Dogs get excited about eating and don’t like to waste even a morsel of food in their bowls. They’re often so enthusiastic that they lick the bowl clean. However, a dog dish is far from clean even when there’s nothing in it. You have probably noticed a thick, slimy residue on your dog’s food and water bowls when you pick them up to wash or refill them. The technical name for this slime is biofilm.
Biofilm Comes from Bacteria
Your dog’s mouth and tongue contain bacteria that bind together and stick to the surface of a bowl after he has licked it. Bacteria contains both good and bad properties. Unfortunately, the bad types can make your dog sick. In a recent study conducted by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), the agency reported that pet bowls come in fourth on the list for places in the home that contain the most germs.
One reason for the germ build-up is that dog owners don’t clean food and water bowls after each use. This is especially common in households where dogs receive only dry kibble. They refill the food and water bowl each day and wash it on occasion. No one is trying to make their pet sick on purpose. It’s just that they’re unaware of the health risk caused by biofilm.
When dogs eat and drink out of unclean bowls, the bacteria present in their mouth continues to build and eventually contaminates their fresh food and water. Anyone who touches the unclean bowls is also at risk of acquiring harmful bacteria if they don’t wash their hands after doing so.
How to Clean and Disinfect a Dog Bowl
To prevent harmful bacteria, wash your dog’s food and water bowl each day in hot, soapy water. Be sure to designate one sponge or cloth for the job so you don’t accidentally transfer germs to the dishes you and your family use. At least once a week, place the dog bowls in the dishwasher to completely disinfect them.
If you don’t have a dishwasher, combine bleach and water at a 1:50 ratio and allow the dish to soak for 10 minutes. Don’t forget to rinse the dishes thoroughly when you take them out of the bleach water. Another alternative is to combine baking soda, salt, and warm water in equal amounts to create a thick paste. Scrub the bowls with the paste and then rinse them clean.
Taking just a few minutes a day to keep your dog’s dishes clean will help her to avoid bacteria-borne illnesses and keep her happy and healthy. Please contact us at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo for additional health tips about your dog or for product recommendations on dog bowls or cleaning products.