According to a new study from researchers in North Carolina, the majority of dog owners in the United States do not follow the Food and Drug Administration’s pet food and handling guidelines, and less than 5% are even aware that they exist. The study included 417 dog owners who took a survey about their pet feeding habits and research regarding 68 pet food dish swabs. Overall, participants demonstrated low levels of adherence to hygiene-related practices such as hand, bowl, and utensil washing.
FDA guidelines recommend dog food bowls be washed on a daily basis, but study results found only 12% of those surveyed practice that behavior daily, while 22% said they only wash their pet’s bowl once a week, and 18% said they only wash it once every three months or less.
Nearly half of those surveyed kept their dog food within five feet of human food, and about a third feed their pet where human food is prepared. Researchers advise against these two activities because due to the fact that pets and pet food can possess bacteria such as E.coli and salmonella.
Even though we consider our pets part of the family, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be careful when preparing their food. Our pets deserve a healthy food environment just like we do- we hope this brings awareness within pet homeowners. Don’t forget to leave treats for your pets!