Did you know that many common household cleaning products harbor harmful chemicals? In fact, the very ingredients that promise great cleaning results can make your furry friends sick.
So, in your quest to keep everything smelling fresh and looking sparkling clean, it’s important to make sure that the products you choose are safe for use around animals. In this article, we’ll give you a helping hand by listing the chemicals and household cleaning products you should never use around your pets.
Which Common Chemicals Are Toxic to Pets?
Carefully reading the labels on cleaning products is the best way to make sure they’re safe for use around pets. Keep your eyes peeled for the ingredients listed below, as they could be toxic to cats, dogs, and other pets.
Ammonia is a common ingredient in many store-bought cleaning products that are designed to eliminate bacteria and tackle stubborn grime. But unfortunately, ammonia is a harsh chemical that can be hazardous to pets.
Ammonia vapors can cause respiratory problems in pets and irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. If ingested, ammonia can irritate the lining of your pet’s stomach and cause serious gastrointestinal issues. Ammonia is found in the following common household cleaning products:
- Floor cleaners
- Drain cleaners
- Multi-surface cleaners
- Oven cleaners
- Glass cleaners
- Tile cleaners
- Carpet cleaners
- Wood cleaners
- Vinyl cleaners
Bleach is a highly alkaline product with a strong odor. When inhaled, it can cause respiratory problems such as coughing and wheezing. If your pet ingests bleach, it can lead to corrosion of the esophagus, stomach lining, and digestive tract.
If you absolutely have to use bleach, make sure to rinse the area with lots of water and allow it to dry. Meanwhile, your pets should be kept out of the way in another room. Bleach is found in many household cleaning products, including:
- All-purpose cleaners
- Toilet bowl cleaners
- Mold and mildew removers
Glycol ethers are a class of chemicals that are used in many household cleaning products. Unfortunately, glycol ethers are extremely toxic when ingested or inhaled. They can also cause skin and eye irritation and trigger allergic reactions.
In addition, glycol ethers have been linked to serious health issues such as anemia, kidney damage, and developmental problems. That’s why it’s so important to never use glycol ethers around your pets.
The following household cleaners commonly contain glycol ethers. You will find them listed as 2-Methoxyethanol, 2-Ethoxyethanol, and 2-Butoxyethanol:
- Carpet cleaners
- Glass cleaners
- Spot removers
- Liquid soaps
- Perfumes and cosmetics
Phthalates are used for fragrance in products that make your home smell good. But this comes at a price; they can be harmful if inhaled and used around pets. Phthalates are known hormone disruptors, so if you are using cleaning products with phthalates in them, take caution to keep your pets out of harm’s way. Phthalates are commonly found in:
- Air fresheners
- Carpet fresheners
- Linen sprays
- Home deodorizers
Top 10 Cleaning Products You Should Avoid Using Around Pets
So far in this article, we’ve highlighted some of the most common household chemicals that can be harmful to pets. Now, let’s take a look at the top 10 cleaning products you should avoid using around your furry friends:
1. Counter Cleaners
Do you have a pet that likes to counter-surf? Counter cleaners contain chemicals that can be hazardous to pets. Be particularly cautious about cleaners that come in spray bottles. Chemical particles can travel through the air and end up in your pet’s water bowl!
2. Toilet Bowl Cleaners
Does your cat or dog have a bad habit of drinking from the toilet bowl? Toilet bowl cleaners typically contain bleach. As mentioned earlier, ingestion of this toxic chemical can lead to internal burns and other serious symptoms.
3. Oven Cleaners
Oven cleaners produce caustic vapors that can harm your pet. The most common component in oven cleaners is ammonia, which can cause a wide range of health issues if inhaled or ingested.
4. Window Cleaners
Don’t underestimate the danger of window cleaners. They are far from safe! Common ingredients in these household cleaning products include ammonia and glycol ethers.
5. Floor Cleaners
Floor cleaners are another common household product that’s hazardous to your pets. They contain chemicals like bleach, ammonia, and glycol ethers.
6. All-Purpose Cleaners
All-purpose cleaners contain bleach, ammonia, and other caustic chemicals. And since most people keep all-purpose cleaners in the home, it’s extremely important to take precautions when using them.
7. Fabric Softeners
Fabric softeners are loaded with corrosive cationic detergents. Exposure can cause eye irritation, respiratory issues, burns, and skin rashes in pets.
8. Carpet Cleaners
Carpet cleaners (particularly stain removers) contain ammonia and chemicals like Perchloroethylene, 2-Butoxyethanol, and Naphthalene that are harmful to your pet. When inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin, these chemicals can be extremely toxic.
9. Drain Cleaners
You may think drain cleaners are not harmful as your pet is unlikely to go anywhere near the drains, but they emit toxic fumes which can spread through the air. Drain cleaners often contain ammonia and can affect the eyes, skin, mucous membranes, and gastrointestinal tract.
10. Laundry Detergents
Laundry detergents contain harsh chemicals such as nonylphenol ethoxylate. And the residue left behind on clothes, bedding, and pet blankets can result in skin irritation. If you see hot spots, dry and flaky skin, red spots, or lesions on your pet’s skin, it may be because of exposure to laundry detergent.
What Types of Cleaning Products Are Safe for Use Around Pets?
Wondering how to clean your home without the risk of harming your pets? Thankfully, there are plenty of natural alternatives to chemical household cleaning products that are safe to use around animals.
Look for cleaning products with natural ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, or essential oils. Coconut oil is particularly effective at breaking down grease and removing grime. Natural cleaning products are available at many pet stores, grocery stores, and online. Alternatively, you can make your own cleaning products at home!
Always Read the Label
You can protect your pets from harmful household cleaning products by reading labels and avoiding those that contain harsh chemicals. It’s also important to keep any chemicals and cleaning products out of reach of pets in a locked cabinet or other secure location.
It’s also worth considering buying natural cleaning products or making your own with ingredients like baking soda and vinegar. If you suspect your pet has ingested or come in contact with a hazardous cleaning product, please contact your veterinary emergency care team right away.
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