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Cleaning the plates

Anyone who knows me KNOWS I'm practically a germaphobe and my kitchen hygiene habits are impeccable. That being said (hate that phrase), I allow my dogs to "clean" the plates before going into the dishwasher. I figure they hit the hot soapy water and sanitation cycle before going to the table, so I have no problem with it. HOWEVER, from an outsider's POV, is there an ick factor? Should I refrain from doing this when guests are over?

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  1. Dishwater temps are good for killing germs, I have experienced less colds etc when washing drinking glasses in the dishwasher, especially in the winter during flu season. As for dogs licking dishes, I've seen worse when dogs lick their owners face after a drink in the tolilet bowl!

    1 Reply
    1. re: treb

      One of the nice things about English Bulldogs - they cannot usually reach the toilet bowls, and especially if they are ADA.


    2. I do the same with my cat when she is very interested in my dinner, and my sister-dog gets to clean every ice cream dish used in my parents house. I don't think it's a problem in terms of sanitation, especially if you're using a dishwasher. Still, I wouldn't do it with guests over.

      3 Replies
      1. re: mpjmph

        So, the dog learns to bark at the guest to get him to leave.... because he knows that, when there's guests, he gets no table scraps.....

        1. re: zippypinhead

          In this case, the dog is never in the room when people eat, even immediate family. She goes to her own room during meal times. When it's just immediate family, she joins us in time to "clean" the dishes. If guests are over, she stays in her room until everything is put away. If she behaves through dinner and there are no dishes to lick, she gets a different treat. She really only makes a fuss if she perceives we are holding out (i.e. three people in the room, but only two ice cream bowls). Even then, she knows the phrase "no more" means she's out of luck, and she'll move on to other things.

          1. re: mpjmph

            good training. also why I have zero patience with a friend who gripes about her dog begging, as she slips bits from her plate.

      2. It wouldn't bother me but I avoid the practice because I don't want our dogs to associate our plates with anything that they are allowed to eat.

        5 Replies
        1. re: kengk

          Years ago I would not have agreed - most of the dogs of my acquaintance over the years were routinely given table scraps anyway - until we got our first whippet, who came with stern instructions from the breeder concerning the need to keep dog food and people food strictly separate. This was for both health (the dog's) and discipline reasons; we followed it faithfully, and did our best to keep anyone else from offering tidbits as well. This did not, however, prevent her from showing up whenever I was doing something with chicken, and staring at me with hope in her eyes …

          1. re: Will Owen

            This has been the same for 40 years of English Bulldogs - people food one thing, doggie food a totally different thing, and never shall the twain meet.

            Every itinerary that I print for our house/pet-sitter has a two paragraph section on "dog food" vs "people food."

            I know when she's been bad, as the Bulldogs sit by my chair, salivating, while I eat - a total give away.


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              Eliminating human food also makes for a less gassy pooch!

            2. re: Will Owen

              good practice, some breeds have very delicate systems. a friend had a great whippet who was diabetic, food was definitely an issue. we wanted to be 'nice' to Cato, but also knew it was not in his best interest.

            3. No ick factor to me. My dogs often lick the plate. I do draw the line at keeping the licking confined to the kitchen, never at the table.

              But I think this is one of those "know your audience" type things. If you don't know your guest feelings about animals I would save the sharing for a more private time.

              1. I don't have a problem with it. The more curious of my 2 cats sits on the dishwasher door while I'm putting the dishes in and sniffs everything. He licks the more interesting prospects. However, I keep him away when I'm unloading clean dishes.

                1. Yes, refrain when guests are over.
                  Besides the ick factor, I personally wouldn't want my dog to develop that habit. We don't give him people food much at all. Too many things that can cause him to have a reaction. He eats a brown rice/lamb food. Our cat doesn't eat people food, either.

                  1. Just a little story I heard ... a neighbor always managed to drop by just as dinner was being served. Too polite to send him away, he was often the recipient to a free meal.

