What Science Says About Dog Bowl Hygiene – Why Is It Important?

Dog bowl hygiene is super important for keeping your furry friend happy and healthy. Read ahead to find out what the FDA says about dog bowl hygiene, what the recommended practices are, and which dog bowls are the best!

Table of Contents

Why Is Dog Bowl Hygiene Important?
What Does Science Say About Dog Bowl Hygiene?
Tips For Keeping Your Dog Bowl Clean
Can I Clean My Dog Bowl In The Dishwasher?
What Are Good Dog Bowls Made Out Of?
What Are The Best (And Worst) Cleaning Products For Dog Bowls

Proper dog bowl hygiene will keep your puppy safe even when it sleeps in it!
This little angel is ready for a nap in her clean dog bowl!

Why Is Dog Bowl Hygiene Important? 

The importance of dog bowl hygiene should not be underestimated. Not only can cleanliness help to keep your pup healthy, it also reduces the risk of spreading infectious diseases and parasites that could put your pet’s health at risk. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established guidelines for proper dog bowl hygiene which recommends washing bowls with hot water and detergent after each use, as well as replacing them every 6 months or when they show signs of wear and tear.

The FDA has articles on proper pet food storage and safe handling practices of pet food on their website. If you would like to learn more about whether homemade pet food is right for you, please see our article here.

Dog bowl hygiene is important for your dog's health!

What Does Science Say About Dog Bowl Hygiene? 

Scientific research has been conducted on canine bowl hygiene, and the results are overwhelming in their recommendation for regularly washing the bowls. Studies have indicated that bacteria, fungi, and even parasites can be found in unclean dog dishes; therefore regular cleaning should be done to ensure a safe environment for your pet. Unwashed bowls, as well as those made from porous materials like plastic or ceramic may also harbor more microbes than stainless-steel or glass bowls.

In a study conducted by Getty et al., (2022), 417 dog owners submitted surveys about their dog bowl cleaning habits, and 68 bowls were swabbed to test their cleanliness. The study found that many dog owners don’t follow safe food handling guidelines, which can lead to contamination of the pet’s food. They showed that using hot water to wash dishes decreased the amount of bacteria present, while following hygiene protocols had a significant impact on reducing bacterial contamination.

Tips For Keeping Your Dog Bowl Clean 

To keep your pup’s food bowl clean and germ-free, take the following steps: 

  • Wash the bowl with hot water and soap after each meal. 
  • Use a brush to scrub away any food residue and bacteria that have been left behind. 
  • Dry thoroughly before refilling with fresh food or water. 
  • Replace any plastic bowls every 6 months or when they start showing signs of wear and tear. 
  • Avoid using heavily scratched or cracked dishes as these can be breeding grounds for bacteria. 
  • Clean up any spilled food around the dish immediately so it doesn’t attract insects or rodents when you’re not paying attention. 
  • Finally, consider investing in stainless steel dishes since they resist bacterial growth better than other materials do.

Can I Clean My Dog Bowl In The Dishwasher?

It is possible to clean dog bowls in a dishwasher, however it is not recommended for all types of bowls. Dog bowls made out of plastic or stainless steel can handle the heat and chemicals of a dishwasher cycle without any issues, however other materials such as ceramic or melamine should not be cleaned in the dishwasher. These materials may weaken or crack due to the heat, which could lead to your pup ingesting small pieces of their bowl during feeding. We will discuss various dog bowl materials later on.

Ceramic dog bowls might seem like a safe option, since they are commonly used for human dishes and cookware, but the glazes used for pottery can contain lead which can leach into food when heated. Even if the glaze does not contain lead, it is still better to stick with hand-washing your pet’s bowl rather than running it through the dishwasher. This will ensure that you do not put your pet at risk from any contaminants that may be on your dishes.

In addition to being wary of materials used for pet dishes, there are some other factors to consider when determining whether a bowl is suitable for cleaning in a dishwasher. If your bowl has textured areas (such as engravings or decorations), these can become breeding grounds for bacteria if not properly cleaned. The heat produced by the dishwasher may not be hot enough to sanitize these areas, so it would be best to use warm soapy water instead. And speaking of cleaning products, you should also avoid using detergents containing chlorine or bleach as these chemicals can be toxic when ingested by pets or humans alike.

