The Food and Drug Administration is reminding dog owners that they should be cleaning their dog's food bowl every day to avoid bacteria and general contamination.


Pet food and dish handling involves potential health risks for both dogs and people, especially those with compromised immune systems. Multiple outbreaks of bacterial illness among dogs and humans have occurred as a result of contaminated dog food.

According to a study by Dr. Emily Luisana of North Carolina State University, most dog owners are not aware of the FDA's recommendation of frequent cleaning of the dog's food bowl. In fact, only five percent of the 417 pet owners surveyed were aware of the guidelines at all.

The study found "significantly reduced contamination" of dog bowls that were used based on the FDA's guidelines compared to those that were not.


  • Begin and end with clean hands. Both before and after handling pet food and treats, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water.
  • Wash pet food bowls and scooping utensils with soap and hot water after each use.
  • Do not use your pet’s food bowl as a scooping utensil. Use a clean scoop, spoon, or cup instead. Use the scooping utensil only for scooping pet food.
  • Throw out old or spoiled pet food in a safe way, for example, by placing it in a securely tied plastic bag in a covered trash can.

The FDA also recommends not serving your pet raw foods due to the threat of contamination.

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