                    One evening he stayed later than usual. The wife collected the plates and set them on the floor, leaving them for the dog to have at it. When the dog was through, she calmly stacked the "clean" dishes back in the cabinet and shut the door, all under the watchful eye of the neighbor.

                    He never dropped by for dinner again.

                    1 Reply
                    1. We were at a friends house. When we arrived the family dog was outside licking some other dogs butt. Then the dog enters the house when we do. Then the dog lays on the living room rug licking 'itself'. Then the dog goes into the kitchen and licks it's owners face. Then the owner rubs her face with her hands to wipe the saliva and by now God knows what else off. Then the owner takes a head of lettuce and proceeds to remove the leaves and break them up with her hands to make the salad.
                      I suddenly got a terrible stabbing back pain and we had to leave. We never went to their house to eat again.

                      1 Reply
                      1. As a non-dog owner (who really likes dogs), I'd have to admit that seeing that might give me an internal ick-shiver. I wouldn't say anything and it wouldn't prevent me from accepting any subsequent invitations to your house, but I would have preferred not having witnessed it (even though I would believe my ick to be irrational).

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: hyacinthgirl

                          +1 in every respect. Can't you just scrape the food into the dog's bowl?

                          1. re: rockandroller1

                            +2. While, rationally, I might trust your dishwasher's sanitizing, I still would be icked out. And might choose to meet you at a restaurant for future meals.

                            1. re: rockandroller1

                              < Can't you just scrape the food into the dog's bowl? >

                              That's what I do. It only takes about a minute or so..

                            2. re: hyacinthgirl

                              Everything hyacinthgirl said.

                              I don't understand why a dog needs (wants is a different storey) to lick a plate but then again, I am a cat person.

                              1. re: cleobeach

                                My cat used to do it, too. Why is easy: I ate better than kibble and that canned stuff.

                            3. speaking as someone who has three dogs,
                              there is NO ick factor for me.

                              (just don't let the dogs clean the plates if the food contained: 1) grapes/raisons 2) chocolate and/or 3) xylitol.
                              of the three only the xylitol is HIGHLY poisonous to dogs.)

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: westsidegal

                                You know, I had always heard chocolate was poisonous to dogs. Then our dog we had growing up scarfed down our Easter baskets- they held a ton of jelly beans and Hershey's kisses. We figured he would get terribly sick but the only result was sparkly poo for several days. I wouldn't purposely feed a dog chocolate but I wonder just how accurate that is or if he was just an anomaly.

                                1. re: Hobbert

                                  Dark chocolate is much more toxic than milk chocolate for dogs. It's happened with my rescue, who'll eat anything/everything she can get her mouth around & I've never bothered to ask why dark is worse.
                                  Then it depends on how much they eat and how much they weigh.
                                  A quick call to the vet, after discovering the ingestion, and they can direct you next time if it happens.

                                  1. re: latindancer

                                    Well, he died about 8 years ago and, fortunately, my cats aren't too interested in people food other than chicken, tuna, etc. They probably wonder why we eat "cat" food...

                                  2. re: Hobbert

                                    here's all i know:

                                    once, on halloween, my dog ate a tootsie roll pop. i got scared and called animal poison control.
                                    they told me that most commercial candy contains very little real cocoa and that some candies are actually totally flavored with artificial flavor. they told me that the amount of real chocolate that could be found in a tootsie roll pop was so negligible that the dog would be fine. (and she was)

                                    on the other hand, even a tiny amount of xylitol could be very serious.

                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                        Ah, that makes much more sense. Hershey's Kisses aren't exactly high quality chocolate so the low amount of cocoa was probably why he didn't get sick.

                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                          And you've just explained why Tootsie rolls do not taste like chocolate to me at all.

                                        2. re: Hobbert

                                          It's the quantity. Roughly one ounce per pound of body weight of very dark or semi-sweet chocolate can make a dog's heart accelerate, possibly to the point of heart failure. Which is not exactly 'poisonous' as I usually think of it. And note that this is a whole pound of chocolate for a 16lb dog, four pounds for a 65lb lab. So not very likely, though I still wouldn't feed it deliberately.

