We love our pets, and like any good pet parent, you want to treat your fur baby to the best things in life. From expensive food they love and new toys on a rainy day to entertain them, there’s no limit to your love. What you may not know, however, is that you could be unintentionally poisoning them with every meal.
According to experts at the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you should be washing your pet’s food bowl (yes, even the dry mix) after every meal with hot, soapy water.
When pets eat directly out of the bowl, they can transfer microbes and bacteria to the bowl from their mouths. The bacteria can then grow and spread each time you add more food into the bowl, contaminating it.
“What kind of bacteria grow in the bowls depends on factors like the environment, exposure, and oral hygiene of the animal, but possible examples include Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacteria and, less frequently, Salmonella and Pseudomonas,” says the FDA.
These diseases and microbes can even be potentially dangerous to humans, including the elderly and even young children, so keep all bowls out of reach of tiny hands.
Water bowls should also be washed every couple of days, and you can even put your pet’s food bowls into the dishwasher with your other dishes.
Ensure all food scrapes are cleared off (this is where bacteria live) and you can even use bleach (in a ratio of one tablespoon of bleach to one gallon of water) to sanitize the surfaces even further.
By keeping your pet’s food and water bowl clean and free of bacteria, you create a safer space for your whole family.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Now to Love.