Are you getting “spring fever” … that desire to do a deep clean of your house and welcome in the warm weather? Before you put on the rubber gloves and drag out your household cleaners, did you know that many products used today can put your dog at risk for developing cancer, kidney or liver damage?
As March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month, let’s examine the toxic effects of commonly used household cleaner ingredients and reasons why pets are even more vulnerable than humans when exposed. If you are reading this blog, you are a conscientious pet parent who wants to make sure your cleaning products are safe.
Harmful Cleaning Products
Many of the commonly used household cleaners contain toxic chemicals that could be harmful to your family members and pets. As they walk across the floor, pets pick up residues of the cleaning products and when they lick their paws to groom themselves, they spread those toxins to their skin, mouth, nose and eyes.
Check your labels for the following ingredients:
- Formaldehyde (found in general household cleaners)
- Perchloroethylene (found in carpet and rug cleaners)
- Phenols (found in cleaners with “sol” in the name)
- Phthalates (used in scented products, like air fresheners)
All-Natural Household Cleaners
Many manufacturers are offering natural cleaning products these days, but if you want to get rid of all manufactured cleaners, there are many all-natural cleaners that you can make from items you probably have in your cupboard. They’re easy to whip up and very inexpensive, but most important, they are effective and safe!
- Wood floor cleaner – Dilute 1/2 cup of vinegar into a gallon of warm water.
- Window cleaner – Mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1 cup of warm water.
- Carpet stain cleaner – Combine ½ cup of vinegar with 2 tbsp of salt until it is dissolved. Soak a rag to rub out the stain.
- All-purpose cleaner – Dilute ½ cup vinegar with 1 gallon of water and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, add some fresh lemon juice!
- Mild abrasive – Mix baking soda with equal parts hot water and salt to create a mild abrasive for your countertops, sinks, bathtubs, etc. Rinse when the surface is clean.
- Odor absorbent – A natural odor absorbing product, sprinkle it on carpets and floors to absorb pet accidents.
- Foaming cleaner – Use baking soda and lemon juice as a replacement for foaming cleaners for your bathroom and kitchen.
- Laundry stain remover – Replace bleach with Borax in your laundry to whiten your clothes.
- Heavy carpet stain cleaner – Mix ½ cup vinegar, 2 tbsp salt and 2 tbsp Borax until dissolved. Soak a rag to work up the heavy stains.
- Furniture polish – Add fresh lemon juice to mineral oil for a fresh and natural furniture polish.
- Oven cleaner – Add the peels from 2 oranges to a jar and fill with white vinegar. Let stand for a week and pour into a spray bottle. Sprinkle baking soda on the floor/door of your oven, spray with citrus mix and let stand for 20 minutes before wiping with a sponge.
If You Suspect Pet Poisoning
If your pet is suffering from any of these things, you’ll want to get help immediately:
- Bloody stool
- Loss of appetite
- Irregular heartbeat
- Inability to urinate
Don’t delay. Contact your veterinarian immediately! If your vet can’t be reached, call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-213-6680. Before any issue arises, take a moment to program your vet and the emergency vet’s phone numbers into your phones. Safe cleaning!
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