There’s no denying that cats and dogs are curious creatures. Their keen sense of smell can help them sniff out a tasty morsel from a distance, but it can, and often does, lead them into some potentially serious situations.
With spring arriving and many folks planning their big deep clean at home, we thought it an excellent time to raise awareness on all those everyday household cleaning products and chemicals that may be harmful to your nosey little cat or dog.
We’ll cover which products and chemicals are particularly hazardous, how to deep clean a house with pets, how to avoid your pet coming into contact with them, and what to look out for if you suspect your pet has ingested something it shouldn't have.
- Common Chemicals and Their Effects on Pets
- How to Protect Your Pets from Household Chemicals
- Symptoms Your Pet Has Been in Contact With Household Chemicals
- Insure Your Pet with Emergency Fund
Common Chemicals and Their Effects on Pets
Substances that are harmful to pets can be found throughout your home. While, commonly, cleaning products are the most significant contributors, there are a few other nasties to be on the lookout for.
|Chemical||Toxicity to Pets||Products|
|Antifreeze (ethylene glycol)||Highly toxic and can cause kidney failure and death||Antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, and some radiator coolants|
|Bleach (sodium hypochlorite)||Irritant to skin, eyes, and respiratory system; can be toxic if ingested||Bleach, disinfectants, and toilet bowl cleaners|
|Detergents and fabric softeners (cationic detergents)||Can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain if ingested||Laundry detergents and fabric softeners|
|Insecticides (carbamates, organophosphates, pyrethrins, and pyrethroids)||Can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death||Insect sprays, flea and tick products, and bug bombs|
|Lysol (phenol)||Irritant to skin, eyes, and respiratory system; can be toxic if ingested||Disinfectants and surface cleaners|
|Mothballs (naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene)||Can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death||Mothballs and insect repellents|
|Paint (lead, zinc, or copper)||Highly toxic if ingested or inhaled, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death||Paint, varnishes, and stains|
|Rodenticides (bromethalin, cholecalciferol, anticoagulants)||Can cause internal bleeding, kidney failure, seizures, and even death||Rat and mouse baits and rodent poisons|
|Swimming pool chemicals (chlorine, bromine, and cyanuric acid)||Can cause irritation to skin, eyes, and respiratory system; can be toxic if ingested||Swimming pool chemicals, hot tub chemicals|
|Tobacco (nicotine)||Highly toxic if ingested; can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death||Cigarettes, cigars, nicotine gum, or patches|
How to Protect Your Pets from Household Chemicals
While it can be alarming to suddenly become aware of all of these potential dangers in your home that could cause harm to your cat or dog, there are some things that you can do to keep your pet safe from household chemicals.
- Store all household chemicals securely, like in a cabinet for chemical storage: Keep all household chemicals out of your pet's reach, preferably in a locked cabinet or high up on a shelf. This includes cleaning products, pesticides, fertilizers, automotive products, and any other toxic substances.
- Read labels very carefully, making sure to avoid known harmful substances where possible.
- Use pet-safe detergent and cleaning products: Choose cleaning products that are specifically labeled as safe for pets, like pet-safe floor cleaners and laundry detergent safe for pets. These products are typically made with natural, non-toxic ingredients and are free from harsh chemicals that can harm your pet. Is Target safe for pets? Only if it says so on the tin.
- Keep your pet out of the area when using chemicals: When using any chemicals in the home, such as cleaning products or pesticides, keep your pet in another room or outside until the area is completely dry and the fumes have dissipated.
- Be careful with food and medicine: Some human foods and medications can be toxic to pets, so keeping them out of your pet’s reach is essential. This includes things like chocolate, grapes, onions, and medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
- Supervise your pet. Supervise your pet at all times, especially if they are prone to getting into things they shouldn't. This is particularly important if you have a curious or mischievous pet. If you head out to work all day, invest in a Petcube Cam to allow you to spy on what your pets are getting up to while you’re not there.