                                          1. re: mwhitmore

                                            for folks like me that regularly keep 6 lbs of valrhonna cocoa powder around (god forbid, there might be a supply chain disruption, i could go into withdrawal, i'd need to find a valrhonna rehab facility)
                                            we still need to be careful to store the stuff out of reach of our dogs.

                                      2. Depends on the guests. This is my dishwasher, but only when I know everyone is ok with it.

                                        1. Like westsidegal, there is no "ick" factor for me. I wash dishes by hand, including Ben the hound's, by rinsing first, and by using lots of hot, soapy water and a hot rinse (and I have the dishpan hands to prove it).

                                          We would not give Ben our plates to lick in front of guests, though, anymore than we'd sit in our undies in front of them on a hot summer night. Comfy for us, both things, but prob. ick-inducing for them.

                                          Now if only our guests would return that favor, and keep their cherubic children from picking their noses/butts and then touching everything on the buffet table. But I digress....

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: pinehurst

                                            <+1 in every respect. Can't you just scrape the food into the dog's bowl?>
                                            <+2. While, rationally, I might trust your dishwasher's sanitizing, I still would be icked out. And might choose to meet you at a restaurant for future meals.>

                                            There's no food per se to scrape into a bowl. It's just the remaining juices and such that remain on the plates.

                                            I would put my kitchen's sanitation up against any restaurant kitchen any day.

                                            This is a list of items toxic to dogs.

                                            - Alcoholic beverages
                                            - Avocado
                                            - Chocolate (all forms)
                                            - Coffee (all forms)
                                            - Fatty foods
                                            - Macadamia nuts
                                            - Moldy or spoiled foods
                                            - Onions, onion powder
                                            - Raisins and grapes
                                            - Salt
                                            - Yeast dough
                                            - Garlic
                                            - Products sweetened with xylitol

                                            This list is based on the Animal Poison Controls list of death and illness in pets

                                            Sugarless candies can also be toxic to pets

                                            1. re: Scoutmaster

                                              I'm not judging anyone here but I don't understand the reasoning behind it's just juices on the plate. Have you never heard of a spatula to scrape the juices on top of dog food in the bowl? And I don't need a lecture on what is bad for dogs. I'm a responsible dog owner and already know that. I think some of you are just lazy which is why you put the plates down for the dogs.

                                              p.s - I think I just may have judged some of you..-:)

                                              1. re: Scoutmaster

                                                I'm pretty sure my sweet female rescue/mutt/steel stomach dog has eaten everything on that list at one time or another & never shown a sign of anything wrong.
                                                I would never give a dog anything on that list, intentionally, but she's either been starved, in her previous life before I got her, or she's just a glutton and will sniff out anything that's not bolted down.
                                                Is the mouth and the saliva of a dog really that germ ridden that a plate that's left to lick won't be okay once it's been through the sanitation cycle of a dishwasher? I've never given her a plate to lick but is it really that bad?

                                                1. re: Scoutmaster

                                                  <I would put my kitchen's sanitation up against any restaurant kitchen any day.>

                                                  As I said, not questioned your DW's sanitizing, nor that or a restaurant's. Question was: would you be icked, and I would be.

                                                  Wouldn't want to go to a restaurant where a stray dog had licked a plate, even with the sanitizing afterwards, either, and I doubt a health inspector would consider it okay either. Just my 2 cents

                                              2. Yes, there is an ick factor for me. My SO does it and I don't like it. At least she doesn't do it in front of guests. I love my dog and I let him kiss me, and I kiss him back, but there is something icky about about letting him lick the plates. I think it is more of a remnant of my upbringing more than anything. My mom and dad taught me it was unacceptable so I think it still sticks in my head as not okay. We use a hot dishwasher so technically it doesn't matter.

