Microbiological Assessment of Canine Drinking Water and the Impact of Bowl Construction Material

Coralie Wright, Aisling Carroll

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


    The number of pet dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) in the common household is continually rising. The increasingly close contact between humans and cohabitant pets is leading to concerns regarding bacterial transmission of zoonoses. The dog water bowl has been identified as the third most contaminated item within the household, suggesting that it is able to act as a fomite for bacterial transmission, particularly where young or immunocompromised individuals are present. Studies in livestock have identified that water trough construction material influences bacterial count; however no similar research has been conducted for dog water bowls. The objectives of the current study were to identify which dog bowl material, plastic, ceramic or stainless steel, harbours the most bacteria over a 14 day period and whether the species identified varies between bowl materials. The study took place over 6 weeks. A sample of 6, medium sized (10-25kg) dogs, aged 2-7 (mean= 3.8 ± 1.95), was used. All dogs were clinically healthy, housed individually and located within a rural environment. All bowls were purchased brand new and sterilised prior to a two week sampling period. On day 0, day 7 and day 14 swabs were taken from each bowl and 10-fold serial dilutions were conducted on blood agar. The cultured bacteria were subjected to biochemical testing and the most prominent bacteria from day 14 were further identified using PCR. A significant difference was identified for all bowl materials when comparing total CFU/ml between day 0 and day 7 and day 0 and day 14 (p<0.05). No significant difference was identified between total CFU/ml and bowl material (P>0.05), however descriptive statistics suggest that the plastic bowl material maintains the highest bacterial count after 14 days. Several medically important bacteria were identified from the bowls, including MRSA and Salmonella, with the majority of species being identified from the ceramic bowl. This could suggest that harmful bacteria may be able to develop biofilms more successfully on ceramic materials. Further research is required to identify the most suitable or alternative materials for dog water bowls.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018
    Event69th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science - Valamar Resort in Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik, Croatia
    Duration: 27 Aug 201831 Aug 2018


    Conference69th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science
    Abbreviated titleEAAP2018
    Internet address


    Cite this

    Wright, C., & Carroll, A. (2018). Microbiological Assessment of Canine Drinking Water and the Impact of Bowl Construction Material. Poster session presented at 69th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science, Dubrovnik, Croatia.