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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

April 29, 2011, 6:50 p.m., EDT

Owners Urged to Keep Pet Toys Clean

By David Alderton

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Dog and cat owners in the U.K. are being advised to ensure their pets’ toys are regularly cleaned, as a new analysis indicated that bacteria levels on these products can be unacceptably high. Research carried out for Microban Europe on 27 different plastic and rubber dog and cat toys showed that most items tested had high bacteria counts. Among the most common bacteria likely to be found on pet toys are Pseudomonas and Bacillus.

“Pet toys will be very prone to the growth of bacteria, often carried around in the mouths of pets and left unattended for quite long periods, sometimes indoors in warm conditions where bacteria can multiply very quickly,” said Dr. Nicholas Moon, director of Technical and Regulatory Affairs at Microban Europe. ”The potential danger of bacteria growing on a pet’s toy exists both for the pet and also for the owner who handles the toy when they play with their pet. In our experience, few owners wash these toys regularly, if at all. Many just lie on the floor around the house or in the garden,” he continued. “The tests showed that there were high concentrations of bacteria on the vast majority of pet toys. Only a few were kept properly clean.

Owners Urged to Keep Pet Toys Clean”Pet owners come into close contact with their pets as part of an affectionate relationship with them but many people who regularly wash their pets’ bowls never think to wash their toys,” he added. “It is something of a hygiene blind spot”.

Preventing the Problem

Recent research by Microban Europe indicated that 60 percent of owners would be interested in being able to purchase pet accessories with antibacterial protection if they could, but at present, Europe is lagging behind the U.S. in this area. The company stated it already has a successful track record in the U.S. pet products sector, where its protection is used at the manufacturing stage by Petmate.  Microban Europe’s antibacterial protection is designed to be incorporated into products during production, providing durable antibacterial and antifungal protection that lasts the useful life of the product. The company reported it uses a wide range of technologies to suit each specific application, but predominantly makes use of 3G Silver.

A dedicated certification program was created to ensure quality testing is regularly carried out on all products carrying Microban branding and that antibacterial claims are technically supported, according to the company.

“Pet products of all kinds are obvious applications for the use of Microban  technology,” Dr. Moon said. “While our treatments should never replace normal hygiene precautions such as thoroughly washing clean a pet toy or bowl, they can play an important part in inhibiting the growth of potentially harmful bacteria, safeguarding the health of both owners and pets alike.”

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