By Michelle Mullins, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP
One of the most important things we do for our beloved pets is to keep them safe. While there are many dangers both outside and inside the home, one of the most dangerous is household cleaning supplies. The same products we use to keep ourselves, our pets and our homes clean are often poisonous. Pets are vulnerable to the same chemicals contained in these products as we are, and unfortunately many pets will taste or eat these household products.
Most all cleaning products including soaps, disinfectants, polishes etc. are poisonous if ingested, and many are caustic to skin. This includes not only kitchen and bathroom supplies, but laundry products as well.
In addition, other common products like air fresheners (in any form), fabric softener sheets and wipes are equally dangerous.
One item I absolutely recommend you don’t ever use, if you have pets, are automatic toilet bowl cleaners. Even if you don’t have a pet that likes to drink from the toilet there is a first time for everything. Don’t chance it!
For more pet friendly cleaning, consider organic and eco-friendly products, but still read labels carefully.
Another option is the tried and true baking soda and vinegar. Vinegar is a fantastic mold, bacteria and germ killer, while baking soda provides the scouring power! This makes a great cleaner for everything like sinks, counters, showers and toilets.
Careful management and storage are the most effective tools in preventing your pet from the dangers of household cleaners.
- Ensure all cleaning products are stored and secured away from access by your pets.
- You will also want to take precautions when they are in use. Always supervise your pets or block their access when cleaning. Dogs have been known to take a few sips from the mop buckets, taste the freshly polished furniture or run off with the sponge when we aren’t looking. Cleaning time is great time to give your pets an enrichment chew or puzzle toy in their crate or a quiet room.
- After you are finished cleaning, empty any trash that may contain cleaning towels, sponges etc. so pets don’t raid the trash for these items.
- Provide exercise and appropriate chew toys to prevent your pet from looking for fun in the wrong places!
- Train reliable “come when called,” “leave it” and “drop it” cues. You can use these skills if your pet does get into something that is not safe.
We all want a clean, safe environment for our family, including our pets, and with a just a little careful selection of products and management it can certainly be achieved.