Symptoms Your Pet Has Been in Contact With Household Chemicals
No matter how careful you are, and even if you store chemicals properly, there’s always the chance that your little furry friend will somehow come into contact with poisonous household chemicals. Your pet can be exposed to a toxic substance in various ways, which can lead to poisoning or toxicity: ingestion, direct contact with the skin, and inhalation.
This is why it’s essential for a pet owner to be aware of the symptoms of poisoning so that you can spring into action before it’s too late.
According to the study of American Kennel Club, the symptoms of poisoning in pets include:
- Loss of appetite;
- Difficulty breathing;
- In dogs, licking air repeatedly;
- Allergy symptoms like sniffling and red, watery eyes;
- Excessive dog panting and drooling.
If you suspect your pet has been exposed to a toxic substance, immediately contact your veterinarian or a pet poison control center for guidance.
Insure Your Pet with Emergency Fund
Petcube's Emergency Fund provides financial assistance to pet owners who are facing unexpected emergency veterinary bills. When you sign up for Petcube's Online Vet, you'll instantly have a team of trained veterinarians available to you via your phone.
Whenever you have a concern regarding the health and well-being of your pet, send a quick text message, attach a photo or video, and get an instant reply — all for just $20 a month.
With the Online Vet service, you can cut down on unnecessary vet visits, which will save you money, but it will also protect your beloved companion from the trauma of a vet visit that maybe wasn't necessary at all.
For just $9 more, you can add an emergency fund that will pay out up to $3,000 annually for emergency vet care. In an emergency, the last thing you want is to have to make a decision for your pet's well-being based on your financial situation at the time. An emergency fund will give you peace of mind that your pet will get the care it needs in an emergency.
What toxins can cause seizures in dogs?
Sudden seizures in dogs can be caused by a range of common substances, including, but not limited to:
- Medications intended for humans, like ibuprofen;
- Plants like sago palm and certain kinds of mushrooms;
- Human foods that contain caffeine, chocolate, and the sweetener xylitol;
- Most rodenticides and insecticides.
Is dish soap safe for dogs?
Dish soap can be harmful to your pet if ingested. We don’t recommend using dish soap to wash your dog, as it may strip away natural oils and lead to skin irritation.
Why is my cat licking the floor?
It’s an odd behavior, for sure, but one that can't indicate a serious issue. Here are six reasons that cats lick floors:
- Something tastes good. Did you spill something tasty?
- It’s a texture or temperature thing. The floor may be pleasingly smooth or refreshingly cool for your cat.
- Is the floor wet? Damp? Cats enjoy getting their hydration needs met in a variety of ways. Like licking the steamed-up mirror in the bathroom.
- It could be an obsessive problem or condition called pica, which causes cats to eat non-food items.
- They want to get a reaction out of you. Any attention is good attention, right?
- A bored cat will find a way to entertain themselves that may not always make sense to us. Also, licking is a self-soothing mechanism that may help your cat manage both boredom and stress.
How to clean dog bowls?
Warm, soapy water is the best way to clean your dog's bowl. Dish soap, in this instance, will work just fine, but you must ensure that you rinse the dish thoroughly and dry it off before you feed your dog from it to ensure no soapy residue gets ingested.
Is cleaning with hydrogen peroxide safe for cats?
If you’ve ever had a cut or scrape and used hydrogen peroxide to clean your wound, you’ll know that it stings like crazy. Hydrogen peroxide was thought to be effective at killing any harmful bacteria waiting to set up shop in your wound, but it’s since come to light that it can cause irritation and damage to healthy skin, doing more harm than good.
So, to answer the question, no. Cleaning your pet’s (or your own) wounds with hydrogen peroxide is not advisable.
If you wish to use hydrogen peroxide as a cleaning solution around the house, use low concentrations and ensure any surfaces you've cleaned with it are dry before allowing your pets into the room.