Green cleaning products and homemade cleaners continue to grow in popularity, and as the season of spring cleaning approaches, many of these products will start flying off the shelves, and filling up our houses. Green cleaning product users will revel in the idea that they are keeping their home and family safe from harmful toxins.
But just because a product is “green” to us humans, doesn’t mean that it’s green to our pets.
Natural doesn’t mean pet healthy
We as humans know that not everything that grows on trees (or from the ground) is safe to eat. And just because something’s safe for us, doesn’t mean it’s safe for our animals (just think of grapes/raisins and chocolate).
Natural cleansers such as oranges, lemons and peppermints are common in cleaning products, particularly green products. They not only prove effective in cleaning, but they provide a fresh scent. However, cats can suffer from stomach aches from the oils in these products.
Garlic and onion have been known to be inside do-it-yourself cleaning products; however, these are extremely unhealthy for your pets.
Another issue is tea tree oil. If absorbed through the skin, your pet can suffer loss of coordination, muscle weakness and even liver damage. Ingesting the oil can cause seizures, and inhaling it could even cause pneumonia.
The many shades of green
Another issue with placing your faith with green products is that there are different levels of green. A “green” label doesn’t mean that the product is free of toxins. Many of these products have significantly less toxic amounts, so that humans would have to encounter an extreme dose in order to be affected.
However, now only are our pets usually smaller than us, but they don’t have the awareness that we do to stay away from an area that has just been cleaned. The fresh scent of these green cleaning products might be attractive to a dog or cat, causing them to spend more time than they should in a recently-cleaned area of your house, sniffing in and licking up potentially toxic or harmful chemicals.
A good rule of thumb to remember is if a product says “keep out of reach of children,” then you can bet that you should keep your pet away too.
How to keep your pets safe
- Keep your pets away from areas being cleaned
- Rinse all areas well after cleaning to get rid of potential irritants or toxins
- When in doubt, go with unscented versions of cleaning products
- Ask your vet about any natural cleaning products that might be harmful to your pets