Water Bowls: Bacterial Breeding Grounds

by Jun 4, 2019Cats, Dog Health, Dogs, Feeding0 comments

As much as we love them, dogs require quite a bit of work. Training, grooming, walking, picking up the yard… The to-do list seems endless in owners’ already busy lives. But stop for a moment and ask yourself… When is the last time you washed Fido’s water bowls?


According to a study performed by Hartpury University, we should be washing them much more often than we do! The scientific study studied bowls of three different materials – plastic, stainless steel and ceramic. Bacteria formation was studied over a period of 14 days.


dog bone sponge washing dog water bowls

Study Findings

As expected, the Hartpury study saw consistent growth of bacteria over the two week period. The plastic bowls contained the most bacteria at the 14 day mark and the stainless steel the least. The ceramic bowls fell somewhere in the middle.

What was surprising, however, is that the ceramic bowls were found to contain the most harmful bacteria including MRSA and salmonella. Many of us live in close proximity to our dogs which makes transfer of bacteria a safety concern. Similarly, dogs with compromised immune systems or cuts near their mouths (from chewing on that think they weren’t supposed to, of course) are at a higher risk of infection.


So What Should You Do?

Based on the Hartpury study and recommendations from veterinarians, switching your pup to stainless steel bowls may help control bacterial growth. Ideally, owners should wash their dogs’ water bowls AT LEAST once a week but the more often, the better. Food bowls? Many veterinarians suggest after each meal.

Simple soap and hot water will do the trick to keep your dogs’ bowls in tip-top shape. Bleach is unnecessary and can be potentially harmful if not rinsed properly. If your dog’s bowl is dishwasher safe this is also a great option – the high temperature can provide better sanitization than the faucet.

It is suggested that owners do not use their dish sponges on pet bowls (…you know where that tongue has been!) but instead use a disposable towel or a specific sponge. I like to pick up $1 bone shaped sponges at my local dollar store. They work well, are easily distinguishable and are cute!


Bottom Line: Water Bowls Should Be Washed!

As we all know, dogs have been just fine without having their bowls washed once a day. Keeping these dishes clean, however, is a great idea to help keep your pets and family healthy. Besides, when you eat dinner tonight are you going to use the dirty, pasta-coated dish you used last night or drink three day old water? I don’t think so!

If you have a specific bowl cleaning sponge or routine, please let us know and we will be sure to keep your pets’ bowls nice and clean during our visits!


To learn how RCO Pet Care’s team of professional pet sitters can help you provide top-notch care for your fur babies, check out our servicescontact us or call us at (203) 641-2428.

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