How to Properly Disinfect Dog Bowls

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“Gross! What is that? I didn’t feed him that!?!” This is the reaction of many dog owners as they look into their dog’s dirty food and water bowls. Is it slobber? Is it food particles? Is it… something else? At some point, you just have to stop trying to guess and focus on getting the bowl clean.

It’s no joke – dirty dog bowls can lead to bacteria and germs that can make your dog sick. Roll up your sleeves and hold your breath, because we’re going to tell you how to properly disinfect dog bowls.

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How Often to Wash Dog Bowls

Generally, you should to wash your dog’s food and water bowls after every use. While this may seem excessive, imagine treating yourself the same way and eating every meal out of an unwashed dish. Once again, gross! If you haven’t been cleaning your dog’s food and water bowls regularly, it’s never too late to start. On cheaper bowls made of plastic, it’s not uncommon to find mold growth if you’ve let them sit out long enough. It’s time to throw those bowls out and buy new bowls for a fresh start.

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What to Use to Properly Disinfect Dog Bowls

You’ll want to use a cloth or sponge that is only used for your dog’s bowls. Dish soap, water and some elbow grease, along with a thorough rinse, will get the bowls clean. If your dog’s bowls are stainless steel, you can clean them in the same manner but avoid harsh chemicals and antibacterial products to prevent rusting. Running them through a cycle in the dishwasher is also an excellent way to keep your dog’s food and water bowls clean.

Hand Washing vs. Machine

When it comes to sanitizing dog bowls, the dishwasher wins. While hand washing with soap and hot water certainly will get the bowls clean, the dishwasher takes it a step further. Most bacteria that get collected on the bowls require scalding hot water at 140° Fahrenheit to fully remove and kill it. If you try to attempt to wash your dog’s bowls by hand at this temperature you’ll get burned. Don a couple of pairs of rubber gloves if you’re sans dishwasher, and crank that hot water!

Importance of Food Mats

Dog placemats aren’t just decorative – they’re beneficial when it comes to cleanliness. Most dogs eat their food and drink water without giving a second thought to good manners. Unless they are dainty eaters that never drop a morsel or a drop of water outside of their bowls, you’ll want to provide food mats for your dog. Food mats catch whatever spills over the edge of the bowls in addition to any drool or slobber. Some food mats have a raised edge to assure that the food never touches the floor. This prevents your dog from eating directly off of the floor and congesting harsh chemical residue that are in floor cleaning products. It also makes your life easier, since it is easy to clean up leftover food. You will want to give the food mat a good hand washing or wipe on a daily basis to avoid bacteria growth.

Keep your dog healthy and prevent him from coming into contact with bacteria by cleaning dog bowls after every use. And remember to inspect your dog’s bowls for scratches. Deep scratches can be a home for bacteria that can make your dog sick. Replace your dog’s food and water bowls when necessary to keep your dog healthy and happy.

ShelliesShellie Sutera is a freelance writer from sunny Miami, Florida. When she’s not secretly smuggling her adorable dog Hercules into the local beaches for sun and surf, she’s a passionate writer that specializes in writing about dogs and all of their unique quirks. She spends her free time cooking Italian food, raft boating, volunteering and traveling to dog-friendly destinations.