A Toxic Mix: Cleaning Products and Pets

woman doing houseworkThere is something about the beginning of spring that signals a time for springing into action. Whether that takes the form of cleaning out the garage, emptying the attic, or tidying up the home, many of us choose spring as the time to give our homes a complete overhaul. But, cleaning products and pets can sometimes spell HAZARDS – some of which are not immediate, but can present health issues over time.

But, before you throw in the towel and kick up your feet, there are some solutions to keeping your home fresh and organized that are also pet safe. So, grab that mop and bucket and read on for more information on cleaning products to avoid and safer alternatives for pet loving households.

The Basics

Many of us have already made the switch to biodegradable or natural products to clean our homes. As we learn more about the toxicity of once commonly used chemicals on the environment and on our health, new bio-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products are being developed. Still, there are several common household cleaners that have been shown to impact health, yet remain on the shelves.

When it comes to our pets, the potential toxicity is more severe since they have smaller lungs and metabolic systems. They are also simply more likely to encounter wet, newly mopped floors, cleaning solutions on the countertops (a feline’s walkway), or recently stained or polished furniture.

To keep your home free from some of the most noxious of products, avoid using the following, which have all been linked to cancer, anemia, and kidney, liver, and lung damage:

  • Bleach – often found in bathroom and toilet bowl cleaning products
  • Ammonia – sold as a stand-alone product and commonly found in glass, metal, floor, and oven cleaners
  • Chlorine – a chemical used in all-purpose cleaners, dishwashing detergents, tile scrubs, toilet-bowl cleaners, laundry detergents, and mildew removers
  • Formaldehyde – found in soaps, cleaners, and even certain brands of shampoo
  • Glycol Ether – commonly used in carpet cleaners and spot removers (which most pet parents have on hand)

Since many household products do not list all of the ingredients, it is advisable to avoid using these products in favor of biodegradable, earth and health friendly product lines, such as Seventh Generation and Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, as well as DIY homemade cleaners using baking soda, lemon juice, and white vinegar.

Other Spring Cleaning Safety Tips

Along with the harmful array of cleaning products to be cautious of, there are also other commonly used seasonal items to avoid. When you cleaning out the garage or attic, be mindful of the following products, including how safely they are stored when not in use:

  • Mothballs
  • Rodenticides
  • Slug and snail bait
  • Paint thinner
  • Drain cleaner
  • Antifreeze

While you are in the throes of cleaning frenzy, it’s also a good idea to find a safe, secure place for your pet to hang out while the cleaning chaos is underway to avoid an accidental escape (through an open door or window) or accident.

If your pet ingests a poisonous household substance or is experiencing a reaction to a chemical, please call us right away for emergency veterinary care.

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