of substances like carbs, proteins, acids, and fats. This shield makes them super resistant to cleaning agents and provide the perfect enviroment for harmful bacteria to explode.

Biofilm is no joke, so watch out for that slimy stuff on your pet's bowls! It's packed with not-so-friendly guests like algae, bacteria, and fungi that come from all the things your dog licks outside. But it gets worse. This biofilm might also contain traces of poop, food particles, and other yucky contaminants.

Now, why should you be concerned about all this? Well, here's the deal, regularly drinking from such bowls can cause a variety of health problems, such as

  • Periodontal diseases. Believe it or not, by the time your furry friend is just two years old, 70% of cats and 80% of dogs already have some form of these diseases.

  • inflammation

  • heart problems

  • Urinary tract infections

These conditions can not only cause discomfort for your pet, but also weaken their overall health. Ensuring your pet's bowls are clean and sanitary is an important step in keeping them healthy and happy. The good news is that by simply cleaning your dogs bowl everyday you can stop the biofilm from forming in the first place.

Tips for keeping your pet's bowl squeaky clean throughout the week

The good news is that daily washing of dog bowls, eliminates the growth of these unwelcome microbes. Even if you are extremely busy, it can can also be easy to incorporate into your routine.

  • Wash them in the dishwasher - Many modern pet bowls are dishwasher safe, making it a convenient cleaning option for busy pet owners.

  • Have multiple same sized bowls and wash after each use - This is the option that works for us at Hunter Mill Retrievers. We have multiple bowls. At this point I probably have 20 dog bowls of the same size. It's no different than having plates for us. We don't just have one plate per person, why would I have just one dog bowl for my dogs food? Each time the dogs are fed, their bowls go straight into the dishwasher, just like our tableware. It's a simple as that. Water bowls are also run through the dishwasher daily. By having multiple bowls, when I put a bowl in the dishwasher there are still several clean bowls still in the cupboard.

  • Clean by hand If you have time, wiping down your pet's bowl with warm water and soap after each use is a simple but effective way to ensure it stays squeaky clean throughout the week.

Natural Solutions to Help Keep Pet Bowls Clean

Although there are many cleaning agents on the market, natural solutions can do the job just as well. Baking soda and vinegar are two powerful ingredients that can work wonders in keeping your pet's bowls clean.

  • Baking soda is a natural deodorizer that helps eliminate any unwanted smells and also has mild abrasive properties perfect for removing stubborn stains.

  • Vinegar is a natural disinfectant that effectively kills germs and bacteria. When combined, baking soda and vinegar create a potent cleaning solution that is tough on stains and odor-causing bacteria. So go ahead and try these natural solutions to keep your pet's bowls spotlessly clean and germ-free.

The Benefits of Using a Stainless Steel Dog Bowl

Choosing a stainless steel dog bowl is a smart decision. Not only are they easy to clean, but they are also non-porous, which means they won't absorb any bacteria or odors. Plus, they come in various sizes to accommodate any dog's needs. Stainless steel is also known for its durability, so you won't have to replace it as often as other materials. In the study “Survey evaluation of dog owners’ feeding practices and dog bowls’ it was found that stainless steel bowls harbored fewer dangerous bacteria than ceramic or plastic. And the bonus? They are relatively inexpensive compared to other trendy dog bowls. Best of all, your pup will thank you for the added benefit of less bacteria in their bowls, which means a healthier and happier pup in the long run.

Although it may be easy to overlook the importance of a clean bowl for your pet we hope that it will now become as second nature as cleaning your own plate after meal time! Combined with healthy wholesome food, a clean bowl and regular exercise is a great way to ensure your dogs health and longevity for years to come! Long live dogs!!

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