What Cleaners to Avoid if You Have Pets

What Cleaners to Avoid if You Have Pets

While keeping your home clean may be at the top of your priority list, what you may not realize is how toxic household cleaners can be for pets, both cats and dogs. Some cleaning products aren’t as dangerous as others, but most can still result in symptoms that include diarrhea and vomiting. If that isn’t bad enough, there are some cleaning products that can cause devastating health issues to pets, like cleaners that include ammonia and bleach.

Some of the most dangerous cleaning products with caustic and/or corrosive effects include drain cleaners, concentrated dishwashing and toilet bowl cleaners, oven cleaners, lime removal products, etc. For the most part, if a household cleaner smells bad it’s more than likely dangerous. Another obvious thing to keep in mind is that if the products are labeled with words like “Danger” or “Caution”, you can bet that they are dangerous for both pets and humans and could cause severe injuries. When ingested or exposed to skin or fur, these products can cause chemical burns. If your dog or cat is ever exposed to any of these chemicals, it will require immediate first aid care and an emergency visit to your veterinarian.


Any products that include chlorine can cause devastating harm to pets. Even the limited amount used in some toilet bowl cleaners can cause eye or skin irritation. This is particularly problematic if you have a dog that has a habit of drinking out of the toilet bowl.

Signs of Exposure

Some of the most common signs of chemical exposure include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle tremors, listlessness, abdominal pain, fever and lack of coordination. If you suspect that your dog or cat has been exposed to toxic chemicals, perform immediate first aid care at home, followed by emergency veterinarian care.

Pet First Aid Kit

If you have pets, you should either purchase a pet first aid kit at your local pet supply store (make sure it includes a pet specific first aid book) or put one together yourself. If you put together your own first aid kit, include things like self-cling bandages (they won’t stick to fur), adhesive tape, absorbent gauze pads and rolls, antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder or spray, an ice pack, disposable, non-latex gloves and Diphenhydramine (aka Benadryl®) for allergic reactions if your vet has approved it (providing you with dosage amounts). Ask your vet for additional recommendations for stocking your pet first aid kit.

Important pet related paperwork should also be a part of the first aid kit, (stored in a waterproof bag), including medical records and a recent photo of the pet in case they get lost. You’ll also want to include important phone numbers including your veterinarians, the closest emergency veterinary clinic (and directions) and a poison-control hotline. The ASPCA poison control center can be reached at 800-426-4435.


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