Did you know that India is now home to more than 32 million pets?! This means that 32 million furbabies have a home where they are loved and adored! As parents, we all know that an unavoidable part of parenthood & pawrenthood is cleaning up after their ‘toilet accidents in the house and ensuring clean surroundings. It often ends up with us having to clean up immediately with a floor cleaner and air fresheners. We also need to use insecticides to keep fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes away for the safety of our babies and fur babies.
But did you know that not all house cleaning supplies are safe? Certain common floor cleaners contain certain chemicals and ingredients that can be toxic for your dogs and cats. According to Dr. Ajay Satbige, the in-house vet at Wiggles, “pets spend the most time on the floors and can eat substances that have caught these toxic chemicals. They lick a lot of surfaces too.” Their powerful sense of smell further makes them targets of chemicals that don’t affect humans.
First, let us look at some of these harmful ingredients
Sometimes listed as ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’, these chemicals used in floor cleaners and air fresheners are responsible for the pleasant smell. These endocrine disruptors irritate the eyes, ears, and skin and may also lead to breathing issues and tumors (pancreatic, testicular, and liver).
Also known as ammonium hydroxide, this is a popular ingredient in cleaning agents because of its stain removal properties. However, this chemical can cause burning in the nose, mouth, and respiratory tract if ingested by both humans and pets. It is found in many popular cleaning supplies for floors, multi-purpose, oven cleaners, window cleaners, etc.
Adding to the list of harmful chemicals, glycol ether is found in spot cleaners, all-purpose cleaners, and glass cleaners. This compound is said to be linked with anemia, and lung and kidney damage in both pets and humans. Be wary, certain ‘natural’ cleaners also tend to have this ingredient.
We all have most probably heard of bleach and have also used it. While it is a good cleansing agent, if ingested, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other issues in pets and humans. Dr. Ajay also added, “Dogs and cats have a strong sense of smell, and smelling bleach can be harmful to them and cause breathing issues.” If a pet is over-exposed to the smell of bleach, it is toxic leading to nose blindness - loss of smell in dogs. Bleach is found in detergents, floor cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, and dish detergents.
Now that we know the harmful ingredients in house cleaning supplies, what should one do?
We need to find safer alternatives to keep the house clean from bacteria and also keep insects as well as bugs away. Most of the time, we buy products based on their brand or fragrance. But it is important to look carefully at the labels and read the ingredients it contains.
Here are a few things to look out for that we highly recommend in home-cleaning supplies:
Alcohol-free - alcohol ingestion, as well as skin contact, is harmful to dogs, leading to alcohol poisoning. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, risk of seizures, and other dangers. So make sure to avoid alcohol-based cleaning agents.
Allergen and toxin-free - Ensure that your cleaning supplies don’t contain the chemicals mentioned above. While they’re excellent at cleaning, many of these chemicals can trigger various allergies and respiratory illnesses.
Plant-based - Mother nature is a treasure trove of goodness. You can find amazing cleaning agents, and tick and flea repelling agents from plants. Many of our mothers and grandmothers used natural remedies for every single purpose, and they were right!
Here are some natural plants and herbs that have great cleaning and healing properties:
- Neem - It is a wonder-working ingredient that is completely kid and pet friendly. In addition to its antibacterial and antifungal properties, it can help in the prevention as well as treatment of tick infection in pets!
- Lemongrass - This antibacterial ingredient along with its anti-malarial and anti-protozoan properties, can be used to make your own DIY cleaner as well. It helps keep mosquitoes and other insects away from its high citrus content.
- Lavender - This healing adaptogen is an amazing ingredient to have in any supply. The scent of lavender is known to keep away bugs and is said to relieve fatigue and stress.
- Clove - We know of its usage in toothpaste and Biryanis, but cloves are also great mosquito repellants and are used in many skincare products.
In case you decide to continue using toxic cleaners that are not safe for pets, Dr. Ajay suggests that they are kept out of reach. Don’t use them when the pet is present in the room. It is advisable to air out the house so that fumes don’t get trapped. Most of all don’t leave any residue that can be smelled or licked,”
However, many brands have realized that homes now also belong to 4-legged children, and hence many cleaning products are non-toxic for pets as well. You will find ‘pet-friendly’ on the product and these are generally safe for babies and pets. But always make sure to carefully go through all the ingredients to ensure you get the safest products. To get started, you can check out the Wiggles Kids and Pets Safe Floor Cleaner. Our expert vets curated a floor cleaner that is safe and gentle. It contains insect repellents, antibacterial properties, and a stress-relieving lavender scent, that makes for a home full of health, hygiene, and joy!
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*Disclaimer: This blog is vet-approved and includes original content which is compiled after thorough research and authenticity by our in-house team of vets and content experts. It is always advisable to consult a veterinarian before you try any products, pet food/treats or any kind of treatment/medicines on your pets, as each pet is unique and will respond differently.