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Educational Support & Product Solutions

Pet Dish Washing Background:

While we wash our own dishes on a daily basis, many pet care providers overlook the fact that pet food and water bowls need to be washed too!

Pet Dish washing SinkThe Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines recommend that pet owners wash their pet’s food and water bowls with hot/soapy water on a daily basis. But what about food and water bowls in a multiple pet environment such as a shelter, boarding kennel, or communal water bowls commonly found at outdoor kennel play areas or dog parks?

Bacteria found in dirty food and water bowls cannot only cause illness to pets, but to us humans as well. The most common illness that is derived from dealing with pet food bowls is Salmonella, but that’s not the only one: E Coli, yeast, mold, fecal coliform and staph infection are all potential concerns as well. Communal water dishes can be a breeding ground for giardia, an intestinal parasite.

Good Practice Ideas for the Pet and Worker:

Here are some good practices to help avoid contamination:

    • Wash hands before and after handling pet food and water bowls.
    • Store dry pet food in an airtight container to avoid the growth of bacteria.

Wash pet dishes using the following “Foodservice” approved protocol:

  • Wash: In sink or tub #1, prepare a solution of “Pet Friendly” Dish Detergent (low suds and minimal residue) and water. Dip the bowl into the solution and scrub to loosen and remove soil.
  • Rinse: In sink or tub #2, rinse the bowl using clean water to remove any remaining soil or detergent residue.
  • Sanitize: In sink or tub #3, prepare a solution of “Dish Sanitizer and water. Dip the bowl into the solution, remove immediately and place on a rack or surface to air dry. Do not hand dry!

Do not soak or leave bowls to soak overnight in the sanitizer solution and especially in a bleach solution. The solution will damage stainless and aluminum bowls and penetrate plastic bowls. Avoid using plastic bowls, if possible.

The same Wash, Rinse & Sanitize protocol can be used to clean and sanitize rubber dog toys, cleaning utensils and rubber mats.

ProVetLogic is a Licensed Board of Veterinary Medicine Continuing Education Provider.