7 Tips for Spring Cleaning for your Pet’s Health
Veterinarian Reviewed on February 27, 2009 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Most people automatically associate spring cleaning with the use of household cleaning products. But before you take out that shining floor cleaner, be sure to read the label very carefully as you do not want to hurt your pet. Almost all commercially sold cleaning products contain chemicals that are harmful to pets. Even if you do use such a cleaning product, think about this: You wash your floor with a chemically-laced cleaning product whilst your dog or cat is outside or in another room, thinking that the chemicals won’t hurt your pet….at least until the floor is dry. But what happens when your dog or cat comes back into the room? Each time they place their tongue on the floor (perhaps to lick up dropped food), they ingest a tiny portion of that chemical. Each time they lick their paws, they are ingesting some of that chemical cleaner as well. Remember, to always keep any type of chemical out of the reach of your pets.
Some homeowners like to put a fresh coat of paint on their house as part of their spring cleaning efforts. If you are one of them, then be sure to keep the paint away from your dog or cat. Sadly, solvents, paint thinners and other mineral spirits, if swallowed by your pet, can cause severe irritation or chemical burns. This is true even if your dog or cat’s fur or paws come in contact with these types of paint products.
3. Pesticides and Fertilizers
Spring cleaning can also pertain to your garden and you might want to spray pesticides or herbicides onto your outside flowers and shrubs to prevent them from being chewed up by annoying little insects. However, before you do, you should first check to see if the pesticide you are going to use is pet friendly. Most of them aren’t and are quite lethal to pets, and even if yours is not lethal, it could still cause long-term health problems for your dog or cat. Recent studies show that the use of most types of pesticides and herbicides is related to increased rates of specific forms of cancer in dogs. Just like pesticides, lawn fertilizers can also be very toxic to pets. Always follow the manufacturer instructions after you have applied it to your lawn before allowing your pets outside. If your dog or cat is exposed to any pesticide or fertilizer, you should immediately wash them with soap and water and call your veterinarian or poison control center. Remember to store pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers in a safe place that is far out of the reach of your dog or cat.
4. Flower Planting
If you have a green thumb, you are most probably already planning out your flower beds and garden! Keep in mind that there are over 700 different varieties of plants and flowers that are poisonous to dogs and cats. Before you start planting those seedlings, first check to see if they are toxic to cats or dogs. For example, Lilies, Tulips, Daffodils and Morning Glory’s are quite lethal to pets.
One of the most annoying creatures of springtime is fleas. These tiny, pinhead size bugs can grow very quickly and multiply as soon as they have latched onto your dog or cat. Springtime is the best time to start using preventative measures to avoid your dog or cat becoming flea-infested. Preventative measures will also help in keeping your home free of fleas as well. Avoid using commercial flea products as they contain chemicals that may result in liver damage for you and your pet. Instead use Canine or Feline Target Spray for Fleas. It is an all-natural alternative that acts as an insect repellent to control fleas on your dog or cat. It can be used as a preventative measure as well as a treatment should your dog or cat already have fleas.
6. Pet Allergies
Springtime can cause on an onset of allergies for yourself, your dog and/or your cat as well. Make sure that any allergy medication that you are taking for yourself is kept stored away from your pets reach. Ironic as it is, almost every type of allergy that you can suffer from, your pet can also suffer from. A few examples of this would be allergic reactions to chemicals and drugs, contact dermatitis, insect bites and food allergies. If you suspect that your pet has developed an allergy, you can treat it by giving them Canine or Feline Nettle-EyeBright – an all natural supplement that helps to alleviate allergies by maintaining natural balance within your pet’s body as well as by stimulating their immune systems. (It can also be used to treat recurrent infections and fatigue.)7. Beware the Mold
If your idea of spring cleaning means that you are finally going to clean behind your fridge or stove, then it is best to remember that the toxins that are thrown up into the air by removing mold from these places can pose a threat to your pets. Some mold produce mycotoxins, which can cause gastrointestinal, cardiac and neurologic side effects in pets. If do find mold anywhere in your house, it is best if you contact the Environmental Protection Agency to find out more on mold hazards, including safe cleaning and removal.
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for 28 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan