Keep your pets safe from toxic cleaning products

It's the time of year where we dust away the winter cobwebs and spruce up our houses for spring. If you have pets around, you'll need to be careful with your cleaning products.

Read our vets' top tips on safe spring cleaning:

  1. Use pet-safe cleaning products

    From carpet shampoo to stain removers and laundry detergent, there are plenty of pet-safe cleaning products that you can buy. These have fewer chemicals in them so they’re less likely to harm your pet if they come into contact with them.

    There are also lots of natural cleaning products you can use to break down grease and grime which won’t harm your pets, or be as damaging to the environment, like:
  • baking soda
  • vinegar
  • lemon juice.
  1. Always follow the instructions

    Cleaning products like bleach often need to be diluted in water before you use them. Always follow these instructions carefully as it will make the product weaker and less harmful to your pet.

    Wipe down and wash surfaces and floors with clean water after you’ve used a cleaning product. This cleans away any product that might be lingering on surfaces and stops your pet coming into contact with harmful chemicals.
  1. Store them out of reach

    Make sure you put products away carefully after you’ve finished with them. Store them well out of reach of your pet, just like you would for children. Empty out and rinse mop buckets so they’re not full of bleach.

    If you’ve got a cheeky pet who’s learnt to open cupboard doors, think about putting a childproof lock on your cleaning product cupboard.
  2. Keep pets out of harm’s way

    It’s best to keep pets out of the room while you’re mopping floors or wiping down surfaces. Keep them out of the room until everything is dry. This means they won’t accidentally get cleaning products on their skin.

    If you’ve just put bleach down the toilet, close the lid so your pet can’t drink from it. If you use a toilet block it’s a good idea to always leave the lid down or the toilet door closed so your pet isn’t tempted.

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The problem with cleaning products and our pets

We know that cleaning products can be dangerous but, obviously, our pets can’t read the warnings on the labels. They rely on us to keep them safe.

Some cleaning products can cause burns on pets’ paws or in their throat and stomach if they swallow the product. This can cause permanent damage and can even be fatal, especially if you don’t get treatment for them right away. Watch out for products like:

  • bleach
  • oven cleaner
  • dishwasher tablets
  • laundry detergents.

Pets are curious by nature so are likely to explore anything unusual they find lying around. Dogs explore things with their mouths and can use chewing as a way to relax so they’re at risk from any bottles or cleaning tablets they might find. Cats will sometimes drink from toilets and sinks, which can be dangerous if they’re full of bleach or cleaner. Cats have even been known to take a nap inside washing machines or tumble driers so always check before you switch them on.


What to do if your pet has come into contact with cleaning products

Signs that your pet has come into contact with cleaning products include:

  • Ulcers and sore looking skin. This could be on their paws or, if they’ve swallowed the product, inside their mouth or on their tongue.
  • Being sick or coughing much more than usual.
  • Collapsing
  • Seeming to have much less energy than usual.
  • Trouble eating.
  • Dribbling or foaming at the mouth.
  • Rubbing their face and mouth with their paws.

This is an emergency situation and you should ring your vet right away. Give your vet as much information as possible about what might have caused your pet’s symptoms. This will help them give your pet the right treatment. If you know exactly which cleaning product your pet has swallowed or got on their skin, bring the packaging along for your vet to look at.


Bootsie’s story

Bootsie was in a bad way when he was rushed to our Leicester Pet Hospital after drinking bleach from his owner's toilet.

His owner found him lying lifeless on his blanket, dribbling and making a very strange noise. Our vets did lots of test to rule out other conditions before giving him intensive treatment for exposure to bleach. He had ulcers in his mouth and needed to stay in hospital for several days before he was ready to go home.

Thankfully, Bootsie made a full recovery but his story shows the importance of keeping pets away from cleaning products.

Read Bootsie's story

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