                                                1. Well if you can't eat off plates that dogs have licked then surely you cant use silverware that guests have been slurping and smacking food from, and good god those glasses and cups have to be tossed as well, people have had their lips all over them. In fact at the end of a good meal grandpa used to like to take his teeth out and put them in his water glass. Now there's a conversation stopper. He mostly remembered not to do that in restaurants. Mostly. A real dilemma for the busboy. Chasing him down the street with a plastic bag - hey mister, you forgot your teeth . . .

                                                  Now there's a discussion for the tipping thread.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                    If you ever have guests who have worn out their welcome, let the dog clean the plate & then put it directly back in the cabinet (within their view). snicker.

                                                  2. This doesn't seem nasty at all to me, but I love animals. I am more disturbed by people who don't rinse (or in your case, have the dogs "rinse") the plates off before loading them into the dishwasher. I trust the dishwasher to sanitize my dishes, but there is no little man in there with a scrub brush getting every last scrap of crud off, and the thought of crud-laden water churning around in there revolts me.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Isolda

                                                      There are some newer detergents that are designed to be attracted to the bits left on the plates, making the detergents work better when the dishes are not rinsed.

                                                      1. re: Isolda

                                                        In a properly functioning dishwasher the water should not be crud laden, the water is cycled through filters to prevent that. rinsing plates is a waste of time and water, in my mind both precious resources. Now I'm not suggesting you leave half a bone in pork chop on the plate, but rinsing the dishes clean really isn't necessary or recommended. Here's a link to an article written in language laypeople can understand:


                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                          i haven't rinsed anything since i got a dishwasher with a "pots and pans" cycle and a "heated wash" setting.
                                                          i've put stainless steel skillets in there with burned on food, and they have come out perfectly clean.
                                                          i have put an un-rinsed pot in there that i had used to melt sugar for candied pecans, and it came out perfectly clean.

                                                      2. Blech. I have lived with dogs my entire life but this makes me uncomfortable.

                                                        Here is a quote from a Canadian website:


                                                        Dishwashing at Home:

                                                        "Dishes can be successfully washed and sanitized using a two-compartment sink. In this method, dishes are washed and rinsed in the first sink, sanitized in the second sink, and dried on a drying rack or board. Liquid bleach is an appropriate sanitizer with one capful in a standard sink of hot water being adequate.

                                                        Most domestic mechanical dishwashers cannot sanitize dishes. Normal home water heaters are not hot enough and even those dishwashers with booster water heaters cannot reach the necessary temperatures. There is some evidence that dishwashers with a high temperature air drying cycle can provide sanitizing action but only if dishes go through the complete cycle. Very few domestic dishwashers can accept sanitizing detergents since many of these compounds are corrosive and can damage the interior of the machine. You should check with the supplier before you use any of these products in your dishwasher. Remember too, that your dishes are only as clean as the last hands that touched them."

                                                        Seems as though the recommended temp for sanitizing dishes is 180 F. Does your dishwasher water get that hot?


                                                        16 Replies
                                                        1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                          do you really believe that dishwasher detergents don't contain sanitizing chemicals?

                                                          also, if a dog were to (accidentally, i'm sure) lick your hand, would you feel that you needed to wash your hands in water that is << hotter than normal home water>> and to sanitize your hand in bleach before eating a sandwich or a cookie or a baby back rib?

                                                          how would you handle it if a dog licked your child's hand?

                                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                                            Ummm, yeah, I think she realizes it, hence the posting of the quote...

                                                            The point as I see it, is directed towards those that think one can sanitize in the dishwasher.
                                                            Yes, it's not the water heat, nor the chemical/detergent used, it is the full and complete drying cycle that does the trick. "There is some evidence that dishwashers with a high temperature air drying cycle can provide sanitizing action but only if dishes go through the complete cycle. "

                                                            1. re: wyogal

                                                              and my follow up question, (maybe i wasn't clear),
                                                              does Jerseygirl111 consider it is to be safe for human hands that have been contaminated by an icky factor to touch and prepare food after they have been cleansed with simple, complete, hand washing with detergent or antibacterial hand soap, and drying with a towel?

                                                              why would it require so much more (i.e. bleach, 180 degree temps, etcl) for household plates to be safe?

