How Often Should You Clean a Dog’s Water Bowl?


Our dog’s are our best friends. They come to us when we need them.

They show us love, when no one else will.

Their loyalty is unbound.

Their devotion is unparalleled.

So why do we more often then not neglect to take proper care of our dogs? Especially when it comes to cleaning their water bowls.

According to a research paper published by Hartpury university, a dog’s water bowl is the third most contaminated item in a household, and can act as a gateway for bacteria transmission.

These water bowls are infested full of germs and bacteria and ripe for spreading all across the household if precautionary measures are not taken.

Not only is your dog at risk of getting sick, but so are you!

So this begs the question, how often should you clean a dog’s water bowl?

A dog’s water bowl should be cleaned at least once a day, if not after every meal.

Let’s dive deeper into this, shall we?

How Often Should You Wash a Dog’s Water Bowl

dog's water bowl: two dogs

A dog’s water bowl harbors many harmful bacteria and germs such as the MRSA Super bug and Salmonella.

The longer that the bowl is not cleaned, the more bacteria that can accumulate there.

If left untreated, pretty sure you’ll have an entire colony of germs and bacteria ready to cause mischief for both your dog and your household.

A dog’s water bowl should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a day at the minimum.

Ideally, it should be cleaned after every meal.

In addition, its considered best practice to clean the water bowl at the end of the night if serving your dog dry food, while wet or raw food require immediate cleaning of the bowl after the meal.

This helps keep the bacteria at bay and your dog healthy while minimizing the risk of diseases spreading in the household.

Failure to do so will result in the build up of a slimy nasty rancid algae like substance called biofilm.

Biofilm has got to be one of the most disgusting substances to ever grace the earth!

I’m sorry to say that if you want to have a healthy dog then your going to have to make cleaning their bowl a daily ritual.

How to Wash a Dog’s Water Bowl Properly

puppy drinking from a dog's water bowl

It isn’t a regular cleaning session when your washing your dog’s water bowl, its a sanitation session.

All that buildup of biofilm, germs, and bacteria is gonna to need a good thorough cleaning.

Hot soapy water should be used, similar to what you would use when washing dishes to try and sanitize the heck out of your dog bowl and get rid of those annoying pests and germs from returning.

A soft sponge or rag should be used when scrubbing the bowl to avoid scratching it. You don’t want more bacteria and germs from breeding and harvesting there now do ya?

No need for fancy cleaning products, regular dish detergent soap will more than do the job. Save your money for other luxuries.

If you get bored of using regular dish soap to kill the suckers or they just won’t go away, then it’s time to bring in the big guns!

Take about a tablespoon of bleach and mix it in with a gallon of water. Then soak the dog bowl in the bleach solution for about 10-15 minutes.

Some people recommend that you just chuck the dog bowl into the dishwasher and put it on the highest setting, but do you really want to risk cross contamination of your dog’s bowl with your own dishes?

This sanitation session should put the final nail in the coffin for these despicable germs lurking in your dog’s bowl.

Now its very important after you’ve done washing the dog bowl to allow them to be air dried.

Also make sure you don’t cross contaminate anything with the dog food or bowl, otherwise they will also need to be sanitized as well.

You don’t think you want to do anymore cleaning now, do you?

Once your done with the cleaning session, there should be nothing left except a graveyard of dead bacteria and germs.

I know this cleaning session sounds like a real pain in the butt, but hear me out.

There is another option out there.

Disposable Dog Bowls

If you just don’t have the time to clean your dog’s water bowl every night or your just lazy and hate doing dishes then this is your solution.

Now if your into the whole protecting the environment thing, you may say “but wait, aren’t I gonna to contribute to the environmental problem and cause a buildup of trash?”

Luckily for you, they’ve been hard at work and now they even have biodegradable disposable bowls!!!

No more feeling guilty for chucking things in the trash.

Isn’t that amazing?

And they don’t even cost an arm and leg neither.

Now you can sleep well at night, knowing that you didn’t cause any harm to our environment.

Here’s a few disposable dog bowls that you can purchase from amazon.

Vet-Grade Biodegradable Disposable Pet Bowls-These disposable pet bowls are non-toxic, germ-free, leak-proof, and even allergen-free to help keep your pet safe.

Kinn Kleanbowl Nourish Pet Refill Food & Water Bowls– These eco-friendly dog bowls are made out of sugar cane fibers and completely 100% recyclable. They are also soak-proof and compostable.

Here’s another idea:

If your not too keen on washing the bowls every day, and don’t want to by disposable dog bowls, you can may consider buying multiple dog bowls and just rotating them for each day of the week.

This way you aren’t required to clean the dog bowl every night.

Selecting The Best Dog Bowls to Prevent Bacteria

dog's water bowl

If disposable dog bowls isn’t your thing, then you’ll love this section.

With so many options out there on the market today, it’s tough to choose among the many choices available when it comes to dog bowls.

Different materials used in the production of a water bowl could be the difference between a late night evening visit to the vet or a happy and healthy dog ready to lick you goodnight.

When shopping for a water bowl for your dog, try to stay away from plastic and ceramic bowls. They can be easily scratched and damaged, which allows bacteria to thrive within the bowls.

Plastic is by far the worse culprit, and can house the highest amount of bacteria due to ease of scratching the bowls. They are also the hardest to clean thoroughly. If your currently using a plastic bowl, make sure that you thoroughly clean them and replace them often or switch to a different type of bowl.

In addition, there are plastic bowl inserts that you can purchase for your plastic bowls. It may not be quite as environmentally friendly as some of the other options out there, but it is an option nonetheless.

While plastic gets a bad rep for housing the highest amount of bacteria, ceramic bowls on the other hand have been found to contain the most harmful bacteria such as E.coli and MRSA according to Hartpury university.

These bowls although more durable and less scratch resistant compared to plastic, are also subject to scratches and even breaking when dropped.

Instead, stick with stainless stain. It has developed quite the reputation over the years as being a very reliable dog water bowl with much less bacteria compared to plastic and ceramic.

Stainless stain bowls also can last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance. This translates into significant cost savings that you can then use to spoil your dog silly.

Here are a few recommendations for stainless steel water bowls:

AmazonBasics Stainless Steel Dog Bowl-These inexpensive dog bowls are rust resistant, designed to not tip over, and even dish washer safe! They even come in a set of two.

Van Ness Stainless Steel Large Dish– These dog bowls are ideally sized for large dogs. It features 6 gauge durable stainless stain, and is even slide-proof with bonded rubber at the bottom of the dog bowl.


Well there you have it folks, the secret to keeping your dog’s water bowl clean and spotless while killing those pesky germs hiding deep within your dog’s bowl.

Let’s summarize everything:

  • Avoid using plastic and ceramic water bowls
  • Stainless steel water bowls are the best for keeping bacteria at bay
  • Dog bowls should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a day
  • Hot soapy water along with a soft sponge should be used to clean the dog water bowl
  • The dog bowl should be left to air dry
  • Disposable dog bowls are also available if you don’t want to wash dog bowls every day

I know its a pain in the butt to have to wash your dog’s water bowl every day, but its the only sure fire way of getting rid of all that yucky icky bacteria hiding out in your dog’s water bowl.

At the end of the day, your dog will be extra grateful towards the love and care that you have shown them through your devotion of giving them a clean water bowl.

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