How Often Should I Clean My Dogs Bowls?

How Often to Clean

To some, this may seem a silly question.  However, it is a very good and valid question.  Can it be dangerous for you and your dogs if their feeding bowls aren't cleaned on a regular basis? The answer is...simply...yes!

When food or food bits are left in your dog's food bowl, bacteria will grow that can be dangerous for your dog and you. With that said; how often should you clean your pet's food bowl?  Well, think in terms of your human food plate.  Would you want to eat from a dirty plate with food bits and bacteria growing on it?  The answer is an obvious, and resounding, NO!  Many people don't think twice about washing their dogs bowl.  The collective recommendation is that you should wash and clean your dog's food bowl after every meal or at least once a day.

Now, let's turn our attention to your dog's water dish.  Have you ever noticed a slimy film on your dog's water bowl.  This slimy film is called "Biofilm".  Biofilm is the slimy build-up that tends to collect in your pet's water bowl.  Sadly, if left unchecked it will allow harmful bacteria to overtake your dog's bowl.  This can cause or be a contributing factor to serious health issues.  The dog's tongue and mouth have bacteria, that when licked; bind together and stick to the bowl surface.  There are good and bad properties contained in this bacteria.  Your dog, unfortunately, may be come sick from the bad type.  Fortunately, the water bowl may be washed a little less frequently, than the food bowl.  Best practice will be...daily empty, and refill, with at least, a once-per-week empty, sanitize, and refill.


Bowl Types

Lastly, we can't chew over cleanliness of your pet's bowls without talking about the best type of dog bowl to use.  For the purpose of this article, we can breakdown pet feeding bowls down to three groups:  plastic, ceramic, and stainless steel.  

Plastic is the least desirable.  Nor is it widely praised, or recommended.  It has a very porous and easily scratched surface.  Thus, making it difficult to completely clean, and  a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.  

Next up, is Ceramic bowls.  These bowls are recommended as long as it is cleaned properly and inspected regularly for possible cracks. These cracks could lead to a less than desirable opening for bacteria collection.  

Last but certainly not least, is Stainless Steel Bowls.  These bowls stand at the forefront.  They are highly recommended as they are more easily cleaned and sanitized for optimal protection from bacterial growth. (We currently carry a variety of stainless steel bowls -: Silicone SS Double Bowl, Messy Mutt Stainless Steel Bowl, and Messy Mutt SS Non-Slip Removable Silicone Base.)


Cleaning Bowls

How do you wash your dog's bowl? There are a couple of options we find beneficial.

1.  Dishwasher... This takes care of washing and sanitizing (if heat dry is used).  

2.  Handwash... Using a safe dish soap, wash the dog bowl inside and out.  Rinse thoroughly.  Allow to air dry.



#1 Hand sanitize your dogs water bowl using 1:50 water and bleach.  Allow to soak about 15 minutes.  Rinse thoroughly.  Wash with warm (dog safe) soapy water.  Rinse again.  Allow to air dry.

#2 Keep a dish scrubber just for the pet dishes by the sink with pet friendly dish soap.  Clean immediately after each meal.  You can wash this way one time a day, and then run through dishwasher as an alternative.

A good rule of thumb is... when it comes to feeding your furry friend, think... "Would I want to eat from a filthy bowl?"  So I say... when in doubt, ALWAYS wash it!