Scrub pets’ meals and water bowls each day to scale back micro organism


Q: A houseguest watched me refill my canine’s meals and water bowls with out washing them, my traditional process except there’s apparent grime on them. She identified the slime overlaying the within the water bowl and informed me it is harmful since the slime harbors micro organism that may cause sickness. Is she proper? Ought to I do as she advises and scrub each bowls each day?

A: Sure and sure.

A latest research discovered that your follow, which will increase the chance of sickness for each you and your canine, is widespread.

Researchers surveyed 417 canine house owners and examined 68 of their pets’ meals bowls for micro organism. Two findings stunned me.

First, bacterial counts from metallic and ceramic bowls had been as excessive as these from plastic bowls. Additionally, meals bowl bacterial counts had been as excessive from households with kids and immunocompromised members as from wholesome households, indicating that high-risk households should not taking important precautions.

Bacterial counts had been excessive as a result of few research contributors adopted the Meals and Drug Administration’s pet meals dealing with pointers, printed 

The slime in your canine’s water bowl additionally poses an issue. This “biofilm” consists of micro organism embedded inside a slime produced by the microbes themselves. Biofilms adhere to dwelling and nonliving surfaces.

When a biofilm kinds on tooth, it is known as plaque. A biofilm that adheres to the within floor of the bladder may cause persistent urinary tract infections. When an an infection includes a catheter or orthopedic implant, it’s always attributable to a biofilm.

Biofilms protect micro organism from the atmosphere, together with the animal’s immune system and antibiotics. As a biofilm grows inside the physique, some micro organism break off and set up recent infections — and recent biofilms — elsewhere.

Whether or not your canine’s water bowl slime is dangerous relies on what sorts of micro organism are embedded within the biofilm. Since you do not know what they’re, scrub all water bowls with scorching, soapy water each day. Do the identical along with your meals bowls and kibble-measuring cup after every use, or clear them within the dishwasher as I do.

Lastly, all the time wash your arms earlier than and after feeding your canine.

Q: After I purchase a recent bag of kibble for my cats, ought to I depart it within the bag, or might I empty it right into a massive, coated meals container?

A: I do each. I depart the kibble in the unique bag and set the bag right into a meals container with a sturdy base and a safe lid. I retailer all pet meals within the pantry with the door closed.

I favor leaving the meals within the bag for a couple of causes. First, the container stays cleaner. I nonetheless wash and dry it between baggage of meals, however the method is simpler.

Pet meals baggage are designed to maintain kibble recent, so eradicating meals from the bag and storing it elsewhere can cut back its shelf life. Even meals in the unique bag needs to be saved in a cool, dry location to attenuate spoilage and stop the fat from changing into rancid.

It is also vital to maintain pet meals in the unique bag in case of a recall, because the bag shows the meals’s identify, producer, lot quantity and expiration date.

Lee Pickett, VMD, practices companion animal drugs in North Carolina. Contact her at