Have you ever felt the inside of your dog’s water bowl when you are refilling it? Have you felt a slimy film and wondered what that could be? That slippery substance is called biofilm, a collection of organic and inorganic material that sticks to the surface and is harmful to your pet’s health. Biofilm can cause chronic and dangerous infections that are often resistant to antibiotics. Several studies have linked it to ear infections, pyometra, urinary tract infections, bad breath, and possibly hot spots and other skin infections.
Dogs contact biofilm through both their water and their food bowls. In a recent study by NSF International, dog bowls came in number 4 in items in your home that have the most germs. If you use plastic bowls, they can cause Dish Nasal Dermatitis, a loss of pigment in a dog’s nose. And, unlike items for human food service, plastic dog bowls do not have to be certified as safe for food use. Many, especially those made in China, contain harmful chemicals. Plastic and ceramic bowls have been tested and a third of them had unhealthy levels of lead. Symptoms of slow lead poisoning include kidney, renal, cardiovascular problems, and a number of neurological disorders.
So, what can you do to protect your dog from unhealthy water and food bowls? Here is a very basic list to help keep your dog happy and healthy:
2. Use stainless steel bowls. Based on a research report by Coralie Wright and Aisling Carroll from Hartpury College in England, plastic bowls had the greatest accumulation of bacteria. Even with regular washing, the bowl can develop scratches where bacteria can grow. The research also showed that ceramic and stoneware bowls accumulated bacteria, including MRSA and Salmonella. Stainless bowls accumulate the least amount of bacteria.
2. Wash your dog’s water and food bowls regularly. Poorly maintained water bowls, even using stainless, will show a buildup of bacteria such as Serratia Marcescens. This bacteria appears as a slight pink or light brown film. Think about where your dog’s mouth has been, and the fact that they slobber as they eat and drink. The microorganisms in their saliva falls into their bowls and begins to grow. To combat dangerous bacterial growth all you need to do is wash their bowls with warm/hot water with a small bit of antibacterial soap after each meal for food, and at least once a day for water.
You wash your families dishes and glasses after every meal so why not for your dog? It is such a simple thing, and can help extend their health and reduce potential infections.