Most dog owners will begrudgingly admit that they probably don’t wash or clean their dog’s food bowl nearly as much as they should. As much as we love our canine friends, we tend to believe that they have stomachs of steel and so regularly washing the bowls from which they eat and drink is not necessary like it is for our own crockery. However, dogs have far more sensitive stomachs than many of us realise and, while it is so easy to fall into the habit of just filling up our dog’s bowl day after day, we should really be washing their bowl as often as possible.
This is a guide to how often you should clean your dog’s bowl, and why. We list the benefits and reasons why we really should be washing their dog bowls regularly. Hopefully, by understanding what there is to gain from keeping their bowls clean, we will do it more often.
How Often Should You Clean Your Dog’s Bowl?
In short, dog bowls should be cleaned every day if possible. While this amount can change depending on what type of dog food we give our dogs – for example raw food versus dry kibble – harmful bacteria can still grow regardless of the food type so that they should really all be wiped down at least once a day. This will really help keep harmful bacteria at bay which can do wonders for your dog’s longer term health and well being.
So how can the type of food you give your dog affect the amount your wash your dog’s food bowl? Raw food like uncooked mince, raw meat, bone marrow or eggs should all be seen as the type of food that requires more cleaning and more regularly too. However, the majority of us probably feed our dogs dry kibble given the ease and benefits this type of food offers our dogs. Happily, this type of food means that owners do not need to wash their dogs’ bowls as often, though it does still need to be wiped down daily to keep bacteria at bay. It is the wet nature of some dog food and raw meat that can mean the harmful bacteria, which breed in such environments, do so with ease and then our poor dogs continue to eat out from these dirty bowls.
Other Ideas to Take on Board
In addition to either wiping down or cleaning your dog’s bowl daily, it is recommended to put both their water bowl and feeding bowl through your dishwasher at least once a week to make use of the searingly hot water temperatures that dishwashers use. This means that any harmful bacteria that are lurking there are killed off. In the case where dogs are fed raw food or wet food, bowls will need to be put through more often, especially in the cases where they are eating raw meat. Owners with dogs on such diets are advised to put their bowls through the dishwasher about once every three days.
The trick is to get into the habit of putting their bowls through the dishwasher as this gives them such a good clean you will notice far more quickly when they are in need of a wipe – thus making you clean them more regularly. Bacteria are therefore kept to a minimum in this way and don’t have a chance to breed.
However, when you put your dog’s bowl through the washer, try to steer clear of harmful and strong soaps or detergents with very powerful chemicals. Any tabs that have strong smells too are a good idea to avoid as these fragrances can actually put our dogs off their food which is something we obviously want to avoid. There are detergents on the market that can stand up to the bacteria that dog bowls have on them whilst being kind to our dogs stomachs and noses.
What is a good idea, if you are really struggling to find such a cleaning substance, is simply to put the bowl through the dishwasher when there is no soap or tablet in it at all. It is the heat of the water that provides a great deal of the muscle to rid the bowl of nasty bacteria. While it may seem wasteful, if you put the bowl in on its own and just on a quick or eco wash, you will actually be doing your dishwasher some good by giving it the opportunity to clean out the filters and other pipes that can easily collect food and waste when put on a full wash each time it is used.
Taking into account what your dog’s bowl is made of is also crucial when figuring out how often your dog’s bowl needs washing. As a general rule, ceramic bowls need cleaning more often than stainless steel bowls and plastic bowls harbor many more bacteria than is often initially thought owing to being easily scratched to form nasty breeding grounds. Ironically, stainless steel bowls, while the easiest to clean, are the bowls we are more likely to clean more regularly as the show dirt and usage more clearly.
Additionally, if you feed your dog on a dog food mat, ensure that you wipe this down too or put it through the washing machine if it is fabric. They harbor all of the same bacteria that their bowls do.
Cleaning Your Dog’s Bowl
Getting into the habit of cleaning your dog’s bowl with a daily wipe and a weekly wash in the dishwasher is therefore good to do as soon as possible. Unfortunately, getting out of the habit is far easier given the ease that we all feed our dogs with – it is often more muscle memory than conscious thought so it is simple to forget to then clean their bowl too.
It’s helpful to try to remember the benefits therefore to washing your dog’s bowl. By ridding their bowl of harmful bacteria, they will suffer far less from upset stomachs and other ailments that come from having their digestive systems trying to cope with added nasties in their systems.
Given that we can help their overall health therefore, simply by being mindful of their dog bowl, we all have the best motivation possible to remember to clean their bowls – you will have a happier healthier dog because of it!