How do you protect pet bowls from bacterial contaminants?

There have been many outbreaks in humans after exposure. coli – and Salmonella, contaminated dog foods that are more likely to be found in commercial and homemade diets from raw foods. These diets often involve the need to prepare pet food in the kitchen. The study was published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE.
But guidelines on how pet owners can safely use their food and dishes are limited, and their effectiveness is unclear. The authors of the new study therefore investigated the eating habits of dog owners and analyzed the impact of the United States Food and Drug Administration. hygiene protocols on soiling the dog’s plate.

“We realized that we all have different storage and hygiene practices for our pets,” said Emily Louisana, one of the study’s authors, and a junior veterinary dietitian in casual nutritionist conversations. veterinarians. “When we realized the (FDA’s) recommendations were relatively unknown, even among professionals, we wanted to see what other pet owners were doing.”

Luisana is a member of the Veterinary Advisory Board of Tailored, a dog food company run by pet nutritionists. Caitlyn Getty, co-author of another study, NomNomNow Inc. He is a veterinary scientist. , a company that focuses on pet gut health and proper nutrition. No company funded this study and the authors reported no competing interests. The study focuses on owner interest in any dog ​​food, not the food brands themselves.

consciousness of action

Researchers found that 4.7% of 417 dog owners surveyed were aware of Food and Drug Administration guidelines on pet food consumption and dishwashing hygiene – 43% of respondents stored and washed pet food. dog food within 1.5 meters of human food. feeding dog food on surfaces intended for human use, 33% held hands and 33% prepared dog food.

Fifty owners (out of a total of 68 dogs) participated in a ship contamination experiment for approximately eight days. The authors scanned the boxes for groups of bacteria called bacterial clusters. The calculated air plate then divided owners into three groups: Group A followed FDA advice, which included washing hands before and after handling pet food, not using the bowl for dining rooms, wash the bowl and pot rooms with soap and hot water after use. , and discard the food. Specially store uneaten food and dry pet food in their original bag.

Group B had to follow Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines for pets and humans, which required washing hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds; scrape food from dishes before washing; Wash dishes with soap and water hotter than 160°F (71°C) for at least 30 seconds and dry thoroughly with a clean towel or using a National Sanitation Foundation approved dishwasher for washing and drying.

Group C received no instructions, but were told when the second scan would take place.

The study revealed that the practices followed by groups (A) and (B) resulted in a significant reduction in the contamination of food utensils compared to group (C). Dishes washed in hot water or in the dishwasher had 1.5 units less on the soil scale than dishes washed in cold or lukewarm water. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for cleaning and sterilization are based on achieving a 5 log reduction in bacterial population for human meals. 90% to 99% reduction of equal microorganisms; A 5 log reduction means that 99.999% of the microorganisms will be killed.
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In group C, vessel contamination increased between smears. None of the Louisiana Group C owners had washed their dogs’ bowls in the eight days since the authors collected the first bacteria sample, “despite knowing they had guidelines from the FDA and that samples from the bowl would be taken again,” he said.

“It shows that raising awareness of the current recommendations alone is not enough,” he added.

Reduce the risk of contamination

The authors said they believe this education is especially important for at-risk populations, such as immunocompromised people.

Pet food containers rank among the most contaminated household items, sometimes with close bacterial loads. o toilets, according to studies published over the past fifteen years.

However, in the current study, 20% of people in groups A and B said they were more likely to follow long-term hygiene instructions, and even fewer – 8% – said they were more likely to follow all instructions given.

“Our study shows that pet owners look to their veterinarians, pet food stores and pet food manufacturers for information on pet food storage. and hygiene guidelines,” Luisana said. He added that pet food companies that examine their food both in the lab and at home, then put storage and usage recommendations on labels or on their websites will be a start.

More studies on its effects are needed, but Luisana said she hopes pet owners and veterinarians will use the results of this study to examine the impact of food hygiene on health and well-being. be pets, immunocompromised people and immunocompromised people. immunity. zoonoses spread between animals and humans.

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