Dog bowls as dirty as toilets?

Photo of Dominic Genetti
A beagle puppy eats its food at a home in Poland. 

A beagle puppy eats its food at a home in Poland. 

Iryna Khabliuk / EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm

If you're not cleaning your dog's eating and drinking bowls regularly, you're putting you and your pooch's health at risk. 

The new claim comes from a study put together by North Carolina State University that surveyed 417 dog owners and the results of a swab taken from their pet's food bowls. The study was published via Plos One

While just under 5% said they were aware of FDA guidelines for their pets and knew they should regularly clean their bowls for Rex and Fifi, the owners just plain didn't. Results also showed 22% of owners cleaned bowls weekly, and 12% did it daily. And there were also 18% of those surveyed that said they wash bowls less than every three months or not at all.

Additional information shows bacteria found is more than or equivalent to the bacteria found in a toilet. 

Health experts recommend humans wash their hands before and after serving their K-9s food to avoid cross-contamination of any germs and viruses that you or they may be susceptible to. Immunocompromised individuals are at a higher risk. 

The results from the study showed 34% of those surveyed wash their hands after feeding their dogs.