You Aren't Cleaning Your Dog's Bowls Often Enough

You love your dog, so of course, you want the best for them. You wouldn't feed them off of a trashcan, would you? Most owners simply don't realize how many germs collect and live in dog food bowls. Plus, dogs tend to eat anything gross they can find anyways, so it doesn't seem like a big deal. Unfortunately, a lot more work needs to be put into cleaning the bowls, and some gross things need to be said about dog bowls.

Dog food bowls are actually on the top 10 list of dirtiest household items. Trashcans don't even come close. You need to be washing the dog bowl every single day with as hot of water as you can clean with without burning yourself. Then, it needs to air-dry so that it doesn't get more contaminated from paper towels. Lastly, it needs to be sanitized once a week in the dishwasher. Oh, and every time you clean the bowl in the sink, you need to sanitize the sink after. On top of all of this, you need to wash your hands before and after cleaning the bowl.

If your dog eats raw food, you have even more work cut out for you. I know, I know. You need to clean the dog bowl after every single meal instead of once a day. This doesn't mean simply washing with hot water, this means sanitizing it. Anything you used to prepare the dog food with also needs to be sanitized completely, after every single meal. It might seem a bit overboard, but raw foods are much more dangerous than cooked foods are.

If you think these directions seem unnecessary, you need to know what types of germs like to live in your dog's bowl. Salmonella, E. coli, staph, parasites, yeast, and mold can be living and be collecting in that innocent-looking bowl.

However, there is a silver lining to all of this nastiness. Specific materials can ward away germs better than others can. Stainless steel bowls should be the go-to, but ceramic bowls can also be used. If you go with a ceramic bowl, ensure that no cracks are in it, because bacteria can collect in them. The worst material for bowls is plastic, as it practically welcomes bacteria and can be much more difficult to get it to stay clear even after cleaning.

This may all sound a bit scary, but as long as you clean your dog's bowl, you should be fine. Those who serve their dogs raw food need to clean much more and be more cautious, but it is still doable. A simple washing of the hands, the dish, and then the hands again once a day doesn't take long. Plus, the sanitizing for normal food only needs to be done once a week. Think of it more like a plate you would eat off of, but with less maintenance!

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Benefits of Fish Oil Supplement for Your Dog

What is Fish Oil All About?

Fish oil is extracted from the skins of albacore tuna, anchovies, black cod, herring, mackerel, salmon, and sardines. It contains the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that are known to provide health benefits to people and animals. Dogs don't naturally synthesize much omega-3 so supplements are given.

Some of the benefits are:

  • Anti-inflammatory/ joint health: Fish oil reduces inflammation caused by arthritis. It lubricates joints, helping ease pain. These benefits may decrease use of pain medications.
  • Cognitive functions are improved through the lowering of triglycerides and increase of anti-oxidants.
  • Allergy relief, reduced shedding, and better skin health reduce itching, dandruff, and "hot spots".
  • Improved vision due to the omega-3s.
  • Kidney and heart health due to less inflammation and fewer triglycerides.
  • Immune system support to ensure less auto-immune disease.
  • Preliminary tests show that Fish oil supplements may slow the growth of cancer.

When given to pregnant and nursing mothers, fish oil has been shown to improve the growth of brain and nerve cells in puppies. These pups also develop better vision and cognitive functions as they grow.

Fishy Facts to Keep in Mind

Omega-3s are fragile fatty acids that oxidize readily, compromising their benefit. The oils should be protected from heat, light, and air by storing them in dark glass bottles in a cool place, and used within a month or two.

The dosage is important. Colorado State University has set guidelines for dosing dogs and cats safely. It will take at least three weeks for the effect to become evident. If not, the dosage may be increased. There is no "toxic" level, but too much can cause fish breath, diarrhea or gastrointestinal upset. Just back off the dosage and things should be fine in a day or two.

Fish oil can slow down clotting, so don't supplement if your dog is on blood thinners. Cod liver oil is not the same as fish oil, and should not be administered. Be sure to check with your vet before making any changes.