Addressing the Rumors: Household Toxins and Pet Safety

When we buy cleaning products from the supermarket we expect them to do one thing: clean! Many of us use a wide array of scents, soaps, detergents, bleaching agents and much more to keep our homes smelling sweet and sparkling like a gem. What we don’t expect these products to do is poison our family. Our human family knows to avoid ingesting these products but our furry family is harder to warn.

Recently, a viral post about Swiffer products and pets has been making the rounds on social media. This post claims that the Swiffer Wetjet contains a chemical that is “one molecule away from antifreeze”. As well as that it caused the death of the original author’s dog due to liver failure. Ouch! After some research, it would appear that, according to many sources, there is no truth to this rumor. The ASPCA, for example, states:

‘the Swiffer Wet Jet cleaner contains water (90-100%), propylene glycol n-propyl ether or propylene glycol n-butyl ether, and isopropyl alcohol (1-4%). These ingredients are safe to use around pets when used according to label directions and would not cause liver damage at these concentrations. Propylene glycol n-butyl/propyl ether differs significantly from ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol is the active ingredient in antifreeze and can cause kidney failure in dogs. Propylene glycol n-propyl ether and propylene glycol n-butyl ether are very safe ingredients at levels used in cleaning products and do not cause kidney or liver failure’.

Anybody else lost? That’s a lot of chemicals that all sound very alike be looking out for. The concern is, that although small levels of exposure to these chemicals may not harm our pets, these chemicals can build up over time, triggering diseases.

So, if you’re a pet parent what can you do to keep your furry family safe and healthy at home? Here are five top tips:

  1. Household cleaners.

Even when the toxic cleaners are closed, the vapors left behind can continue to harm both us and our pets. Avoid the build-up of toxic chemicals in your pet’s system by switching to pet safe brands such as Soap Nuts.

  1. Flea control.

A challenge for most pet owners! Flea repellent products labeled as ‘natural’ may still be toxic to your pet. For example, the chemical d’Limonene can be toxic to cats. It is derived from citrus peels and found in many natural anti-flea products. Try pet safe alternatives such as electric flea traps or diatomaceous earth. This is a nontoxic substance which will control flea populations in the home.

  1. Indoor Plants.

As many plants can cause allergic reactions in humans, there are several plants considered toxic to animals. Plants to look out for in the home are lilies, tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths.

  1. Food.

Ok, so we all love to do it; slipping the dog a bit of food off our plate is harmless, right? No. Dangerous food to keep away from your pets: chocolate, avocados, garlic and onion, grapes, raisins, and mushrooms.

  1. Garden.

Herbicides, insecticide baits, sprays, and granules are some of the harmful chemicals that are used in our gardens. You don’t want these in your garden anyway, but visualize your pet rolling around in disease-causing chemicals. Our advice? Use natural pest control wherever possible. There are some great guides out there on where to buy or how to produce your own non-toxic solutions. These recipes from Gardening Know How for example are so simple.

As you can see there are many, often simple, alternatives out there. So, if you’re a pet parent, use our tips to keep your furry family safe and healthy at home.


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