You love your loyal companion, and you’ll not do anything to harm them. But, there are certain things we tend to forget about or take for granted when it comes to taking care of pets. You are great with the big things like ensuring they receive all the necessary vaccinations, but otherwise mundane activities, like how to wash their feeding bowl, tends to get lost on most people.
A new study conducted by the Food and Drug Association, which set out to investigate dog owners’ feeding habits, found that forgetting to wash a dog’s feeding bowl could put the health of your lovely pooch at risk, as well as yours.
According to The Mirror, most owners are not complying with the FDA’s hygiene rules on dog dish contamination. The study found that of the 417 dog owners surveyed, only 12% wash their dogs’ food bowls every day, with 22% admitting to cleaning it once a week.
Surprisingly, though, 18% of participants say they wash them at least once every three months, with others not bothering at all. The report states:
It was found that the vast majority of study dog owners were not aware of and did not follow FDA pet food handling and storage guidelines. [...] hygiene-related handling practices (washing of hands, bowl and utensil) showed overall low levels of compliance.
It might not seem like a big deal, but the FDA warns that not maintaining a clean environment for dogs, could breed bacteria like salmonella and listeria which can cause diarrhoea, fever, stomach cramps and other health risks to humans.
A good number of respondents (43%), keep dog food within 1.5m of human food, with an even fewer percentage admitting to washing their hands after handling dog food.
Many also said they use the same kitchen surfaces for the preparation of both dog and human food. The report concluded:
Exposure to contaminated dog food can have implications for canine and human health. These risks may be amplified in households with children and/or immunocompromised individuals, which were over a third of respondents’ households.
To limit these risks, you should read the FDA’s guidelines on the safe handling of pet food.