Dog owners, read this — I’ll be brief.
The Daily Mail (UK) reports:
They may be considered a man's best friend, but dogs could be giving their owners more than just love and affection.
Scientists have discovered their water bowls can harbour life-threatening bacteria, including E. coli, salmonella and MRSA.
Experts have now warned the evidence is 'clear' to show dog water bowls can pose a risk of infection to humans, as well as pooches.
Researchers at Hartpury University (Gloucester, UK) tested three types of bowl sold across the UK; plastic, stainless steel, and ceramic bowls were tested. Their findings?
Results revealed dangerous bacteria was most likely to thrive in plastic bowls, with the cheap containers harbouring the highest quantities of bugs.
However, the most harmful bacteria species, including strains of E. coli and MRSA, were most frequently found in ceramic bowls. Stainless steel bowls were also tested.
The study also found (unsurprisingly) that longer-used bowls were home to more bacteria, in terms of both the quantity of bacteria and the variety of species found.
I found this part particularly concerning (emphasis added):
The study comes after University of Copenhagen research in April suggested dogs may cause urinary tract infections (UTIs), such as cystitis.
Two patients receiving hospital treatment for the condition carried the same infection-causing bacteria that was found in their dogs' faeces.
Although one of the patients recovered after almost a year, their dog still harboured the bacteria, which suggests it is a permanent carrier.
I’m not one to overreact to new studies, but it would seem prudent for dog owners to both clean AND replace their pets’ water bowls more often; the article seems to suggest that stainless steel bowls may be the best choice. We use stainless steel bowls for our dog and cat; after reading this article, I’ll be putting them in the dishwasher MUCH more often.