Have you started your Spring cleaning yet? Not only is it important to get a deep clean in, but especially for families with a furry four-legged member. Muddy paw prints tracked in from outside and those artistic nose prints on the windows help make a house a home, but they also can make staying tidy a challenge.
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) conducted research in 2020 and found household cleaning products and chemicals are the sixth most frequent toxins. Our furry family members spend most of their time on or near the floor, breathing in toxins or absorbing them through their paw pads and skin. They roll, play and sleep on the floor; they lick their fur and paws and chew their toys, all of which are in direct contact with cleaning products. They also inhale sprays and fumes which impact their health. Dogs with skin allergies and sensitivities are becoming increasingly common, and, as a result, are suffering from itchy, scratchy, and red inflamed skin.
Read Labels Carefully
To help protect your furry family member, be sure to read the list of ingredients and instructions on cleaning products. While a label may claim their product is “green” or “natural”, the contents may not be safe for your dog. If the label instructs you to “Keep This Product Out of the Reach of Children and Animals” you can expect it to be harmful.
What to Look for in Cleaning Products
Before you expose your dog further to potentially toxic chemiclas, avoid using any products containing these chemicals:
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Formaldehyde (found in general household cleaners)
- Perchloroethylene (found in carpet and rug cleaners)
- Phenols (typically found in cleaners with “sol” in the name)
- Phthalates (used with scented products, like air fresheners)
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Gycol ethers
Furry Friendly Safe Cleaning Products
There are a variety of cleaning brands to choose from that are pet-safe and non-toxic that will keep our homes squeaky-clean and free from exposing your dog to harsh chemicals. Here are a few suggestions:
D-I-Y Homemade Cleaners
Many of the ingredients used in do-it-yourself cleaning products can be found right in your home. These ingredients are safe to use around your dogs. As an added bonus, they are usually less expensive than buying commercial cleaners, and environmentally-friendly.
- Distilled vinegar – While distilled vinegar has many home cleaning uses. It can be mixed with other ingredients, depending on how you plan to use it. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer and disinfectant. A good, general all-purpose cleaner can be made by mixing ½ cup of vinegar in a gallon of lukewarm water. This can be used on countertops, floors, windows, and walls.
- Baking soda – Baking soda is and oldie, but a goodie. Try sprinkling it on your carpets before vacuuming to freshen them up. Use a 1:1:1 ration with water and salt to create a good scrub from countertops, feed bowls and other hard surfaces.
- DIY laundry detergent – It might surprise you to know laundry detergent can be toxic to dogs if used to wash their bedding, coats, sweaters, and stuffed toys. Try making your own laundry soap using castile soap, borax, washing soda, baking soda and essential oils.
A great way to mask unpleasant odors are essentials oils and they are pet-friendly. Add a few drops to your water/vinegar spray or your doggie laundry. In addition to smelling nice, these concentrated oils contain anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties as well.
However, not all essential oils are pet-friendly. Citrus essential oils such as lemon and orange should not be used in a home with pets.
Pet-safe essential oils include:
- Clary Sage
We all want to keep our furry family members healthy and safe. Consider using pet-safe household cleaners to your list of essentials. They’re safer for your dog and may prevent a long-term health issue.