The hidden dangers of housekeeping

With spring in full swing, many of us have been busy sprucing up our homes and PDSA vets share how to keep your pets safe while spring cleaning.

Though we might love that feeling of a squeaky-clean space, it can create a surprisingly dangerous environment for our pets.

PDSA Vet Nurse, Nina Downing said: “Many cleaning products we use; bleach, oven cleaner, dishwasher tablets or laundry detergents, contain extremely strong chemicals that can be fatal to our pets if eaten or breathed in. They can’t read the labels, so they rely on us to keep them safe.”

Store them out of reach

Pets are curious by nature, and explore anything unusual they find lying around. Sadly, this can lead to accidents – dogs tend to chew to relax or keep themselves entertained and can be drawn to bottles or cleaning tablets.

Make sure you put products away carefully, storing them well out of reach, just as you would for young children. If you’ve got a pet who has mastered the art of opening cupboard doors, it’s worth installing a child proof lock wherever you keep your cleaning supplies.

Use pet-safe cleaning products

Fortunately, there are plenty of pet-safe cleaning products that we can use instead of toxic ones. These contain far fewer harsh chemicals, so they’re less likely to harm your pet if they come into contact with them. Minimising the amount of products we use in the home is another way of reducing risk to our pets – try switching to handy items like the Vax Mini Motorised Pet tool to pick up stubborn dirt and pet hair before it builds up and requires a deep clean with harsher cleaning products.

Most us aren’t aware of the natural alternatives we have lying around either. Household ingredients you’d keep in your pantry like baking soda, vinegar, or lemon juice do a great job of breaking down grease, grime and limescale – and are also much better for the environment!

Always follow the instructions

Bleach and detergents can be the most fatal household products for our pets – these chemicals are highly corrosive and can cause permanent damage. It’s really important to use these at the correct dilution; stronger doesn’t mean more effective. If used at the right concentration, in a well-ventilated room, they should be less harmful to our furry friends.

For a final clean, wipe down counter tops and floors with water to wash away any lingering product. Wait until surfaces are completely dry before allowing pets to explore – just like we protect ourselves with rubber gloves, our pet’s paws can be subject to nasty chemical burns.

Keep pets out of harm’s way

Where possible, it’s best to keep pets out of the room entirely while you’re doing any cleaning. If your pet does come into contact with any products, contact your vet straight away. Treat this as an emergency and if you know what has been eaten or touched their skin, bring the packaging along for your vet. This way, they will know how best to treat them.