Plastic Pet Food/ Water Bowls
Recent scientific interest in plastic and human health has prompted some pet care bloggers to suggest it’s safest to ditch plastic food bowls in favour of ceramic or stainless steel bowls.
There are two reasons:
a) Basic Hygiene
Food and water bowls should always be cleaned daily (we think best simply once your pet has finished its food from the bowl). Plastic bowls are porous, meaning they absorb materials at a microscopic level. This may make them harder to rid of bacteria by cleaning. Just in the same way food hygiene rules apply for people, they do for pets to avoid gastro-intestinal, skin and other problems caused by food contaminated with unhealthy bacteria.
b) Controversy over Bisephanol A
Bisephanol A is a chemical used to make a type of hard, transparent plastic called polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is used in the manufacture of many plastic food storage and consumption items – reusable water bottles and baby bottles, plastic tableware, plastic food storage containers, etc. It is also found in epoxy compounds used to line tin cans. (1). Questions arose in recent years as to whether the chemical could migrate into foods and whether this posed any risk to human health. International opinion is currently sharply divided on the issue.
Canadian authorities are focusing efforts to protect newborn babies and infants less than 18 months. They are drafting legislation to “ban the importation, sale and advertising of polycarbonate baby bottles” (2). Bisephanol A was found to “harm fish and aquatic organisms over time” at low levels (3) . Its use in canned foods/drinks is also to be regulated.
The Americans are still evaluating evidence. The FDA issued a message for consumers 31/08/2009 stating close liason with the Canadian authorities but for now that “exposure levels to food contact materials, including for infants and children, are below those that may cause health effects”. Their position does indicate however they will continue to review evidence as it becomes available (4).
The Europeans do not appear to be taking any action to further regulate or ban Bisephanol A or polycarbon plastic (5).
If concerned, pet owners can buy ceramic or stainless steel feeding/ water bowls. Some pet supplies retailers are realising consumers want Bisephanol A free pet products and using the phrase “BPA free” in marketing.
IMPORTANT: of course no information from the internet can ever be a substitute for advice from your vetinarian on any aspect of animal health. The opinions expressed here are for broad educational purposes only.
Sorry to our furry friends: unfortunately, if there’s a health concern, it does mean getting into the nasty carrier box and going to see the nasty man or lady with the funny smelling gloves!!
Posted by Norma De Bloom
Dog with blue bowl http://www.sxc.hu/profile/hcmlopes Stainless steel bowls http://www.sxc.hu/profile/heltje
1. Health Canada. (2008). Bisephanol A Fact Sheet. . [online]. Government of Canada. Available at:
2. Health Canada. (2008) Government of Canada Takes Action on Another Chemical of Concern: Bisphenol A. [online]. Government of Canada. Available at:
3. Health Canada. (2008) Government of Canada Protects Families With Bisphenol A Regulations. [online]. Government of Canada. Available at:
4. FDA. (2009). Bisphenol A (BPA) Message for Consumers. [online]. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at:
5. Scientific Committee on Food (2002). Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Food on Bisphenol A. [online]. European Commission: Health & Consumer Protection Directorate-General. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/food/fs/sc/scf/out128_en.pdf
Special warning on buying a puppy
Cute, maybe with a starter-pack thrown in, but where has the puppy in the pet store come from?
OK, so this isn’t exactly about products, but for dogs in particular, its’ so important we just couldn’t miss it out. Beware of puppy mills. When you go to buy a book, you got a bookstore, when you buy shoes, you go to a shoe shop, and so on…. The amazing thing is, dog charities on both sides of the Atlantic advise against buying dogs by just walking into a pet store and picking out your favourite pup because of the likelihood it will have come from a puppy mill . These are breeding facilities which literally churn out puppies for profit. Female dogs are used to produce litter after litter, without adequate recovery time. Puppies are sold from just 8 weeks old to pet stores, or through adverts, without having been properly socialised – or checked for illness. Puppy mill puppies are known to have higher rates of sickness and hereditary defects. None of the dogs involved usually receive proper care, attention or socialisation (1).
For those in the states, the ASPCA advises not to buy from a pet store unless you can actually meet the dog’s mother (1). For those in the UK, the Breeding and Sale of Dogs Act should put a stop to the puppy mills activities, stipulating only one litter per year and mandatory vetinary inspections for breeder’s facilities. However, the UK Kennel Club issues the following cautions which indicate the law is, er, perhaps not entirely effective, shall we say (2). They advise never to purchase a dog from a pet shop as they are often supplied by ‘dealers’, who are agents for puppy mills. They also advise never to buy a dog from “the back of a van at a motorway service station or from an airport car park, such as Heathrow, as this is how many dealers operate”. Advertisers selling multiple dog breeds may also (but not always) be ‘dealers’.
Rehoming a dog
Since this is a big problem for dogs, we think the time has never been better than to considering to adopt a dog from an animal rescue centre. People are sometimes put off the idea that a ‘rescue dog’ always comes with behavioural problems. This simply isn’t always the case and good centres these days offer behavioural profiles of their animals and work with potential adoptees to find a dog that will perfectly suit their lifestyle. In any event, there can never be a 100% guarantee of any dog’s temperament or behaviour. Another advantage is rescue dogs usually come fully vaccinated, neutered, microchipped and with full vetinary checks. So there should be more assurances of the dog’s state of health.
Another myth that can put people off dog adoption is thinking they won’t be able to rehome their favourite breed of dog because there won’t be any available! However, less well known than the big famous charities are those rescue organisations that specialise in by breed alongside the general centres. You may well find your ideal pooch, even if he or she is a ‘posh’ breed!
In the USA, try http://www.allaboutdogsandcats.com/Dogs/BreedRescue.html
For greyhounds worldwide, try http://www.greyhoundrescue.co.uk/World.htm
For other breeds in the UK, try http://www.ukdogrescue.com/breedrescuelistae.htm
Finally, it may be worth checking the website or calling the secretaries of specific breed enthusiast clubs. Sometimes even pedigree dogs need rehoming due to unforeseen circumstances and some clubs may be able to an enthusiastic owner with a needy dog. All of the breeds below and more will be waiting at a rescue centre or on the books of a club…
Posted by Norma & Joe De Bloom - wishing EVERY dog a happy home
Top puppy (under title) http://www.sxc.hu/profile/biggirl90 Puppy with paws at bars http://www.sxc.hu/profile/sue_r_b Sleeping puppy on blue blanket http://www.sxc.hu/profile/jwestyp
Cocker spaniel puppy http://www.sxc.hu/profile/sofamonkez Shiba Inu puppy http://www.sxc.hu/profile/gentrinity Terrier cross puppy http://www.sxc.hu/profile/BeverlyLR White (Jack Russel cross?) dog looking over shoulder http://www.sxc.hu/profile/smcarli Black puppy http://www.sxc.hu/profile/just4you Baby bulldog kisses! http://www.sxc.hu/profile/coolza Minature Greyhound baby http://www.sxc.hu/profile/swisschee Bichon frisee http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Brittyyy
Useful fact sheets
1. ASPCA. What Is A Puppy Mill. ASPCA.
2. The Kennel Club. Puppy farms, puppy dealers and pet shops. [online] The Kennel Club.