How To Keep Your Pet Safe From Toxic Cleaners

Keeping your home clean year-round is important—but maybe it’s a priority now as spring cleaning season approaches. As the greenery outside comes alive again, you’ll want to bring that freshness indoors and say goodbye to the dust and dirt of wintertime. But myself more More important than the cleanliness of your home is the safety of your pet. Did you know that certain household cleaning products are toxic to dogs and cats? Read on to find out how to keep your house shiny without endangering Felix or Fido.

Can cleaning products actually harm my pet?

When cleaning supplies come into close contact with your pet, they can actually do harm. And it can happen easier than you think. In January 2020, a British dog made headlines for being poisoned after walking across a freshly cleaned floor and licking her paws, the Humane Society says. Thankfully, she survived — but her story remains a cautionary tale for pet owners everywhere.

Your dog or cat can accidentally touch or ingest strong, dangerous chemicals simply by doing what they normally do: lick, lie down, roll over. And while both cats and dogs can be affected by dangerous chemicals, cats are particularly at risk, says the Humane Society’s senior analyst for cat welfare and policy. They are smaller and lack some protective liver enzymes. They are also naturally curious and can access many seemingly inaccessible places in your home.

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Which chemicals are particularly dangerous for pets?

Before you throw away all your cleaning supplies and settle for a lifetime of dirt to protect your furry friend, remember that most household products should be used around animals as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and keep them out of reach keep away from your pet, says PetMD. That being said, House Beautiful notes that there are certain chemicals you should be careful with extra Be careful if you have a furry friend. Here are four.


Bleach has a strong odor that can cause breathing problems in your pet or irritate their nose if inhaled. It is also toxic if ingested. Cleaning expert Deyan Dimitrov tells House Beautiful that it’s a good idea to completely rinse any surface you’ve used bleach on with water and keep your pet away from the area until it’s completely dry.


Ammonia is a common ingredient in multi-surface cleaners, floor cleaners, and more. It can cause burning in the stomach, throat and nose if licked and irritate the eyes and skin of pets.

bezalkonium chloride

This chemical is found in some antibacterial bathroom and kitchen sprays. It is not fatal to your pet, but it can cause irritation to your pet’s nose, eyes, and paws. If you use it, make sure the surfaces are completely dry before allowing your pet to approach it.

Air freshener with phthalates

These are sometimes listed as “fragrances” and can make your pet nauseous if inhaled. And any product that’s in a spray bottle — not just air fresheners — can travel through the air and poison your pet’s water bowl, says former holistic vet Dr. Cathy Alinovi to PetMD Use of spray or aerosol products.

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How do I know if my pet has been poisoned?

Unfortunately, cats and dogs don’t speak the same language as we do. If they are put off by possible poisoning, you must rely on their physical behavior to determine when to take them to the vet. Symptoms can vary depending on what substance your pet has been in contact with, how much, and whether they ingested or touched it — but there are a few things you can look out for.

Symptoms of Poisoning in Dogs According to the AKC:

  • vomiting or loss of appetite
  • blood in the stool
  • Diarrhea
  • seizures
  • bleeding or bruising (pay attention to areas with less hair, such as the inside of the ears)
  • behavior changes

Symptoms of Poisoning in Cats According to PetMD:

  • vomiting/diarrhea
  • restlessness
  • weakness
  • loss of appetite
  • Wobbly gait
  • muscle tremors
  • seizures
  • Increased heart rate, thirst and urination
  • High temperature
  • panting

What do I do if my pet is poisoned?

Call your vet or an animal hospital first, the AKC says. However, if you are unable to reach a doctor, there are some 24/7 emergency hotlines you can call. Find them below.

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC): (888) 426-4435

This resource is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The call is free, but a consultation fee may apply. Visit their website to learn more.

Animal Poisons Hotline: (855) 764-7661

This is another 24/7 poison control center. It costs $85 per call but gives you instant access to a veterinarian. It doesn’t matter what animal or poison you are dealing with, they will help you. Visit their website to learn more.

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The final result

Don’t be afraid to clean your house if you have pets. In fact, your pets are probably one of the reasons for you have cleaning the house so frequently thanks to hair loss and muddy paws. Just keep your fur babies, their food and water, and anything they put in their mouths out of the spaces you’re cleaning and don’t let them back in until those spaces are completely dry. Then you can snuggle up with your furry friend and enjoy your clean house – until he messes it up again.

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