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7 Household Chemicals That Can Harm Your Pet

by Staci Marks on April 20, 2012

There are many common household items that can pose a danger to your beloved animal companions. Hidden toxins in our homes may spell disaster for our pets. Dogs in particular love to explore the world using their mouths and noses and can ingest potentially harmful chemicals. With 15 to 20% of all animal emergencies a result of chemical poisoning, it’s important for all pet owners to take necessary precautions. Here are some common household chemicals that can harm your pet.

  1. Ammonia

    Found in cleaning products like oven de-greasers, glass and stainless steel cleaners, and other multipurpose cleaners, ammonia is harmful to humans and dogs alike. If mixed with bleach, a poisonous gas may be created, which is deadly to small pets.

  2. Formaldehyde

    The strong smell of formaldehyde, which may be found in some pet shampoos and soaps, may contribute to asthma in our pets. The nauseating odor of formaldehyde is a carcinogen, so look for products without formaldehyde, including furniture. Since dogs love to chew on things, pets who are exposed to furnishings containing formaldehyde are more at risk of inhaling or digesting traces of formaldehyde, which may cause adverse health conditions.

  3. Mothballs

    An effective method for killing moths, mothballs are also a hidden health threat to our pets. Upon inhaling mothball vapors, our pets may get headaches, eye irritation, and other respiratory conditions. It’s even worse after ingestion, which could lead to toxic poisoning due to seizure, heart arrhythmia, and liver damage. Since pets are naturally attracted to the strong curious smell of mothballs, the responsibility rests on the pet owner to keep these mothballs out of reach. Even long-term exposure to mothball vapors can cause health concerns in your pets.

  4. Glycol Ethers

    Found in harsh spot removers, carpet cleaners, and some glass cleaners, Glycol Ethers have been reported to cause lung and kidney damage as well as anemia in both humans and pets. Reducing exposure to this chemical will greatly improve your indoor toxin levels.

  5. Chlorine

    Most people don’t give it a second thought when their pet swims in the pool. However, the impact of chlorine is more adverse than we think. Also used in disinfectants, toilet bowl cleaners, and dish detergents, chlorine could cause anything from laryngeal edema, to skin irritations, to dizziness and vomiting. It’s best to avoid exposure to chlorine or, at the very least, supervise your pets if they swim in a pool that’s been treated with chlorine.

  6. Wafarin

    Found in many mouse and rat baits, these rodenticides are made to encourage ingestion. Unfortunately, dogs find these mouse and rat baits enticing as well, unaware of their hidden dangers. Anticoagulants such as brodifacoum, diphacinone, and bromodialone work by blocking vitamin K and causing massive internal bleeding in rodents. Since our pets are bigger, it takes the bleeding longer to occur, but immediate symptoms include loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, and weakness. In more serious cases, blood transfusions may be necessary.

  7. Antifreeze

    Even a couple of drops leaking from the bottom of your car can pose a serious health threat to our pets. Since antifreeze is very sweet and attractive to dogs, they are likely to be curious and explore using their mouths. Immediate symptoms include appearing drunk and lethargic. They may go into kidney failure days later. The active toxic component in antifreeze is ethylene glycol, so when choosing an antifreeze for your car, consider a safer alternative – propylene glycol-based antifreeze.

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