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Here’s How Often Your Pet’s Food Bowl Needs Cleaning

A dog and a cat look at a food bowl.

As pet owners, we usually have set schedules for most things, like when our fur babies eat or use the bathroom. But one thing many of us don’t know for sure is how often we need to be cleaning our pet’s food and water bowls (and it’s more often than you may think).

Did you know your pet’s food bowls should be cleaned with soap and water after every meal?

Veterinarian Katie Malensek told Chewy that washing them after every use is ideal because dried food particles and saliva contain bacteria that can multiply without proper cleansing. Just as we would clean our own plates after eating, Malensek said, we should do the same for our pets.

As for water bowls, those should be cleaned once a day.

Pet Plastic Bowls - 16 Piece

Keep those bowls in rotation.

Commonly found in our pet’s food and water bowls are Salmonella, E. coli, algae, and mold—which are harmful to everyone in the home, not just our pets.

In fact, the National Sanitation Foundation ranked pet bowls as the fourth germiest item in the home, after the kitchen sponge, sink, and toothbrush holder. They recommend running the bowls through the dishwasher or scrubbing them thoroughly with hot soapy water.

It makes sense, right? Imagine making a plate of food and grabbing a dirty, used dish. We know this may have been news to you, so next time you go to wash your dog’s bowl, don’t forget to give him an apologetic rub on his tummy (he’s probably already forgiven you, though).

Lindsay Ray Lindsay Ray
Lindsay is a lifestyle and beauty writer currently living in Arizona. She has several years of experience as a freelance writer and reporter, with a specialized interest in the beauty and lifestyle space. From beauty hacks to DIY home décor and everything in between -- Lindsay has a passion for crafting stories that entertain, educate, and inspire. Her writing has appeared in Thought Catalog, The List, Drink Me Magazine, the Auburn Examiner, and Litro Magazine in the United Kingdom. Read Full Bio »
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