Avoid Pet Toxins in Your Cleaning Products

Watch out for pet toxins in shampoos.

Is your home free of pet toxins? Do you spend hours scrubbing the floors, shopping for pet-safe cleaning products, and generally make sure that no danger to your beloved fur-babies lurks there? Actually, it doesn’t matter if you are Mr. Clean’s drill sergeant, you will find it extremely difficult to completely eradicate all the hazards that might attract dogs and cats. With that in mind, let’s look at some common and not-so-common dangers that may create a pet-toxic home.

How Do You Clean Your Home?

Toxins in cleaning products could harm your pet.
image.unsplash.crystal de Passile-Chabot

Do you use strong cleaning agents, or do you carefully select all-natural products that promise not to harm your pets? The chemicals in toxic household cleaners vary in severity, from acute hazards that create respiratory issues, watery eyes or chemical burns, to long-term hazards like cancers, fertility issues or compromised immune systems.  Here are 6 dangerous chemical ingredients often found in cleaning products:


Pet-toxic chemicals can harm your pets.
Pet toxins commonly found in household cleaners.

Common Culprits Containing Pet Toxins

Along with laundry detergents, watch out for automatic dishwasher soaps. Especially, those little “pods” that look like treats to your dog!  In truth, they could contain bleach or other harmful chemicals.

Does your dog sneak a drink from the toilet? The products you use to clean the toilet could harm your pet. Especially, avoid those stick-on cleaners.

Toxins May Appear in Unexpected Products

You probably know to watch out for floor and counter cleaning products, and you most likely know that many laundry detergents contain pet toxins. But you may be surprised to find that said toxic chemicals appear in other products that may be found in your home.

Many dog and cat owners use fragrant sprays, plug-ins or candles in their homes to hide that hound dog aroma or litter box odor. However, many of those air-fresheners contain ingredients that cause asthma or allergic reactions in some animals. Even laundry detergents may contain fragrances that harm sensitive lungs.

According to Don’t Mess with Mama, “The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has found that one-third of the substances used in the fragrance industry are toxic, yet because the formulas used for these fragrances are trade secrets companies aren’t required to disclose the ingredients used.”

It can be difficult to protect our pets if we don’t know what ingredients a product contains.

Sudsy Soaps

Did you know that bubble bath products often contain toxins? Add in the liquid soaps many of us place on our bathroom vanities or by the kitchen sinks and we have sudsy petri dishes full of toxins just waiting for our curious cats and dogs to taste.

Some of these products contain ingredients like 1,4-dioxane, diethanolamine (DEA), triethanolamine (TEA), sodium laureth sulfate, PEG compounds, that are known carcinogens linked to organ toxicity.”

Toxic Pet Shampoo Could Hurt Your Dog

Bathing our dogs is an important part of regular grooming. Choose a chemical-free shampoo for bathing your pet. Avoid products with fragrance or dyes. Several commonly-used dyes may cause allergic reactions in some dogs.  Some dyes come from coal tar, a known carcinogen.

For example, Parabens, used in cosmetics as well as shampoos as preservatives, show links to breast cancer. You may find them listed as methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben benzyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid (p-hydroxybenzoic acid), or parahydroxybenzoate.

Avoid mineral oil, stearalkonium chloride, sodium laureth sulphate.  DEA, lauramide DEA, and cocomide DEA, often used as foaming agents in shampoos, are known carcinogens. Rita Hogan, canine herbalist, offers good suggestions for choosing safe dog shampoos here.

Disinfecting Wipes Not Always Safe for Pets

In this stressful time of trying to avoid the Covid-19 virus, many homes make use of “wipes” to clean areas of our homes.  According to one site, one of the ingredients in Clorox Wipes is:

ALKYL DIMETHYL BENZYL AMMONIUM CHLORIDE (C14 60%, C16 30%, C12 5%, C18 5%) Moderate Concern: respiratory effects; Some Concern: developmental/endocrine/reproductive effects.

Keep those wipes out of reach of your pets. Even the used ones could retain some pet toxins.

Watch Out for Ammonia!

Ammonia can damage a dog or cat’s skin, lungs and other membranes. Hides cleaners that contain Ammonia or choose safer options.

How to Choose Safe Household Products

Because most of us live in closed-up homes due to air conditioning, it makes sense to find safer cleaning products for ourselves, as well as our pets. If toxic cleaners make us cough or burn our eyes, imagine what they will do to our pets.

The Environmental Protection Agency offers a list of safer products to use in your home.  EWG’s list of safe cleaning products gives you a guide for choosing the products you like.

In my home, we like Mrs. Meyers products for their nice fragrances and the fact that they use essential oils in making the products. In addition, Seventh Generation Laundry Soap is a staple in my laundry room. Their detergent offers a combination of plant-based cleaners, no dyes, no synthetic fragrances and is hypo-allergenic.


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