This time of year, accidental pet poisonings spike, due in part to a collective effort toward spring cleaning. The goal is to have a nice, clean, and safe home to share with your pet, but with the addition of dangerous ingredients, household cleaners can often stand in the way of that. Whether it’s the storage or the application, pets and cleaning products aren’t always a good match. Luckily, The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center have the scoop on protecting your pet.

Surface Areas

Pets are defenseless to cleaning products because:

  • They are smaller than us.
  • They’re closer to larger surface areas, such as the carpet, other flooring, and lawns.
  • Their curiosity can lead them into places that house harmful products or vapors.
  • They have smaller lungs, making their breathing more rapid.
  • They’re equipped with a faster metabolism that goes into overdrive to eliminate toxins.

Pets and Cleaning Products

Pets and cleaning products are obviously not meant to overlap, but sometimes, we don’t even realize that we’re using cleaners full of ammonia, bleach, formaldehyde, and glycol ethers. Please read the labels of oven cleaners, toilet bowl solutions, and all other household cleaning products.

Unseen Hazards

Unfortunately, because we cannot see harmful vapors, we cannot always identify when they’re around. However, these invisible toxins are quite hazardous to an animal’s nose, eyes, tongue, and skin. When considering the risks of pets and cleaning products, a good rule of thumb is that if the product is unsafe for human exposure or consumption, then it’s too dangerous for pets. Also:

  • Follow the label instructions closely.
  • Dispose of used paper towels or rags, and hang mops out of your pet’s reach.
  • Dump out cleaning products (like the contents of the mop bucket), and clean up any drips or leaks.
  • Store unused cleaning products behind secured cabinet doors.

Storing Winter Clothing

The use of mothballs can pose a threat to your pet. Inhaling the vapors of toxic chemicals laced in the mothballs can cause your pet headaches, breathing problems, eye irritation, and more. Ingesting them can be a whole lot worse, leading to liver damage, heart arrhythmia, seizures, and even death. Airtight containers should be used to house your woolly sweaters and socks.

Eliminating the Biggest Offender

Chlorine bleach is found in all sorts of products. Left on surfaces to dry, bleach negatively affects animals who breathe faster than we do. A respiratory irritant, bleach can damage an animal’s eyes, nose, and other mucous membranes.

Dilute bleach, rinse the area, and make sure it’s completely dry before allowing your pet nearby.

Other Culprits

Carpet deodorizers, shampoos, or fresheners don’t pose inherent risks to pets, but if your pet’s paws come into contact with the powder, gently cleanse in water to reduce possible irritation. Likewise, a big inhale can result in respiratory distress, so it’s best to reduce exposure altogether.

Febreze and other air fresheners are also widely used, but must be used according to directions. Never apply these products on or near your pet.

The Pets Experts Understand

As with all questions related to your pet’s health, The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center are happy to provide assistance and address any of your concerns about pets and cleaning products.