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Clean Your Home Without Making Your Pet Sick

Muddy paw prints across the floor and nose prints stamped on window panes help make a house a home, but daily life with dogs and cats can make staying tidy difficult. Sometime it feels like a never ending struggle between you and the layers of dirt and fur. While we dust, mop and scrub our homes to keep it clean for all family members, is this cleaning safe for our four legged friends.

Pet unfriendly cleaning products

Some products that clean and disinfect our homes can harm our dogs and cats. Topping the list of hazardous cleaning products are bleach, laundry detergent pods and phenol based disinfectants. Bleach is a strong alkali that can erode paw pads as your pet walks on it or can damage mouths and throats if ingested. Pet can mistakenly ingest soaps that can irritate the stomach and induce vomiting or coat the airways and prevent breathing. Phenol-based disinfectants effectively kill bacteria and viruses but are toxic to both dogs and cats. Cats are especially sensitive to phenols and even small amounts absorbed through the skin can be deadly.

Many common household cleaners are dangerous for pets if touched or ingested. Strong acidic or alkaline cleaners are the most dangerous because of their corrosive nature. These include:

  • Toilet bowl cleaners
  • Lye
  • Drain cleaners
  • Rust removers
  • Calcium or line removers

Check labels to avoid these ingredients

  • Ammonia
  • Chlorine
  • Formaldehyde
  • Glycol ethers

These have been linked to cancer, anemia and kidney, liver and lung damage among animals.

You should take it seriously if you see your pet showing symptoms such as vomiting, difficulty in breathing, convulsion or seizures, abdominal pain, red and inflamed paw pads general lethargy, decreased appetite. These are all signs of potential poisoning.

Even when we are cautious, pets can eat or drink non-food items faster than we can take action. If you know your dog or cat has been exposed to a potentially harmful cleaning product, seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. Depending on the chemical and the level of exposure, supportive care and monitoring may be all that’s required. But it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

There are several natural cleaning, disinfecting and deodorising product alternatives that we can use. Some of these can be also made at home. Try these instead.


Dr Sharad Singh Yadav is the Chairman of Advanced Pet Hospital & Research Centre which is open 24 hours throughout the year and located in Bishal Nagar, Kathmandu. He may be contacted on tel: 4422855 or email: aphktm@gmail.com