Pet owners putting their four-legged friends at risk of illness by failing to wash their food bowls several times a week, according to experts.
new warning issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US has said animal lovers are opening their pets up to a host of dangerous bacteria by failing to observe adequate hygiene standards.
The organisation suggested that pet owners wash bowls with hot soapy water "at least every day or two", regardless of whether their pet eats dry or wet food, as bowls provide an optimum space for bacteria to flourish.
Because animals eat directly from bowls, bacteria is easily transferred from mouth to bowl and vice versa. Speaking to Care2.com, Dr. William Burkholder and Charlotte Conway of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the FDA said dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella, Streptococcus and Bacillus can flourish in dirty bowls.
The pair said: "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, Pasteurella multocida and different species of Corynebacterium, Streptococcus, Enterobacteria, Neisseria, Moraxella, Bacillus and, less frequently, Salmonella and Pseudomonas."
Burkholder and Conway advised pet-owners treat their pet's bowls like human cutlery to wash the bowls with hot soapy water regularly, making sure to throughly clean their hands afterwards.
The organisation also warned pet-owners to avoid leaving food in bowls after their pet has finished eating.
"Just like with people food, pet food that’s left out too long can grow bacteria," Burkholder and Conway comment.