In this fast-moving world where we discuss how to make things better, quicker, and more adaptable for the marginalized, there is one voice that can’t be heard because they lack language that we understand. Pets!
Our pets are at our mercy, so, as good pet owners, we need to speak up on their behalf. Unfortunately, one avenue that is oft ignored is the realm of cleaning.
Can Cleaning Products Hurt My Pet?
Not only can cleaning products hurt your pet, but they can also be fatal. You may be wondering why – it’s a common question. It is because many of the chemicals – bleach, ammonia, chlorine, formaldehyde, phenol, and isopropyl alcohol – found within most traditional cleaning products are toxic.
The common pet symptoms of irritation from traditional cleaning products might include skin and eye irritation or breathing problems brought on by strong fumes emitted by the cleaning products. If it was direct contact with the cleaning product, they may have a rash or burn on the skin. If they ingested it, the cleaning product might produce lethargy, malaise, seizures, coma, vomiting, diarrhea, and, in the most severe cases, even death.
Top Cleaning Products That Are Dangerous to Pets:
- Floor cleaners
- Toilet bowl cleaners
- Fabric softeners
- Counter cleaners
- Air fresheners
The Floor Is Your Pet’s Domain
When you consider where your pet spends most of its time, it’s on the floor. So, when housecleaning with dogs, you need to think, before you use a cleaning product on your floor, whether you would put it in your mouth. If you wouldn’t, don’t put it where your dog might lick, as dogs are known for their penchant for licking floors.
Be Wary of Toilet Bowl Cleaners if You Have Pets
When housecleaning with pets, and your dog or cat has a habit of taking a drink from the toilet bowl, think carefully about what you use to clean it. Both toilet bowl cleaners that clip on the edge of the toilet and cleaners that you put in the back of the tank can pose a health risk because they could burn your pet’s mouth and throat.
Pet Owners – Stay Away from Fabric Softeners
Those fabric-softening sheets that you use for your clothing, particularly the unused ones, contain detergents that can cause many issues for your furry loved ones. If too many sheets are ingested, vomiting, oral ulcers, and intestinal blockage can occur.
Be wary of having these out where your pets can access them since even licking one of the sheets, even from its fur after contact, can cause symptoms. If you suspect fabric softener poisoning in your pet, contact your veterinarian. Unfortunately, there is no antidote, but your vet can supply supportive care.
Watch Those Counter-Surfing Pets
When you are housecleaning with cats, you need to be especially wary – does your cat stroll the counters? Is your dog a notorious counter-surfer? Make sure you check the ingredients on your counter cleaner. You have to be careful with what cleaning products you spray on your counters, and you also have to watch where the spray droplets are spreading. In addition, if you are cleaning near your pets’ water bowls, you want to ensure that no harmful chemicals are landing in their food or water.
Freshen the Air Safely
While this might not fall squarely into the category of cleaning products, many people freshen their homes with spray air fresheners, candles, and plug-in air fresheners, which may affect your dogs and cats with allergies. Whenever you are housecleaning with pets, it’s a better idea if you can make your own. One option is a quick potpourri of dried rose petals, fruits, and cloves. You can also squeeze lemons and limes for a fresh, citrus scent in your home.
What are Safe Cleaning Alternatives for Pets?
Many cleaning products can be okay for use when housecleaning with pets if you carefully follow the directions on the package. However, when you are looking for something that cleans well but is also a safe alternative for your furry companions, many exist and are probably already in your home!
Apple cider vinegar is one that, when mixed with a 1:1 ration of water, can be used in the laundry, on windows, and to wipe down counters. When encountering a more burdensome mess, you might choose a less diluted ratio; however, you will encounter a more pungent vinegar scent within your home.
Another safe cleaning product to utilize when housecleaning with cats and dogs is baking soda. When mixed with water, it is suitable wherever scrubbing is indicated, such as the toilet. However, you do not have to make your own products to find pet-safe cleaning products. Many eco-friendly cleaning products, which tend to be vinegar-based solutions, will also be safe for your fluffy friends.
How Sharp Is a Dog’s Sense of Smell?
You know how you feel when you walk into a store, and someone with a lot of perfume or aftershave walks past you with the scent wafting into your nose? If you love the scent, you might want to ask them what it is, but if you don’t like it, it can trigger a headache, a stuffed nose, or worse. Consider this: your dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times better than yours. For every scent receptor that a human has, a dog has about 50. With over 300 million olfactory receptors in their nose, dogs can smell things humans can’t even dream of.
A dog’s sense of smell is so tremendous that it can detect a substance at a concentration of one part per trillion, which would be the same as a single drop of liquid in 20 Olympic-size swimming pools.
Here is a short list of things your dog can smell that you can’t:
- Cancer, in its early stages
- Missing persons
What Do Dogs Think About the Smell of Cleaning Products?
While the scent of cleaning products conjures up visions of hygiene and sanitary spaces for us, it’s an entirely different story for your furry companions. Dogs intensely dislike the smell of cleaning products. Unfortunately, as we have read above, they can cause harm to our four-legged friends.
