According to the National Safety Federation (NSF), pet bowls and toys carry coliform bacteria, including Staph bacteria, yeast, and mold. Additionally, an (unscientific) survey from Petco found that almost one-third of pet owners do not know the extent of contamination that their pet toys contain.
One out of five owners said in Petco's survey that they wait a month to clean their pet's dishes—which is, frankly, gross. Pet bowls rank fourth on NSF's top ten dirtiest items in the home, and number seven on Health eNews.
It's recommended to scrub your pet bowls at least once a day with soap and hot water. Other pet items with high-ranking germ counts are bedding, toys, and litter boxes. Bedding needs to be cleaned at least once a month and toys should be replaced often. Hard toys should be washed with soap and water and bleach to disinfect. Soft toys can be washed with your regular laundry as often as needed.
One in five pet parents in the Petco survey also believe they never have to replace a litter box, but replacing your cat's litter box every year reduces the risk of hosting bacteria and parasites.
All pet items are at risk for yeast, mold, Salmonella, E. coli, and Staph germs, so properly cleaning them are a good way to keep you and your pets healthy.