Ever rub your fingers on the inside of your pet’s water bowl and you feel a slippery, slimy substance? That invisible slick is biofilm.
The National Sanitation Foundation reported in a recent study that pet bowls come in fourth on the list for places in the home that contain the most germs.
Biofilm is a collection of organic and inorganic, living and dead materials collected on a surface. It is made up of many different types of bacteria bound together in a thick substance that acts as a glue to both hold the bacteria together and adhere it to a surface.
One reason for the germ buildup is that dog owners don’t clean food and water bowls every day. This can be common especially in households where owners feed only dry kibble. They refill the food and water bowl each day and wash it on occasion. Of course, no one is trying to make their pet sick on purpose—it’s just that they are unaware of the health risks caused by biofilm.
When dogs eat and drink out of unclean bowls, the bacteria in their mouths continues to build and eventually contaminate their food and water. Anyone who touches the unclean bowls is at risk of acquiring harmful bacteria if they don’t wash their hands after doing so.
Bad biofilms have been found to be involved in a wide variety of microbial infections in the body such as urinary tract infections, middle-ear infections and bladder infections.
Remember to always clean your dog’s water bowl at least once a week.
How to Clean and Disinfect a Dog Bowl
- Wash food and water bowls each day in hot, soapy water.
- Designate one sponge or cloth to avoid accidental transfer of germs.
- Place food and water bowls in the dishwasher once a week to disinfect.
- No dishwasher? Combine bleach and water at a 1:50 ratio and soak the dishes for 10 minutes; rinse thoroughly.
- Another alternative: Combine baking soda, salt and warm water in equal amounts to create a paste; scrub bowls with the paste and rinse.
Taking just a few minutes every day to clean your dog’s food and water bowls will help him avoid bacteria-borne illness and remain happy and healthy.