Cleaning products and your pet

Many of us are spending much more time at home than usual. With time on our hands, we’re finally getting around to some of those laborious cleaning jobs that we have a tendency to put off during more ‘normal’ times.

Whether you’re deep cleaning your oven, making your skirting boards sparkle or washing all of your carpets, some chemicals used around the home can be toxic to your pet(s).

Your dog is probably quite nosey and will be curious about what you are up to – this means they may get chemicals on their paws or, because dogs will explore with their mouths, they may lick something they shouldn’t. If they feel a little anxious at their home being moved around during a deep clean, they may turn to chewing to calm themselves down, which means they could ingest something they shouldn’t.

Maybe part of your deep cleaning involves deep cleaning your cat’s favourite sleeping spots. Are you sure you are using safe chemicals in case they sneak in whilst the area is still wet with cleaning product? If your cat favours drinking from the sink or the toilet, ensure that any harmful chemicals are never be left in these places for your cat to consume.

So, what cleaning products are harmful to my pet?

Some cleaning products can be extremely harmful to your pet, causing long term damage and, in the worst of cases, they can be fatal. Chemicals found in some cleaning products can burn your pet’s paws or, if swallowed, can burn their throats and stomach.

The worst chemicals to cause harm to your pet(s) are:


If you’re cleaning with bleach, make sure it’s diluted with water and rinsed fully afterwards. Whether you are cleaning floors or your dog’s crate, ensure surfaces are fully dry before letting your pet near them to avoid any bleach, diluted or not, getting on their paws or fur. Diluted bleach can still burn their paws or can be ingested during self-grooming and cause internal damage.  

If you have bleached the toilet or are using toilet blocks (which contain bleach), be sure to keep your toilet lid down.

Oven cleaner, dishwasher tablets and laundry detergents

All of these can be toxic to your pet if ingested. Keep your four-legged friend away whilst cleaning your oven and ensure all of these cleaning products are stored securely in containers, ideally up high in a cupboard or on a shelf. If you store your cleaning products, including bleach, in a lower cupboard, consider using a childproof lock to ensure that your pet cannot access the cupboard.

Hand Sanitiser

We are all using hand sanitiser more frequently than usual right now. Hand sanitiser often contains alcohol, which can be toxic and cause sickness and tiredness in your pet, as well as seizures if large amounts are ingested.

As with other cleaning products, store hand sanitiser securely and out of reach from your pet. If you are taking it on your dog walks with you, be sure to keep it completely separate from any treats or balls you take with you and be sure to wait until your hands are completely dry before picking up their ball or rewarding them Vitalin’s Luxury Treats for their good behaviour.


Which chemicals are safe to use?

Since your pet can’t read a label, it is your responsibility to ascertain which cleaning products are safe to use around your home. There are in fact lots of products on the market, which are pet friendly and safe for them to come into contact with. These all have fewer chemicals in them and are far less likely to cause your pet any harm if they get on thier paws or are accidentally ingested from chewing or grooming.

There are also lots of natural cleaning products that won’t harm your pets, many of which you will most likely have in your cupboards already. Not only can these be cost-effective cleaning solutions, they are also less damaging to the environment, so are an all-around excellent addition to your cleaning cupboard.

Effective natural cleaning products include baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice.

What to do if your pet comes into contact with, or ingests cleaning products

If you suspect that your pet has come into contact with cleaning chemicals there are some signs you need to look out for. These include:

  • Ulcers and sore looking skin either on their paws or, if swallowed, inside their mouth or on their tongue.
  • Being sick or coughing
  • Collapsing
  • Becoming lethargic
  • Having trouble eating
  • Dribbling or foaming at the mouth
  • Rubbing their face and mouth with their paws.

If your pet is showing any of these signs, you should take them to the vet immediately. If you know which cleaning product is causing the reaction, take it with you so the vet can refer to the packaging and administer care more efficiently.

To Summarise

Whilst using chemicals in your home, be sure to keep your pet out of the way, until the cleaned areas are completely dry.

Bleach, dishwasher tablets, laundry detergents, oven cleaner and hand sanitiser are particularly toxic to your pet. Be sure to dilute bleach and store all of these products securely away from your pet(s) at all times.

There are many pet safe cleaning products on the market in addition to natural cleaning products, which are both safe and environmentally friendly. These are baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice.

If you suspect your pet has come into contact with and/or ingested cleaning chemicals, take them to your vet immediately.