FDA Study Warns of Health Risks from Neglected Dog Food Bowls

by Lisa

In the realm of food safety, the cleanliness of kitchen surfaces is paramount. However, a recent study underscores a lesser-known but equally crucial area of concern: the hygiene of dog food bowls.

Conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the research sheds light on the hygiene practices of dog owners and the potential health hazards associated with neglecting to clean their pets’ food dishes.


Surveying 417 dog owners, the study uncovers concerning trends regarding the frequency of washing dog bowls. Shockingly, only 12 percent of participants reported washing their dog’s dish daily, with 22 percent admitting to cleaning it once a week, and another 18 percent acknowledging washing it every three months or less frequently, or not at all.


These lax hygiene habits create an environment ripe for the proliferation of harmful bacteria, including salmonella and listeria, posing significant health risks to both pets and their human companions.


Salmonella and listeria are well-known pathogens capable of causing various symptoms in humans, ranging from diarrhea and fever to stomach cramps and nausea. Such symptoms can be particularly severe in vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, children, the elderly, and individuals with weakened immune systems.


Furthermore, the study identifies concerning behaviors related to food storage and preparation among dog owners. Alarmingly, 43 percent of participants admitted to storing dog food in close proximity to human food, while 34 percent failed to wash their hands after handling dog food, and 33 percent prepared dog meals on surfaces intended for human use.

In response to these findings, the FDA has outlined guidelines aimed at reducing the risk of illness from contaminated pet food and treats. Emphasizing the potential implications for both canine and human health, the study underscores the need for improved hygiene practices among dog owners.

“Exposure to contaminated dog food can have implications for both canine and human health,” the study notes. “Multiple outbreaks of illness in humans and dogs have been linked to exposure to dog food contaminated with pathogenic bacteria.”

The study further highlights the heightened risks in households with children and immunocompromised individuals, which comprised over a third of the surveyed households.


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