Veterinarians recommend that we provide our pets with plenty of water to drink. For most of us, that means leaving a water bowl out in the kitchen so that our dogs and cats can drink freely throughout the day.
But studies have shown that pet water bowls can be among the most germy items in a home (4th runner up after kitchen sponges, kitchen sinks, and toothbrush holders).
A recent microbiological assessment of dog water bowls examined the bacterial content of water bowls made of plastic, ceramic, and stainless steel.
Researchers found that the plastic bowls maintained the highest bacterial count overall. However, when it came to two dangerous bacteria—MRSA and Salmonella—the researchers discovered that they were mostly found on the ceramic bowls.
While pet health experts often recommend avoiding plastic food and water bowls, this dog water bowl study suggests that ceramic bowls might be a greater risk than originally thought. The researchers speculate that harmful bacteria might be better able to form biofilms on ceramic material.
Concerned pet owners may want to consider replacing bowls made from both plastic and ceramic with those made from stainless steel.
Of course, no matter what material your pet bowls are made of, it’s always important to keep them as clean as possible. You should wash bowls by hand with antibacterial soap or run them through the dishwasher (heat cycle on) every day.
Clean food and water bowls are an important component of pet (and human) health!