                                                              almost all of us have handled ground meat with our hands (i.e. without using surgical gloves). we know for sure millions of pounds of the stuff, yearly, get contaminated with dangerous strains of E. Coli bacteria as a result of fecal contamination at the slaughterhouse.

                                                              most adults who take care of young children get contaminated by an icky factor from time to time, as do most young children.

                                                              i've never seen preschool teachers wear latex gloves all day, yet they are deemed by most of us to be safe enough to prepare and distribute snacks to our kids.

                                                              i've never seen home cooks wearing latex gloves when they handle ground meat, yet all are considered to be safe enough to make a fruit salad afterwards.

                                                              for the most part, is seems that human skin is deemed safe for food preparation and for eating finger foods without being chemically dipped nor roasted at 180 degrees.

                                                              i'm trying to understand the reason hands would be considered safe, yet household dishes "need" so much more to be considered safe.

                                                              since the original question was not about restaurants, let's set that topic aside for now.

                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                It is the act of washing away surface "germs" that does the trick, not the sanitizing (or lack thereof). Soap merely reduces the water tension so that the water can slough off the icky stuff.
                                                                And as far as this thread goes, it is the "ick" factor, not the sanitization that was in question.
                                                                Edited to add: This thread isn't about sanitation, it's about perception.

                                                                1. re: wyogal

                                                                  Jerseygirl introduce the subject of sanitation, and while she was not clear with her intention, I read her post as implying that she is worried about sanitation of dishes following a pre-lick/rinse from a pet. I can't think of any other reason for saying one is uncomfortable with the idea of dogs licking plates then questioning the ability of a home dishwasher to sanitize dishes.

                                                                  1. re: mpjmph

                                                                    I can, I don't worry about the sanitization, I find it gross. Just as gross as if someone would put the plates in front of a person to lick.
                                                                    Especially in front of guests.
                                                                    I don't care if one uses caustic detergent, bleach, heat to "sanitize," I find it icky. Like a cat up on the counter. Yes, the cat is welcome in my bed, but not on the counter. I don't care that it's no different.
                                                                    I perceive a dog licking plates as icky. That's what the issue is.

                                                                    1. re: wyogal

                                                                      I'm not saying I can't think of other reasons to find the dish licking icky. I completely understand that others feel that way, and am not asking for rationalization of those feelings. We all have things that gross us out, and other things that do not. I would never allow the pets in my life to lick plates in view of a guest.

                                                                      What I am saying is that Jerseygirl brought up sanitation. Her post implies that she would require sanitation of dishes if a pet licked them, and adequate sanitation is not guaranteed with the average home dishwasher. My "I can't understand" issue was with Jerseygirls post - clearly *she* is concerned about sanitation, otherwise she wouldn't have posted the excerpt and link. And clearly *you* are not concerned about sanitation and find it icky no matter what, and that's fine too.

                                                                      1. re: mpjmph

                                                                        I prefaced my comment with the fact that I have lived with dogs my entire life in order to explain that I do not have a dog phobia. The OP posed a question regarding the ick factor of her actions in others' opinions and I responded.

                                                                        Then the OP said: "I figure they hit the hot soapy water and sanitation cycle before going to the table, so I have no problem with it." I assumed the OP believed all the germs (viruses and bacteria-zoonotic, or not) were killed or removed by the automatic dishwasher, so I posted a quote and follow up question.

                                                                        @westsidegal Personally, I prefer to err on the side of caution. Hand or face washing, after petting or errant dog kisses is standard procedure. I knew the level of care and health provided to my own dogs but admit to not trusting others. Anything as simple as a flea dip chemical to ringworm can be transferred to our skin. http://www.cfsph.iastate.edu/Zoonoses/
                                                                        Better to be safe than sorry.

