Is It Safe to Wash Pet Dishes in The Dishwasher?

Washing your pet’s dishes in the dishwasher seems like a good idea, after all it gets it clean and if you have many pets, you can wash them all together in one fell swoop. But will this damage the appliance or cause the need for appliance repair?  

Let’s go ahead and find out just what the scoop is when it comes to whether or not it is safe to wash your pet’s bowls with your dishwasher. 

The Health of the Matter

There absolutely do exist dishwasher safe dog bowls, so you know you CAN put them there because they won’t be damaged. But the question is, is it healthy to do this? The answer is yes, but separately from human dishes, no dog bowl in dishwasher with other dishes allowed. You must also follow good feeding practices to keep everyone safe. 

One Vet, Marty Becker, gives some good advice on how to handle the feeding of pets. He advises that you feed your pet using a separate bowl from your own (do not feed them using the same dishes you and your family use) and also washing them separate from your own dishes. 

The reason for Becker’s recommendation is that MRSA and leptospira and even some internal parasites can go from pet to person. Therefore, it is very important that you keep your kitchen neat and clean when pets are involved in your home. It is also critical if you have somebody with a compromised immune system in your home such as a baby or elderly person. 

What the CDC Says

CDC has their own information on the handling of pet foods so your family stays safe. In sum, here’s their recommendations for safe and healthy pet feeding. 

  • Wash hands with soap and water after you handle pet food or treats, this is the first and most important step in keeping illnesses at bay. 
  • Store pet foods away from where you make your own food and out of spots where young children can reach them. 
  • Don’t use the bowl to scoop up the food. Use a dedicated scoop or cup to do this. 
  • Follow the storage instructions to prevent mold and keep everyone safe. 

Kitchen Safety 

Want to know some ways to keep the kitchen safe and clean? There are definitely some simple steps you can follow to keep cross-contamination out of your home. 

Hand-washing is the number one way to achieve cleanliness. You should wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water after you touch your pets, handle pet treats or foods, and also make sure kids get into the habit of doing this. 

Always wash hands after touching any pet related materials like food scoops, pet bowls or raw pet foods. 

You should clean the pet dishes after each meal, and clean/replace the water dishes on a daily basis. It is advised that you use stainless steel or ceramic pet dishes, because plastic ones can get nicks or scratches that are places for bacteria to grow. 

Do not let your pet lick off your plate; this means no sharing dishes with cats or sharing utensils with dog.

Safely Cleaning Pet Bowls

Pet bowls need much more than a quick wash in your sink. The sink is also a harbinger of bacteria, so keep that in mind, too. You can put pet dishes in the dishwasher separate from your family’s dishes on the sanitize setting. 

The super-hot temps of the water will get the pet dishes clean and sanitary, remove debris and kill bacteria. Wipe off the handle of the dishwasher, too, after you start the dishwasher. 

If you do not have a dishwasher, be sure to clean and sanitize the sink after you finish washing dog bowl in the sink.

More on Dishwashers

Washing dog bowls in the dishwasher using the regular detergent you always use is a fine method of getting it clean, and the preferred way of doing so, because the heat is effective in the killing of bacteria. 

Be sure to use the highest heat setting, because some types of salmonella can live through water that is not hot enough. You can also soak the dishes in a bleach and water mix for ten minutes and then put them through the dishwasher on high. It is an easy way to learn how to sanitize pet bowls.

And of course, be sure you look to make sure your pet’s bowl is dishwasher safe. Nothing would be worse than pulling out a mangled plastic bowl that is not dishwasher safe! It is far easier to double check when learning how to keep dog bowls clean.

Other Risks

Salmonella, E. coli, these are just two of the pet health risks that come as a result of not having healthy habits with your pet’s food and water bowls. Dirty pet bowls can also cause skin infections that are very painful to a cat or dog. 

These are found mostly around the mouth and the chin. They appear as little pimples or even growths, and they are easily prevented by providing your pet with clean food and water dishes for eating. 

If your pet is known to be susceptible to these types of infections, you should avoid plastic or even ceramic pet food bowls as the porous surfaces make it hard to keep it free of bacteria. You should opt for a stainless-steel pet food bowl; these are durable and stand up to wear but also stay sanitary. 

In Conclusion 

In short, it is best to avoid washing dog bowls with human dishes in the dishwasher as it is a matter of health and safety. 

Just keep them away from the dishes your family uses and always, always wash your hands after you handle anything pet-related: food, dishes, or even the pets themselves. 

Keep the kitchen clean and remember, hand-washing is king. Doing this will help so everybody lives in harmony and not in bad health!

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