If you’ve ever had a toddler in your home, you know that baby proofing the house is a basic safety requirement. Think of your pets as permanent toddlers! Keeping your furry family members safe from exposure to household products and chemicals that can be toxic is important. Almost every family has products in their home that can cause problems in dogs and cats like gastrointestinal upset (vomiting and/or diarrhea). Other products — some that might surprise you — can even cause more serious problems like seizures, liver or kidney failure, and lead to death if not treated quickly once your pet has come into contact with or ingested them. But don’t worry — it’s easy to keep your pets safe with a bit of planning, careful reading of product labels, and attention to detail.
Almost any household product can be dangerous to your pet, even those labeled “safe” or “natural”,lis including homemade products. While in many cases the product’s ingredients are the dangerous component, your pet can also be at risk depending on the amount of the product they are exposed to or the way in which they’re exposed. All of the following have the potential to cause harm and should be avoided or, if used in or around the home, stored with extreme care.
Some ingredients are best avoided altogether. If you see these ingredients on the product label, it’s safest not to use them around your pets:
Pets can be exposed to toxic household products in several ways, all of which can lead to poisoning or toxicity:
Even the most careful pet owner is often no match for a curious cat who can open cabinets or a dog who can reach the countertop. A little extra planning can go a long way to keeping your pet safe:
In case of exposure, your first call should be to the ASPCA Poison Control or Pet Poison Helpline. Both hotlines are available 24/7 for poison–related help specific to your pets. If your pet collapses, loses consciousness, has a seizure, or has difficulty breathing, that is an emergency — please take them directly to the nearest veterinary hospital for immediate evaluation.
Even the household products we typically think of as safe and familiar can pose a risk to your pet if they are exposed. A bit of common sense and planning for how you use and store a product go a long way to prevent dangerous exposure for your dog or cat. When using cleaning products and other products in your home, it is always safest to keep your pet out of the room until you are finished. Before allowing your pet back in, ensure all surfaces are dry, and the air is free from the product's odor. When in doubt, err on the side of caution to keep your furry family members safe and healthy!