                                                                        @wyogal I must agree with you. Sorry if it upsets anyone, but cats-any pets really-do not belong in food preparation areas. I lost my Golden Retriever a few years ago, and had 2 Goldens together for at least 10 years. The shedding is atrocious and the fur balls fly everywhere. I felt the need to be extra vigilant that any food served or presented as gifts or brought as potluck be 100% free of pet hair. I feel it would be inconsiderate to others to not maintain a decent level of food safety. I would never contemplate eating or drinking out of their bowls and would not let them do the same to ours.


                                                                  2. re: westsidegal

                                                                    Just a quick OT, westside, I would not consider it safe food handling procedure if someone handled ground beef with bare hands then proceeded to prepare a fruit salad-more than likely to be consumed raw-without a thorough handwashing in between.


                                                                    1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                      my point was that for hands that have touched commercial hamburger meat, a substance that has been repeatedly contaminated with fecal material, it is deemed ok to touch and prepare raw food afterwards as long as the hands have had <<a thorough handwashing in between>>.

                                                                      even as we speak there is a massive cross-country beef recall going on in canada because e. coli has been found in frozen hamburgers.

                                                                      of course the <<thorough handwashing>>that is acceptable for hands could not begin to compare to the chemical and temperature cleansing that plates get in any decent, modern, dishwasher.

                                                                      yet, your requirements for hand cleanliness (even hands that have been exposed to raw hamburger meat) for making the fruit salad are far less stringent than your requirements for the bowls in which the salad will be served if the bowls have been exposed to dog saliva.

                                                                      if you are using a costly knife to prepare the fruit salad, even one that had been used earlier to chop up contaminated beef, or to cut one of those frozen canadian hamburgers in half, that too, would probably be deemed to be OK with just a <<thorough washing>> but the bowls, presumably, would not be ok.

                                                                      (after all, i've not heard of deaths from e. coli resulting from dog saliva, whereas, there have been many that have been traced to commercially processed meat.)

                                                                      i was just pointing out the inconsistency.

                                                                      i do understand, though, that "ick factor" is not always logical. my scientifically-oriented daughter has an "ick" response to spiders that she doesn't have to any other insect. go figure.

                                                                      on the other hand, she doesn't try to justify the difference in her reactions using inconsistent/conflicting scientific "facts."

                                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                                        I agree about the "ick" factor not being logical, but valid none the same. When I was a kid, I had an uncle that looooved his poodle dog. The dog would sit beside his chair at the table and he would feed the dog bits of meat from his fork, then feed himself, then it was the dogs turn, etc. It was really icky. I thought my mom was going to throw up :) Maybe not too different than letting the dog lick your face...but it certainly "seemed" very different!

                                                                        1. re: sedimental

                                                                          ick= spiders (my daughter)= poodle saliva (your mother)

                                                                          yet, when so many little kids tell their parents that broccoli (or asparagus) are ick, most of the parents feel like they MUST do something to make their kid eat that very thing! why?
                                                                          neither broccoli nor asparagus have any nutrients that are not contained in some other vegetables, yet the very idea that children have their own concept of ick is anathema to many parents.

                                                                          never understood this.
                                                                          (when i was young, to my palate then, cooked celery was major ICK. i could smell it in a soup or a sauce from a mile away and the smell would disgust me.
                                                                          about ten years later, though, cooked celery in a soup or sauce was fine.
                                                                          i always liked raw celery, though.
                                                                          i'm happy my parents didn't do to me what the neighbor's parents did to him--they FORCED him to eat the ick stuff.

                                                              2. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                Even in the absence of an animal pre-rinse, dishes have human saliva on them, which is equally as "gross" as pet saliva. The combination of heat and detergent is enough to make dishes sufficiently clean for safe use by humans in a non-commercial environment where the risk of cross contamination is less than in a restaurant. My step-dad is immune suppressed, and no doctor has ever recommended anything beyond running the dishwasher, nor have they suggest my parents handle their dog any differently (and my parents have asked).

                                                                1. re: mpjmph

                                                                  Well, I don't exchange bodily fluids with my dogs, however I will try something off my husbands' fork. I admit to species bias.


                                                              3. I'm fine with the dog licking the dishes so long as the heat dry cycle on the the DW functions well. Not, however, in front of guests.

