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Spring cleaning with pets
Pet Care

May 2, 2016

PetSafe® Expert

Amy Shojai, CABC

Spring Cleaning Safety Hazards for Pets

pet safe cleanersAt my house, spring means rain storms, lots of wildflowers, shedding fur, and muddy paw prints. My cats stay indoors year around, unless safely on leash with a cat halter. They've always enjoyed the feel of grass between their toes, but I'm very careful in North Texas because of the wildlife.

Magical-Dawg spends much more time outside during the spring than any other time of year. Summers are too hot, winters too cold, and fall too rainy, so he's having a blast playing Frisbee fetch through shoulder-high bluebonnets.

I'd never leave any of my pets unsupervised outside, though, and even indoor spring cleaning may pose potential pet risks both indoor and out. Cleaning products offer a major risk. While dogs are more prone to chewing or tasting toxic substances, cats may risk poisoning simply by walking through spills and licking to clean themselves. Some of these products can cause toxicity when spilled on the fur and absorbed through the skin. Just being in the vicinity of cleanup may put pets at risk from product fumes, too.

Beware these 5 spring cleaning danger zones to keep your dogs and cats safe during spring cleaning.

Cleaning Products

Watch out for cleaning products that contain phenols, phthalates, formaldehyde (in many cleaning products), bleach, isopropyl alcohol, and perchloroethylene (often in carpet shampoos). Be very careful of combining products. What's safe alone may turn toxic when mixed.

pet friendly cleaners

Garden Supplies

Dogs may want to help you prepare your garden. Just be sure that any fertilizer, pest baits, and even mulch won't pose a risk. The same ingredients that make pest baits attractive to rats also appeals to your dog's taste buds. And some kinds of mulch (cocoa mulch, for example) contains high concentration of theobromine, the substance in chocolate that poisons dogs. Also, cats allowed outside to hunt may munch a poisoned varmint, or a poisonous critter might come inside.

pet friendly gardening

Pools, Hot Tubs, & Fences, Oh My!

When prepping your pools and hot tubs, think about the chemicals that keep water clean (like chlorine), which can also be toxic in concentrated forms. Once the pool cover comes off, drowning risks increase. Check fences and fix holes.

Collars caught on fences, landscaping, or other barriers could trap or choke your pet, so springtime is a good time to revisit pet proofing inside your home and out.

dog collar choking hazard

Safely Store & Toss

Keep dangerous products properly contained in pet-proof bins, preferably locked away from curious teeth and paws. When you toss the trash, be sure the garbage container can't be breached. You not only want to protect YOUR pets, but also neighbor pets, strays, or wildlife that might be attracted.

keep dogs out of trash

Secure Windows & Screens

We love the fresh air, but window-perching cats consider screens and blinds lounge-worthy. Be sure that a lazy cat won't push out the screen and fall from the windows.

cats escaping windows

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) now offers a "Safer Choice" logo, which can be found on more than 2,000 products offering safer packaging, ingredients, and usage for pets and the people who love them. That doesn't mean these products don't pose risks for determined cats and dogs, but they can make spring cleaning less risky for the pets you love.

How do you keep your pets and home safe during spring cleaning? Share in the comments!

Written by

Amy Shojai, CABC

Amy Shojai, CABC

Pet Expert

PetSafe® Expert

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