Could Your Pet’s Belongings Be Making the Whole Family Sick?

While you won’t catch a cold or a cough from your pet (or give them one for that matter), you may just be in for some other kind of troubles.

Keep in mind that the overall health benefits a fur-friend can bring to the family, certainly outweigh the bad. To learn more about how owning a pet can be good for your health, click here for more. 

But the question here is: Could your pet’s belongings be making the whole family sick?

From slobber covered dog toys, to dirty food bowls, and smelly dog beds – sounds kind of gross when you put it that way.

And in fact, some pet belongings are among the dirtiest items in your house, unless you have a soiled nappy lying around somewhere…

What’s worse is that neglecting to clean or replace pet products can result in a home filled with dirt, bacteria, allergens and parasites. 

So, if you’d like to learn how often you should clean your pet’s things, how they could make your family sick, and also when it’s time to throw things away, then keep on reading.  

dog in house

Bowls & Feeding Accessories

How often do you clean your pet’s food bowl? After every meal? Once a week? Once a month? Never?

According to a study by the National Safety Federations (NSF), pet bowls are one of the germiest items in your home!

Dirty food bowls that have been left out can attract all sorts or rodents that could put your pet and family at risk, plus they also build up with nasty bacteria that can really upset your pet’s tummy. 

To stop this from happening, it's best to wash your pet’s food bowl and water bowl daily with hot water and mild dish soap.

And if the bowls are dishwasher safe, simply toss them in.

During times when your pet’s bowls are being cleaned, it may be useful to have an extra food bowl and water dish on hand.

Additionally, be sure to replace dishes and bowls if they are cracked, chipped, or scratched. This is not only a safety hazard, but also runs the risk of bacteria and grime building up in the crevasses. 

dogs eating

Beds & Blankets

Now for bedding, think about it, would you like to sleep in a dirty, smelly, damp place?

Probably not, and neither does your fur-friends.

Your pet’s bedding should be washed and aired at least one a week, as this rids all of the bacteria and allergens your dogs and cats bring in, plus gives your pet a nice clean and cosy place to rest. 

Cleaning you pet’s bed and blankets on a regular basis will also minimise odours and help to keep your pet’s skin and coat healthy, and cleaner for longer.

Wash your pet’s bedding with a mild, perfume-free detergent using the hottest recommended water temperature (in a load separate from your own clothing).

And if you notice any tears or other damage on their bedding, such as loose stuffing, this makes for a perfect breeding ground for fleas and other parasites, so it’s recommended to replace these items completely. 

dog on bed


Along with food bowls, pet toys are also among the top 10 germiest things in your home.

Your dog’s favourite squeaky toy can be a source of coliform bacteria (including Staph bacteria), yeast, and mold. Ew!

So be careful if you have young children around who like to put things in their mouths, as sharing Fido’s chew bone probably isn’t the best idea.

And if you or your family is handling your pet’s toys, ensure everyone remembers to wash their hands afterwards. 

This may seem very cautious, but pets can transmit a range of ‘zoonotic’ or animal-to-human diseases, especially if their parasite protection is not up to date. For a wide range of discount pet parasite protection products and pet supplies, visit

To also help avoid germs spreading, rubber toys can be placed in the top shelf of the dishwasher to be cleaned. Alternatively, you can hand wash toys with hot water and mild dish soap or vinegar, or simply toss them in the washing machine on the sanitising cycle.

Make sure you rotate your pet’s toys regularly, and throw away any toys that are ripped or have stuffing or squeakers that are starting to come out.

Also, be aware that rubber toys that have been chewed to the point of having sharp edges should also be thrown away, as they could injure your pet’s mouth and stomach.

dog with ball

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