Are Your Pet’s Food and Water Bowls Contaminated?

Editorís note:†This post is a Care2 favorite, back by popular demand. It was originally posted on June 9, 2014. Enjoy!

If you simply top off your pet’s food or water dish, you could be creating a monster that will attack your pet from the inside out.

If indoor bowls aren’t palatable, pets won’t hesitate to drink rainwater from unsafe sources

Many of us are guilty of simply refilling the water bowl when it gets close to empty, but the water that sits around will form a slimy residue that hosts dangerous bacteria and fungus that can begin to grow. Some pet guardians may not even notice that their pet will start shying away from a dirty water bowl and become mildly dehydrated or, worse yet, seek water from unsafe areas indoors or out.

And what about the food dish? No, licking the bowl ‘clean’ isn’t a possibility. Please be kind.

Plastic Bowls Are a Bad Idea

Plastic bowls trap odor and bacteria and can also leach BPA, a carcinogenic compound.

Food and water dishes should be made from stainless steel, heavy glass or ceramic and should be washed daily. Plastic dishes may contain a hazardous substance called BPA which leaches into your pet’s water and is a known carcinogen. This can break down further in the dishwasher. Plastics also absorbs odors and become unpleasant to a pet’s sensitive sense of smell.

Three Best Ways To Wash Your Pet’s Bowls Daily

Food and water bowls should be cleaned daily. Do NOT use harsh cleaners that can leave behind residue and odor.

If you have bowls that are already beyond salvaging, why not start fresh with a new set of bowls and choose from one of these easy daily washing techniques.

1. Run them through the hottest cycle of the dishwasher to get them really clean and sterilized.

2. Wash and thoroughly rinse with dish detergent and a clean abrasive sponge to release all organic material from the sides of the bowls.

3. Try scrubbing with a mix of equal parts baking soda, salt and warm water.

Photos via Getty Images


Jeanne M
Jeanne M17 days ago

Food bowls and water bowls are washed every day, for our indoor guys and for the ferals.

Alice L
Alice L17 days ago

Thank you

Monica Collier
Monica Collier18 days ago

Good reminders.

Daniel N
Daniel N19 days ago


Leanne K
Leanne K19 days ago

My dogs eat all manner of gross, cat poop, other dog poop, possum poop and on two occasions a long dead, now completely flat possum. Duck poop is a delicacy in their eyes. Eewww

Leanne K
Leanne K19 days ago

Yes I like to wash the food and water bowls daily. I have seen the mostdisgusting petfood bowls. They stink and attract flies, ants and wasps. No thsnkyou

Coo R
Coo R20 days ago

This will also apply if you have birds, especially wild bird feeders, these need cleaned regularly too.

sandy G
sandy Gardner20 days ago

Her dog food plate are the same plates we use to eat our food. Everything goes into the dishwasher after one use.

Vincent T
Vincent T20 days ago

Thank you

Glennis W
Glennis W20 days ago

Tahnk you for caring and sharing