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The safety and health of your pet are our top concern when they stay at Fieldstone Animal Inn. We have required vaccinations in order to keep your pet safe from developing sicknesses or transmitting germs to other pets during their stay, but the focus on health does not end at vaccine requirements.

An area of pet care that is often overlooked is the importance of cleaning dog bowls regularly. We understand the potential risk involved with not changing and sanitizing bowls regularly which is why we have implemented steps to avoid this danger. But this health risk does not only exist at boarding facilities, understanding regular bowl cleaning for your homelife will also help keep your pup safe:

Bacteria Growth & Potential Sickness

Throughout the day your dog licks, nibbles on, and rolls in endless smells and substances which then attach to their mouth and fur. These smells and substances contain bacteria and germs that are then transferred to food and water bowls when they eat and drink from, lick and paw at them.

If not regularly and properly cleaned, these bowls can serve as Petrie dishes for your pet and result in continuous sickness and infection.

How to Clean Dog Bowls

It is recommended to clean dog bowls daily if serving dry food and after each use if using wet food. If your dog bowl is not made of dishwasher-safe material or you rather scrub the bowl, hand washing is a perfect choice.

If you use a plastic dog bowl it is best to avoid any scratchy sponges so that you do not scratch the bowl and create a breeding ground for germs. Once you have gathered your sponge and soap you will clean the bowl just as you would any other dish, scrubbing it with hot, soapy water until it is spotless.

The second option is to simply place the dishwasher-safe bowl into the dishwasher and remove it once fully cleaned!

In addition to regular dog bowl cleaning, it is also recommended that a weekly or bi-weekly sterilization is performed to help kill germs. This can be done using a regular disinfectant by allowing the bowl to soak in for about 10 minutes before thoroughly rinsing and air drying.

Dog Bowl Types and Alternative

There is an abundance of dog bowl materials that can be used, with some options being safer when it comes to the ability to thoroughly clean.

Stainless Steel

This material is popular for cooking and serving food beyond the realm of dog bowls due to their non-porous construction that does not allow bacteria to infiltrate. Additionally, this material bowl is easy to clean and can sustain high heat allowing it to be washed in the dishwasher


Ceramic bowls are a popular option since they are often aesthetically designed with many companies offering customization options. But while these bowls may be eye-catching, ensuring they are safe for your pup is more complex than with stainless steel. To begin, it is essential to confirm that the bowl of choice is made with a safe glaze to consume food off of. Many ceramic bowls are not food-safe due to the chemicals in the glaze.

Once you have found a bowl that can be used, you will need to continuously check the bowl for cracks and chips. If the glaze is removed those areas of the bowl will become more susceptible to growing bacteria and the chipped pieces can be a risk for dog ingestion. It is recommended that if your dog enjoys playing with its food bowl or pawing it around, avoid the use of ceramic bowls.

Plastic & Slow Feeders

Studies have found that plastic bowls hold onto the most material out of the popular dog bowl material choices. This occurs because plastic wears easily over time and forms grooves, dents, and scratches that bacteria will call home.

Plastic slow-feeder bowls can become grimy very quickly if not cleaned frequently since the food and water stays in the reservoir for long periods of time. It is best to make it a habit of cleaning the bowl and reservoir every time you go to refill the food and water, but the more frequently it is cleaned the better.


If you do not want to worry about remembering to clean your dog’s bowl frequently or don’t want to hassle with it when on the go or on vacation, disposable dog bowls may be the ideal choice. Using disposable bowls for each mealtime will help eliminate the bacteria growth that may occur in other dog bowl types. There are many disposable dog bowl options available on the market with many promoting that they are biodegradable and recyclable.

Here at Fieldstone Animal Inn, we understand the risks that not cleaning dog bowls regularly or efficiently can have. We mainly use disposable Kinn bowls to ensure that not only the potential for bacteria growth is eliminated but that germs do not have the ability to transmit from animal to animal. We do offer stainless steel and slow feeders, which are cleaned regularly if your dog is used to using those bowl choices. Ensuring your pet is healthy and safe is our top priority!

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A Boutique Pet Care Experience
JA wonderful environment with the most caring folks. My husky absolutely loves it. Couldn’t recommend more highly.
Sam S.
Conveniently located in Anne Arundel county near BWI airport.
Location 174 Obrecht Road Millersville, MD 21108
Hours Mon - Sat: 7am – 7pm Thu: Closed 12pm – 2pm Sun: 8am – 10am & 5pm – 7pm