Not washing your dog’s food bowl regularly could affect both your dog’s health and yours, according to new research. But only 12% of dog owners follow the advice and wash their dog’s bowl daily. The study, conducted by the Food and Drug Association (FDA), looked at the eating habits of dog owners.
She evaluated the impact of her own hygiene protocols on the contamination of dog bowls, by interviewing 417 dog owners.
The study found that only 22% of dog owners clean the bowl once a week, while 18% wash it every three months or not at all.
According to the FDA, this “poses significant health risks to pets and pet owners” because it allows harmful bacteria, including salmonella, to thrive.
Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, or pain and nausea in humans.
Pregnant women, children, adults over 65 and people with weakened immune systems are most vulnerable to the bacteria.
The study found that “the vast majority” of dog owners did not follow FDA guidelines, with 43% storing dog food within 1.5 meters of human food.
Only 34% washed their hands after feeding their dog and a third prepared their dog’s food on surfaces also used by humans.
The report said: “The vast majority of dog owners in the study were found to be unaware of and did not follow FDA pet food handling and storage guidelines.
“Response to individual recommendations varied, but hygiene-related handling practices (washing hands, bowl and utensils) showed low levels of compliance overall.
“Furthermore, studies in humans regarding self-reported handwashing show that an overestimation of hygiene and similar forces, including the effects of social desirability bias, might be expected in this study.
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He also advises pet owners to ensure pet food is stored in a “safe place” to “prevent your pet from eating an entire supply at once.”
The FDA said, “Proper storage of pet foods and treats maintains the nutritional value of products and keeps information close at hand in the event of a problem.
“Proper storage also prevents your pet from getting into its own food and overeating or getting into your cat’s special diet food.
“Overeating or eating food meant for another pet can lead to health issues, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or more serious conditions.