Inhaling the chemicals from these cleaning products directly may irritate your dog’s respiratory tract and esophagus. Additionally, ammonia creates an aroma similar to what is released in a dog’s urine. When your pup encounters this “urine-like” scent, it will associate it with another animal in the home, and it can cause undue stress.
Many cleaning products also utilize the scents of citrus, which your dog would naturally find unpleasant. When cleaning your house, you might ask another family member to take Rover for a walk. Another option is to utilize enzymatic cleaners, which won’t bother your pup’s scent-tastic nose as much.
Why Can’t Dogs Stop Sniffing Dangerous Things?
If dogs dislike cleaning products, why won’t they avoid the dangerous cleaning products? Excellent question. Dogs have something called neophilia, which means they are drawn to sniff new and novel scents. And with their sense of smell more sensitive than the most advanced manufactured instrument, they will be drawn to the cleaning products wherever you may have used them.
Why Do Pets Hate Vacuums?
In this case, there are several reasons why pets hate vacuums, all of them quite reasonable once you look at them:
Sudden Loud Noises Scare Pets
While it may seem like there was an extended prologue to your vacuuming – taking it out, plugging it in, choosing where to start – to your pet, it seems like a monster that just awoke suddenly. Noise aversion (not liking unanticipated loud noises) is common among animals, particularly dogs, which explains why so many of them dislike fireworks and thunderstorms. Vacuums, however, aren’t outside; they are right inside the house!
Erratic Movement Can Stress Out Pets
Your four-legged fur friend might not understand that you are the one controlling the movement of the vacuum. All they see is a loud monster moving about, perilously close to their loved human, who they want to protect. Additionally, the loud vibration will startle them, and their first instinct is to get away from it.
Rush of Scents from Vacuum
When you vacuum, long-settle dust and other dirt particles that contain strong odors will be disturbed. This sudden rush of scents may rankle your pet’s nose, which is exceptionally perceptive. Too much input may have them rushing to leave the room.
To solve this issue, try one of two solutions:
Easy Solution: The Management Technique – With this technique, you will manage your dog’s environment while cleaning. Take your pup and put him in a separate room in a different part of the home with a toy that will keep him happily occupied. If you have one, perhaps put on a white noise machine or a television that will help camouflage the vacuum’s noise.
Involved Solution: Training Technique to Overcome Vacuum Fear – While this is more involved, the goal is for you to help change your dog’s perception of the vacuum from a dangerous enemy to part of the household. You will need to work slowly to gain your dog’s trust, particularly if this has been a long-standing fear.
How to Train Your Dog to Be Comfortable Around Vacuum Cleaners in 3 Steps:
Step 1: Create a Positive Association
To begin this training process, you will need to ask for the help of a second person. Fill your pockets with a training treat of your choice.
Take your dog to a separate room and ask your helper to move far enough away that your dog won’t be upset when a vacuum appears. Of course, this will depend on your dog and how fearful they are.
Ask your helper to bring out the vacuum so your dog can see it, but leave it off. Next, give your dog some treats, so the visual of the vacuum and the treats will be associated in your pup’s mind. Then, request that your helper remove the vacuum from sight and stop giving treats. Repeat this act a few times to build a positive association in your dog’s mind.
After several repetitions, try a quick litmus test – ask your helper to bring the vacuum into sight of your dog but don’t automatically give any treats. Did your dog look to you for a treat? If so, your pup has now associated the vacuum with something positive – a yummy treat!
Step 2: Learn the Moves
The next step is for your dog to learn how the vacuum moves. Ask your helper to push the vacuum forward, still with it turned off, while you give your pup treats. Then, have the helper stop moving the vacuum and stop giving your dog treats.
Repeat this step numerous times, utilizing different movement types to mimic actual vacuuming. As you progress, have the helper begin to move it close to your dog, always giving treats whenever the vacuum is in motion. If your dog is eating treats and his posture remains relaxed, continue. If he stops eating or looks nervous, you are progressing too quickly.
Step 3: Turn Up the Noise
We have now come to the last, most critical step. Make sure your dog is happily taking treats from you with a turned-off vacuum moving around him before you try this. Have your helper take the vacuum a reasonable distance from your dog, turn it on for a few seconds while you feed treats, and then turn it off while you stop.
If your dog could not take treats when the vacuum was on, it means that the vacuum was too close. Try moving the vacuum further away and attempting this step again. You may even have to try it through a closed door. Don’t rush this process! You’ll know your dog is ready when he shows the same “Where are my goodies?” look when he hears the vacuum turn on.
It may take many training sessions but having a relaxed pet on house cleaning day will be well worth it!
Whether you are looking for deep cleaning to augment your speed cleaning routine or you would like to set up regular weekly cleaning, Pure House Cleaning has cleaners ready to come to your home with eco-cleaning products that your pet would approve of. Serving communities in and around Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland, we are ready to keep your home looking and feeling its best with cleaning that fits your schedule and budget. Visit our website to find out more about our cleaning process, prices for cleaning in Seattle and other coverage areas, and more.