Ask the Vet: How Often Should I Clean the Pet Food Bowl?
While we humans clean our dishes after every meal, we often forget the importance of cleaning our pets’ food bowls. In fact, many people never clean their pet’s bowls, which could actually be hazardous to their health.
Why is cleaning your pet’s food bowl so important?
Cleaning your pet’s food bowl is important for the same reasons it’s important to clean your own dishes after a meal.
Bacteria can grow on the bits of food left in your pet’s bowl, causing harmful growths, such as Salmonella and E. coli. This is dangerous for both your pet’s health and yours.
Are certain types of food bowls better than others?
We recommend metal bowls over those made of plastic. Over time, small scratches and bite marks can appear in plastic. These are impossible to clean thoroughly and may harbor bacteria. This stainless-steel bowl is a good option, and it also has a rubberized, non-tip base.
What types of cleaners should you use?
In terms of cleaners, regular dish detergent or dishwasher detergent is fine. It’s also okay to use diluted bleach; however, there’s no need for ultra-harsh cleaners. When hand washing bowls, always use hot water.
Here are some additional tips for properly cleaning your pet’s food bowl and keeping their eating area clean:
- You should clean your pet’s food bowl after every meal or at least once per day.
- In addition to cleaning their food bowl, you should also clean your pet’s water bowl at least once per week.
- If, for some reason, your pet does not eat their food for a long period, throw it out. Food that’s left out can grow bacteria.
- For your own safety, always wash your hands after handling pet food.
- For messy eaters, consider a food mat for beneath their food and water bowls. This catches stray food bits before they’re contaminated on the ground and also keeps your pet’s eating area cleaner!