All things considered, it’s best to err on the side of caution and opt for hand-washing when cleaning pet dishes—unless you’ve determined that all material components are suitable for washing in a dishwasher and have confirmed that there are no decorations or textures which could become contaminated with bacteria over time.

What Are Good Dog Bowls Made Out Of?

Dog bowls can be made out of a variety of materials, including plastic, ceramic, stainless steel, and silicone. 

Plastic is the most common material used to make dog bowls as it is cheap and light in weight. However, plastic can be prone to scratching, so it may need to be replaced more often than other materials. Additionally, some dogs may not like eating or drinking from plastic because of the taste and smell.

Ceramic dog bowls are another popular option for pets. While they’re more expensive than plastic ones, they’re also much heavier and a bit more difficult to move around. Ceramic bowls also tend to be quite durable compared to plastic and can last for many years with proper care. The downside is that heavy ceramic bowls may break if dropped on hard surfaces or if stepped upon by your pet.

Stainless steel is one of the most preferred materials for making dog bowls as it is relatively lightweight yet very durable. This type of bowl won’t scratch easily and is usually dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning. However, stainless steel can be slippery when wet which could cause your pup to have difficulty maneuvering their food or water around the bowl while eating or drinking from it.

Silicone dog bowls have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their lightweight construction, non-scratch surface, and varied shapes that allow for convenient storage when not in use. Silicone bowls are also great at preventing spills since they tend to stick firmly in place on flat surfaces even when your pup eagerly pushes them around while eating or drinking from them. The biggest disadvantage of silicone dog bowls is their tendency to absorb odors which can end up leaving an unpleasant taste or smell if not washed regularly enough between meals.

What Are The Best (And Worst) Cleaning Products For Dog Bowls

When it comes to cleaning your dog’s bowls, it is important to select the right cleaning products that will safely get the job done. You want to make sure you are using a product that won’t harm your pup while maintaining proper dog bowl hygiene. To help make sure you choose the best and safest products for cleaning your pet’s dishes, here are a few tips and reviews from pet experts:

The best type of cleaner for dog bowl cleaning is a natural, non-toxic product like vinegar and water. Many pet owners swear by this combination as it provides thorough yet gentle disinfection – without resorting to harsh chemicals or fumes. Additionally, a few drops of dish soap can be added to the water and vinegar mixture for even more effective results. This solution can easily be made at home and used on all types of bowls without any danger to you or your pet.

Another natural solution is baking soda mixed with hot water. Baking soda will not only clean dishes but also help remove odors left behind in food particles stuck inside the bowl as well as any stubborn stains or spots. Just add one teaspoon of baking soda into four cups of hot water, mix well, and you have yourself an inexpensive yet effective cleaning solution! Make sure to rinse off with warm water afterwards so your pup doesn’t get soap residue left on their dishes when they eat or drink out of them next time! 

On the other hand, avoid using ammonia-based cleaners such as Windex or bleach as these can cause skin irritations in pets who come into contact with them through their eating and drinking gear. Furthermore, never use abrasive sponges or scrub brushes on your dog’s bowls; these tools could scratch up the surface which could lead to bacteria growth over time. Stick to soft cloths or paper towels instead which should do the trick while still being gentle enough on your furry friend’s belongings! 

Finally, know that boiling is another great way to clean dog bowls after giving them an initial wash with one of the solutions above. Simply place the bowl(s) in boiling hot water for about 10 minutes; this will kill off any bacteria present in there and leave behind sparkly clean dishes for your pup! Just make sure not to leave them in too long; both stainless steel and ceramic materials may become warped if exposed to high heat for extended periods of time! 

Taking care of your dog bowl hygiene should absolutely be on top of every pet owner’s to-do list. Not taking care of it is detrimental to their health and can lead to various health issues that could become life-threatening if left untreated. On the bright side, taking care of it is not too strenuous and doesn’t take much time either! All it takes is a bit of effort each day for washing the bowl with some soap and water, rinsing and air drying before refilling it with fresh food or water. Keeping in this small practice will help your pup stay healthy for years!

Interested in learning more about doggy diets? Check out our articles about whether all purpose flour is safe for dogs and whether dogs can have peanut butter cookies. Thank you for reading!

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