Let’s dish… The type of bowl you feed your pet in matters. Why?

“Why does my dog’s cute ceramic water dish always feel slimy?”

The correct term for this condition is “biofilm”. Biofilm is caused naturally by bacteria from your dog’s saliva. As a dog drinks, their mouth does not just take in water, it also “backwashes” into the bowl they are drinking from. Washing the bowl with chemical cleaners such as Clorox, etc. can be even more harmful to the dog than the biofilm slime itself. Bleach, soaps, and similar cleaners can diminish your dog’s sense of smell resulting in loss of appetite for up to seven days. Chlorine, a common ingredient in these types of disinfectants, is one of the culprits that cause this phenomenon. Others include glycol ethers, ammonia, and formaldehyde. Often, this presents as a picky eater, when in reality they just can’t smell the goodness in their food bowl because of it. Use of these chemicals in close proximity to your dog and their dishes can cause dizziness, vomiting, laryngeal edema (swelling of the throat), anemia, lung damage, kidney damage, asthma, and cancer (carcinogenic).

“Why is my dog so picky?”

Additionally, ceramic surfaces inherently “craze”, or form micro-fissure cracks in the surface of the bowl. These cracks, regardless of how often or thoroughly they are cleaned, trap and hold bacteria that are harmful to your pet in the same way biofilm does. Not sure this is true? The next time your dog inexplicably turns away from the food in their ceramic bowl, take some of their fresh food and feed them out of your hand. Chances are, they’ll gobble it up! The bacteria left behind in a scratched or crazed glass or ceramic bowl smells… maybe not to you, but your dog’s sense of smell is tens of thousands times more sensitive than yours. You would never consider continually eating from a dirty plate, and your dog doesn’t want to either!

Plastic is just as bad as ceramic – if not worse! There is a reason that nurses in Neo-natal wards are not allowed to have acrylic nails… plastics, including acrylic, harbor harmful bacteria exponentially worse than almost any other surface. You wouldn’t want to put your pet at risk by choosing an inferior material for their food.

At Feed Right Pet Food, Inc. we strongly recommend stainless steel bowls for all your dog’s food and water dishes. They are excellent for several reasons. Stainless steel is non-porous and will not absorb food odors or bacteria. Stainless steel is easy to keep clean with hot soapy water and thorough rinsing and/or they can be washed in the dishwasher. Lastly, stainless steel is non-ferrous (won’t rust, tarnish, or leach harmful metallic residue into the dog’s food or water), long-lasting, durable, and shatter-proof. You can still find fun, fancy, and attractive bowls with an enameled surface; just be sure that it is bacteria resistant. If you use a circulating water fountain, look for one with a charcoal filter and a stainless bowl for drinking – and clean it frequently. If you must use any other type of dish for your dog, bamboo is acceptable. It is a natural fibrous matter that is inherently antimicrobial and does not harbor harmful bacteria.

How you feed your pets is just as important as what you feed them, so be sure to Feed Right!