picture of dog with hand sanitizer

Cleaning products can be hazardous to pets

Many household cleaners are toxic to pets

With all of the concern about COVID-19, we need to be extra vigilant about cleaning. But what about the impact of those cleaning products on your health and that of your dog?

Many cleaning products are highly toxic and contain bleach, ammonia, chlorine, glycol ethers, or formaldehyde.  These are all potentially harmful, especially to young children and pets. What kind of problems might result from being exposed to household cleaners? Cancer, liver and kidney damage, anemia, and neurological disorders have all shown possible links to household cleaners.

Cleaning products do more than kill germs

Several scientific studies have shown that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and chemicals in cleaning and sanitizing products, may have serious health effects. Commercial products are particularly harmful, but household products such as Pledge, Clorox Wipes, and Lysol all put out a thousand times more vapor pressure than natural cleaners. These household cleaners are highly toxic to pets.

Lysol is said to kill 99.99% of fungi viruses and bacteria, but if you choose to use it, do so with caution.  If your dog licks a surface where Lysol has been sprayed, it can cause severe chemical burns on the tongue and upper esophagus. Your dog may be unlikely to go around licking the countertop, but the product emits a considerable amount of VOC’s, even when it’s just sitting in the closet, that can cause many serious problems for you and your dog. 

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit dedicated to making people aware of potential health hazards with cleaning products, rates over 2,500 different products on their website.  The Lysol Disinfecting Spray and Lysol Neutra Air ranked particularly poor with several products receiving an F rating on an A-F scale. 

Safer Choices

A safer option is to use natural cleaners like those made by Shaklee, Seventh Generation, Greenshield, and Earth Friendly, amongst others.  

A good quality air purifier can do wonders for fighting viruses in the home.  An Austin Air Healthmate Air Purifier is well worth the investment. 

Hand Sanitizer

A hot item at any store these days is hand sanitizer. Use it frequently, but be aware that it contains high levels of ethanol alcohol and can cause alcohol poisoning if ingested by your dog. 

If you put hand sanitizer on your own hands, make sure it’s totally dry before you touch your dog’s paws or handle his or her food or treats. A small amount would likely only cause mild symptoms, but it’s best to be safe.  If your dog gets a hold of a bottle and ingests it, breathing difficulties, seizures, and even death could occur.

Dogs do not transmit COVID-19

Infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations agree that there is no evidence that pets become ill with COVID-19 or that they transmit it to others, human or animal. There is absolutely no reason at all that you need to be concerned about interacting with your pet. 

On the other hand, if you have tested positive for COVID-19, or suspect you might have the virus, please take precautions to protect your pet, to be safe. If you can, have another member of your household take care of feeding and walking your pet.

Please do not surrender or abandon your pet

Animal shelters are filling up fast. Some people have surrendered their pets in the midst of all of this. They might have lost their ability to buy their pet’s food or perhaps not understand that dogs do not transmit the virus.

Many dogs that were already in the shelter are still waiting for homes with people worried about many other things right now and unable to bring a new furry family member into their homes.

It’s a sad and scary time for many. Here are some ways you can help the 4-Legger community.

  • If you are able, please consider adopting a shelter dog or fostering one who needs a home temporarily.
  • Helping out a friend or neighbor who can’t afford to buy their dog’s food would be a lovely and generous gift that would never be forgotten.
  • If you don’t know anyone in particular who needs help, the Humane Society or a local animal shelter or rescue group would greatly appreciate your donation.
  • Many local rescue groups are doing all they can to help people in need get the food their dogs need so they can stay in their homes. Helping them help others would be much appreciated by many.

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