You wouldn’t think twice about washing your dishes after dinner before using them again, but what about your pet's food and water bowls?

There's an assumption that when serving dry food to your pet, there isn't a need to conduct this chore. Unfortunately, by skipping this task, you're subjecting your pet and yourself to dangerous bacteria. Here's what you need to know.

E. Coli Bacteria
Photo by CDC on Unsplash
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Research published last month in the scientific journal PLOS One shows that there is drug-resistant bacteria lurking in our pets' food bowls. This includes E. coli, C. diff and staph bacteria. Not only that, but out of 32 different household objects that people use daily, these containers ranked the ninth highest for contamination. That's because most pet owners wait days, if not weeks, to wash these items.

While you may be thinking 'my pets have survived this long,' pause for a second to think about where you prepare their food, likely on a kitchen surface where you also prepare your own, as well as how often their mouth comes in contact with you. Everyone loves those affectionate kisses from their fur babies. However, while dog saliva does have some antibacterial properties, additional studies have actually found the presence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in our pet’s saliva that can make us and our pets sick.

That's not to say you have to avoid those slobbery kisses from Fido, but it would behoove us all to be a bit better at keeping our pets' bowls clean.

Photo by Chewy on Unsplash
Photo by Chewy on Unsplash
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According to the Food and Drug Administration, you should be washing these containers as frequently as you would wash your own – after every use. This is especially important when serving them raw and wet pet foods that are more prone to bacteria growth.

Additionally, in terms of the water bowl, washing should be done once daily. While it can be tedious to hand wash any dish, there's a simple solution: invest in a handful of dishwasher safe dog bowls. Brands like Frisco and YETI make options that can be easily rinsed and then thrown in a load, saving you the trouble of scrubbing.

Moreover, if you use snuffle mats, buy a few and wash them all in one big load to save water. Finally, wash your hands before and after serving your pets their food. This ensures that you and your pets stay healthy and happy.

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