When you watch Fido eat crumbs from the carpet and try to sneak a drink from the toilet, it’s easy to forget that he needs clean food and water bowls. Here are some common questions about pet bowl cleanliness as well as some suggestions for bowl options for your pet.
How often should I clean my pet’s food bowl?
Veterinarians recommend cleaning your pet’s food bowl after every use, especially if you’re giving your pet wet food. Bacteria can begin to grow very quickly on exposed, room temperature wet food. Dry food bowls can be cleaned once a day, particularly if you leave food available for your pet during the day.
How often should my pet’s water bowl be cleaned?
Since our pets do not take dainty sips of water, saliva is mixing in with their drinking water and is creating a fun bacterial swimming pool that needs to be cleaned at least once a day.
What should I use to clean my pet’s food and water bowls?
Hot, soapy water with a mild soap or dish detergent works just fine to clean your pet’s bowls. The dishwasher is also an acceptable alternative if the bowls are marked as dishwasher safe. One word of caution, if you have a baby, elderly person or someone with a compromised immune system in your home, be sure to wash pet bowls separately from people dishes to make sure there is no opportunity for bacteria to transfer. Even when using the dishwasher, it’s better safe than sorry!
Bleach solutions are not necessary for cleaning, particularly since it can be easy to make your solution too strong and therefore potentially dangerous to your pet. After you’ve thoroughly scrubbed the bowls with hot, soapy water. Run your hands around the bowl to see if there are any residual pieces of food or if there is a slimy feel anywhere on the bowls; if there is – keep scrubbing!
Always wash your hands after handling pet food or bowls, bacteria that are no big deal for your pet could mean sickness for you.
What is the best bowl type to use for my pet’s food and water?
Plastic bowls are convenient, sturdy, and usually dishwasher safe. However, be sure to keep an eye on the wear and tear of the bowl. Deep scratches in the plastic are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria. Scratches through protective coatings on the plastic can allow potentially harmful chemicals to leech into your pet’s food or water.
Stainless steel bowls are another sturdy alternative but always be on the lookout for signs of corrosion or rust.
Porcelain, stonewear or glass bowls can also work well. However, check for chips and nicks during every cleaning. A small crack could mean a painful injury for your pup.
Are there other ways to keep my dog or cat’s food and water areas clean?
Food mats are a great way to help keep your pet’s eating area contained and tidy. If your dog or cat is a particularly messy eater, a food mat with a lip will keep them from spreading food across your entire floor. After your dog or cat is finished eating, it’s much easier to lift a food mat and dump any leftovers in the trash, instead of sweeping after every meal. If you use a food mat, be sure to wash it when you wash your pet’s food bowls so Fido doesn’t try to lick up those stray bits of kibble later.
What about pet food storage and handling safety?
Dry food is best kept in its original bag inside a plastic container. Find a cool, dry storage location, preferably one that does not get over 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep a designated pet food scoop (no more using the one cup measuring cup!).
If you split cans of wet food across two feedings, be sure to cover and refrigerate any unused food until the next feeding.
Did we mention – always wash your hands after handling pet food!
What bowls work best for fast eaters or overweight pets?
First and foremost, check with your veterinarian to find out the right kind of food and the proper quantities to feed your overweight dog or cat. A 2012 study of pet obesity indicated that pets were fed the healthiest when their pet parents used a small bowl AND a small food scoop.
A couple of tricks can help slow your dog down when it’s dinnertime.
· Buy an inexpensive cookie sheet and serve him his dinner on that. Spread his food across the sheet. This will encourage him to eat fewer pieces of food at a time and make the meal more work. Note: This needs to be his designated cookie sheet and clean it as frequently and as thoroughly as you would a regular bowl.
· Try using a slow feeder. Slow feeder bowls give your dog a challenge. Instead of letting them chop big bites of food at a time, your pup has to nose around obstacles in the bowl. This keeps him from gulping down huge amounts of kibble in a short amount of time.
· Make treat times puzzle times. Instead of just handing out snacks, put your dog’s biscuits in this fun puzzle toy. He or she will have to work out how to get at the treat and will expend some extra energy in the process.
Don’t forget your cat!
Cats can suffer from obesity, too. Try giving your cat treats using a puzzle toy so she has to bat and pounce to get at the tasty goodness!
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