                                                                I never "put away" the dog when guests were over - not for the entire 14 years of his life. He was a perfectly acceptable member of my family. It is cruel to lock animals away alone for long periods of time.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                  I totally agree with all you've said.

                                                                  I am also an advocate for proper dog behavior when guests are in my home.
                                                                  There's no jumping up or on unless invited, no begging at the table, no licking of the plates. She's a member of our family *and* she must be a good girl and just watch and listen.

                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                    Notice to People who visit my home
                                                                    • The dog lives here. You don’t

                                                                    i don't put my dog "away" for guests.

                                                                  2. ick - no but all contact with hands definitely needs to occur after prep. the dishes (assuming they're clean to start) no I don't care, we can go out in the yard and fling them at each other for all it matters. or smash them like Zorba, but then the poor dog might get pottery shards in the GI tract.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                      that was badly worded, as long as everything that's going on a clean plate is slobber/fur-free, what happens between the table and the washing doesn't concern me.

                                                                    2. I don't have a problem with dogs cleaning the plates from a hygiene standpoint but I don't let mine do so because I don't want them to eat table food or to beg. However my husband allows them to lick his cereal bowl - I'm gone to work by that time so I really can't stop it.

                                                                      In any case, I wouldn't let fido help with the dishes if guests were present. It might call into question other hygiene matters, IMO.

                                                                      1. I remember a particular event very clearly, when my famjam were all having dinner at my mother's house and my father let the dog clean his plate before putting it in the dishwasher (as a side point, he did this fairly quietly and without show). After he had left the room, the other relatives (who are Indian in origin and were brought up to have particular cultural notions regarding food and table manners) made a point of laughing about it and saying "EWW gross!" quite loudly. I felt rather offended (more for my father than for myself), and made a point of saying that I let the dog clean my plate quite often. I also mentioned how it shouldn't matter since it's going in the dishwasher anyway, throwing in the old "dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's mouth" line for good measure. Everyone else felt slightly embarassed, and said how it was just a pet peeve of theirs, or like others have stated, an "ick factor".

                                                                        Having said all that, would I let my dog lick the plates if there wasn't any dishwasher and hand-washing was the only available option? I'm really not sure on that one. In general I agree with a previous poster, who said that plates covered with leftover bits of food is a way bigger turn-off than a little doggie spittle.

                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                        1. re: ragtime_6

                                                                          if i didn't have a dishwasher, i'd be buying paper plates in bulk from costco and it would have nothing to do with ick or the dogs.

                                                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                                                            blast it all, when is chow going to adopt a LIKE button!
                                                                            (yes, i know lots of threads on that already, ain't gonna happen)

                                                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                                                              I find hand washing dishes very therapeutic. I don't have a dish washer and I have survived 6 dogs, maybe I shouldn't have let them lick my human germ contaminated plates.

                                                                              1. re: BeefeaterRocks

                                                                                HA! ehh, I'd be more worried about 'our' food being compatible with their systems.

                                                                                and yes, I lived 15 years w/o the luxury of a dishwasher or a dog, there IS a zen aspect to being elbow deep in sudsy water.

                                                                                1. re: hill food

                                                                                  i've felt the zen aspect while ironing, but not when dishwashing.

                                                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                    Washing dishes by hand is the only household chore I actually enjoy. The key is to do it often, not letting dishes collect in and around the sink. I am single, so there really aren't that many dishes.

                                                                          2. "Should I refrain from doing this when guests are over?"

                                                                            Yes, when you have guest over. I would refrain from letting the dogs like your plates. I'm taking guest to mean people that aren't really close to you.

                                                                            With my dogs, I don't let them lick plates. I don't want the boys to assume that all plates are fair game. I usually scrap leftovers into their bowl.

                                                                            1. I am a cat lover but I know how much people love their pups.I think it is courteous to refrain from letting the pups have their *lick-fest* when you have actual dinner guests.If you routinely indulge your dogs then one evening of abstinence should be tolerable for them.