Coronavirus Cleaning Could Pose Danger to Pets

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As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread rapidly, many are doing their best to keep their homes and workplaces as clean as possible.

However, some of those disinfectants that fight COVID-19 may also be putting your pets in danger.

Disinfectants That Pose a Risk to Your Pet

  • Isopropyl Alcohol – Isopropyl alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol and isopropanol, is a common disinfectant found in most homes. However, this substance is twice as toxic as ethanol — the alcohol in wine and beer — to dogs. Symptoms could include low blood sugar, upset stomach, slow heart rate, low blood pressure, drunkenness, and difficulty breathing.
  • Bleach – Regular strength household bleach can cause irritation to the skin and damaged fur, even in small exposures. It could even lead to chemical burns. If ingested, it can lead to vomiting and stomach irritation, and bleach can cause extensive damage to eyes. Never mix bleach with other chemicals, either, as it could produce toxic gas.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide – Exposure to hydrogen peroxide could result in irritation or damage to skin and eyes. It also induces vomiting, and may damage the stomach lining.
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds – Quaternary ammonium compounds — or “quats” — are in some disinfecting wipes and sprays. They can cause corrosive injury to any tissue they contact.
  • Phenols – Chemical compounds that contain the word “phenol” are found in everything, from all purpose cleaning sprays to toilet bowl cleaners. These can be corrosive if they contact skin and eyes, or if they are swallowed. Even worse, they can cause corrosive injury to the lungs if inhaled.

These cleaning products are the same ones that were likely already in use in your home. The issue is that the pandemic has raised the frequency of use. That means that there are more opportunities for poisonings to happen.

As pet owners, we need to stay diligent about keeping our pets safe around cleaning products in the home.

Cats are particularly at risk. They are small, and their bodies do not handle toxins well because they lack certain liver enzymes. On top of that, cats are constantly licking their fur.

On the other hand, even though dogs are larger and metabolize chemicals differently, they do lick their paws. They also tend to lap up liquids, especially those left in buckets.

Keeping Your Pet Safe While Cleaning and Disinfecting

Of course, it’s not reasonable not to disinfect our spaces. So what can you do to keep your pet safe while you clean?

It’s simple, really. The best thing you can do it keep your pet out of the room, especially if you’re using an open mop bucket. If you use paper towels, disinfectant wipes, or anything else disposable, throw these items away in covered trash cans away from your pet’s reach.

Make sure that everything has dried completely before allowing your pet back into the space.

If you think your pet may have come into contact with a cleaning product, contact your veterinarian immediately for assistance.