Experts Warn That Your Pet's Food Bowl Is a Big Infection Risk
THE 6TH OF APRIL, 2022 (HealthDay News) — If you're looking for a way to feel better, Do you clean your dog's food bowl on a daily basis?
Do you wash your hands before and after filling up the container?
Do you prepare Fido's food somewhere other than where you make your own?
According to researchers from North Carolina State University, if you responded no to any of these questions, you may be jeopardizing your health and that of your pet.
They polled over 400 dog owners about their animal feeding practices and swabbed their pets' food dishes for bacteria for their latest study.
To put it clearly, the findings suggest a need to educate pet owners about pet food handling and hygiene "to prevent bacterial contamination of dishes, especially for high-risk groups, as researchers wrote in PLOS ONE on April 6.
Fewer than 5% of dog owners polled were aware of the US Food and Drug Administration's pet and human food safety requirements, and many were not following them at all.
After feeding their dog, only one-third of pet owners indicated they wash their hands. About 22% said they washed their pet's dish once a week, while 12% said they did it every day. However, 18% stated they didn't wash their dishes more than once every three months, and others didn't wash them at all.
(The FDA recommends washing scoops and bowls with hot water and soap after each use and lathering up before and after feeding your pet.)
It's terrible that so many people were unaware of it, study co-author Dr. Korinn Saker, a professor of clinical nutrition in NC State's College of Veterinary Medicine, said, adding that pet food containers should include safe-feeding advice to encourage awareness.
She stated, I believe the pet industry should take forward.Their label is jam-packed with information.
Pets and pet food can transmit viruses like E. coli and Salmonella, which can cause serious sickness in immunocompromised people and a bad case of diarrhea in pets, according to Saker.
The researchers also swabbed 68 dog dishes belonging to 50 pet owners to check for microorganisms as part of the study. Saker explained that they did not isolate and identify specific germs, but rather documented their presence.
Three groups of owners were formed. The FDA's pet food handling rules were to be followed by Group A. For both pets and people, Group B followed FDA criteria. Group C did not obey any rules.
A week later, the crew tested the dogs' plates again. Bacteria levels in Group A and B bowls were much lower than in Group C bowls. Hot water was shown to be more effective than cold or lukewarm water when washing bowls.
According to Dr. Aaron Glatt, chief of infectious diseases at Mount Sinai South Nassau in Oceanside, N.Y., the key to avoiding any difficulties for the people in your pet's life is to follow your mother's advice and wash your hands after handling pets, their food, and their dishes.
Even if they come into contact with these bacteria, most healthy people will have no problems, according to Glatt, who was not involved in the study. Immunocompromised people, on the other hand, should be more cautious.
You're going to have problems whenever an immunocompromised person is around microbes and isn't diligent with hygiene, he said. "You could use pet bowls, toilet bowls, sinks, bathrooms, subway rails, and doorknobs instead.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, many Americans have been told that the best way to clean hands is to use soap and water and scrub thoroughly for 20 to 30 seconds. Clean between your toes and under your nails, especially if they're longer.
I think studies like this are important, but I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out that if you're coming into contact with potentially contaminated items — and who would have guessed a dog bowl is a potentially contaminated item? — you wash your hands and don't keep it near food. You wouldn't cook in the same room as your bathroom, Glatt explained.
According to Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, people live in a very germy society.
There is a microbial population everywhere there is moisture, protein, or vegetable matter, and that includes the mouths of all mammals, from humans to dogs to penguins, according to him.
If you walk around and culture the dog bowls, we shouldn't be astonished or extremely surprised to find germs," Schaffner, who was not involved in the study, said.
Nonetheless, he advised against becoming unduly concerned about disease transmission in this manner.
He emphasized the necessity of excellent hand hygiene, just like Glatt, whether you're handling a dog bowl or making your own meal.
While both the A and B research groups learnt the standards for safe pet feeding, only 8% claimed they were likely to follow the cleaning protocols in the long run.
I believed that getting that kind of response was regrettable, researcher Saker remarked.
It may take us undertaking a follow-up study that actually detects the harmful bacteria concentration in these bowls based on how they are or aren't washed and cleansed, she said. But, I suppose, people are people. It's not going to influence their behavior if it didn't have an effect on them.