Household Cleaners and Pets

October 21, 2009

Safety LogoI am so excited to be part of The Pet ‘Net Safety Event an Internet-wide promotion where pet bloggers have come together today, October 21st, to focus on different aspects of pet safety.

I decided to focus my pet safety commentary on household cleaners because it’s something my staff feels very strongly about.

If you knew you were feeding your pets toxic chemicals, you’d stop wouldn’t you?

Of course you would! But many people don’t realize that they are doing just that on a regular basis.

See, we pets are floor and counter dwellers, which are surfaces in your home that you probably clean frequently with every day household cleaners that are actually laden with toxic chemicals.

Take a minute to read the side of the all-purpose cleaner that you spray on your counter or the cleaner you use to wash the floor. I bet you’ll find all kinds of nasty sounding chemicals, along with warnings not to ingest, get in your eyes or on your skin.

So think about this – the chemicals you use to clean usually remain on the surfaces you’ve cleaned. And when we little furry guys walk on these surfaces we get these chemicals on our paws. And guess what, we lick our paws! We also eat a lot of things right off the floor. In the process, we lick up these chemicals and get them in our system.

So your nice clean counters and floors? Not so good! Now think about the powder that you sprinkle on the carpet before you vacuum. It’s the same story. Do you use furniture polish? What about the chemicals you put on your carpet or furniture to try and get rid of pet “oopsie” smells and stains? The list of potentially harmful chemicals you use every day is probably pretty long.

The bottom line is that household cleaners can be dangerous to pets. If the warning label says for humans not to eat or drink or sniff, then pets shouldn’t either!

The good news is there are plenty of non-toxic cleaners available on the market today and a lot of homemade concoctions that you can use to polish your furniture and clean your floors and counters that won’t harm furry friends or staff members either.

Clean+Green is one terrific line of non-toxic, eco-friendly cleaners made specifically for cleaning up pet messes. They work extremely well. (They’re also one of my sponsors but I’d still mention them even if they weren’t!)

Shaklee and Seventh Generation are two others that my staff uses. Demand is growing for these alternatives so it’s not hard to make the switch to non-toxic cleaners.

Non-toxic cleaners are also safer for the Crawling/Toddling/Walking Creatures (i.e. BABIES) who spend a lot of time near the floor and put everything in their mouths. They’re better for full-grown staff too and much easier on our beautiful little planet.

But there are still those who say regular household cleaners are safe if used as directed. My staff just prefers non-toxic to be on the safe side.

No matter what route you choose, there are some things you can do to keep us furry guys safe from household cleaners:

•Consider making a complete switch to commercial non-toxic cleaners.
•Try making your own homemade recipes for cleaners (like your grandma used to do!)
•Try to keep us pets off surfaces until they are completely dry, no matter what type of cleaner you are using
•If you think your pet is suffering from the effects of ingesting or breathing household cleaners, take him to the vet (am I really saying this?) right away. Bring the cleanser(s) you suspect and make specific note of time they may have been exposed to the chemicals, how much they might have ingested and what their symptoms are.
•Think through all the scenarios where your pet might get into cleaners or just-cleaned areas. Don’t forget to keep your pets away from toilet bowls after they’ve been cleaned, for example. Dogs LOVE toilet bowls but that figures, doesn’t it? Just sayin.
•Keep all cleaning products, whether they are regular or non-toxic, out of our reach. We love to sniff and taste and even non-toxic cleaners can be harmful if we get into them.

We may be in charge of the household but it’s your job to keep us safe! Don’t make us fire you.