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How Often Should You Clean Your Dog’s Water Bowl?

 by danielle on 01 Jul 2014 |
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Would you drink from a glass of water that had been sitting outside for a week? Or a cup that hadn’t been washed in a month? Dog bowls need to be kept clean just as much as our bowls, with unwashed bowls becoming a brew of bacteria and other nasties which don’t do your pet’s health any favours.

In a 2011 study conducted by NSF International, of the homes of 22 families, pet bowls were found to be the fourth dirtiest household item. They were found to contain high levels of yeast, mold and coliform bacteria (which includes Salmonella and E. coli). Eww!

So how often should you clean your dog or cat’s water bowl? This depends on where it is kept and how many animals are drinking from it daily.

Daily washing for an indoor pet bowl is ideal, especially after you pet has taken a drink after mealtimes.

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If your water bowl is kept outside it should be cleaned more often – twice daily – as there is a much higher chance of contamination from insects and plant debris. Use by multiple animals also means the amount of washing you do should increase proportionally, with a greater amount of saliva bound to find its way into the bowl.

Hand washing with a gentle detergent in hot water works well. A mixture of salt and baking soda is also a great solution, as it is kinder to dog or cat’s insides if any residue is left behind. A run through the dishwasher is also highly recommended.


Bowl choice is also important when it comes to keeping your dog’s water squeaky clean. Ceramic and plastic bowls are porous, which means they absorb a certain amount of water they contain. This can mean they suck up bacteria and germs as well, and become secret breeding grounds that may affect your dog’s health. Stainless steel and ceramic bowls are a better option as their finish prevents absorption. 
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