Household Chemicals and Our Pets

Household Chemicals and Our Pets

Shadow (Our Dog)

We often don’t think of our pets when it comes time to do our household chores. Spraying for bugs, cleaning toilets, washing floors, setting mouse traps. Our pets are low to the surfaces and their paws can easily pick up chemicals from the floors and carpets. Cats and dogs are also curious, such as small children. Safe guarding our home shouldn’t just be for children, pets are family members too. Most household products do not even warn you of the chemical dangers they could cause.

Common chemicals found in the home are:




Phenol Derivatives

Caustic Products

Scented Cleaners and Aerosol Products


Pressed wood products that use glues  contain formaldehyde are common construction materials:

Particle board


Plywood paneling

Medium density fibreboard

These are often used to make furniture and cabinets.

Pungent formaldehyde can be found in these products at home:

Cosmetics and nail polish

Glues and adhesives

Foam insulation materials



Wrinkle-resistant drapes, linens, and other fabrics


Found in rug and carpet shampoos


What are Pesticides?

Definition from wikipedia:

Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.[1] A pesticide is generally a chemical or biological agent (such as a virusbacteriumantimicrobial or disinfectant) that through its effect deters, incapacitates, kills or otherwise discourages pests.

Most pesticides contain chemicals that can be harmful to people, pets and the environment. Pesticides are regulated in the United States to protect public health and the environment. 

EPA is responsible for ensuring that all pesticides sold in the United States do not cause unreasonable risks when they are used according to label directions and precautions.

Here are some examples of pesticide products we use in our homes:

Cockroach sprays and baits

Mosquito sprays

Rat poisons

Flea and tick sprays, powders, and pet collars. 

Did you know that these products are considered pesticides?

Cleaners used to disinfect the kitchen floor.

Cleaning products used to remove the mildew on bathroom tiles.

Household plant sprays.

Lawn and garden products to kill insects and weeds.

Some swimming pool chemicals.

Phenol Derivatives

Phenol is a toxic substance used in many cleaners that  kills germs, such as Pine Sol and Lysol. These have been linked to have caused  health problems in cats and rabbits. 

The fumes from phenols can get into the bloodstream through the lungs. Cats especially have a low tolerance for phenols because they can’t remove these types of toxins from the blood very well.

Caustic Products

Toilet bowl cleaners, detergents and bleach are household cleaners that can have caustic reactions in pets. The Alkaline or Acidic properties if ingested can be mild to severe depending on the amount ingested.

Scented Cleaners and Aerosol Products

* Attention Pet Bird Owners  

Birds are susceptible to toxic cleaners, especially parrots. Their lung system is highly efficient, taking in and processing more air through their bodies than mammals. This means that toxic cleaners can cause not just breathing problems for birds, but a quick death. Any products with chemical fumes or artificial fumes such as furniture cleaners, oven cleaners, drain cleaners and air fresheners plug in and can sprays should not be used.

A message from ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (Click for message)

If you suspect a toxic substance has poisoned your animal, induce vomiting immediately with some warm salt water or a little hydrogen peroxide (dosage varies based on size of animal). Call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 4ANIHELP (426-4435). They will guide you through the necessary procedures you must take to save your pets life.

” Be Aware Of Potential Hazards To Your Pets”






  1. Hi Cathy:

    As usual, you are a font of information. So glad you are continuing to provide us w/valuable insights. Thanks to your columns, I’m now using a number of “Make My Own” cleaners. Think these are much safer not only for my babies (My cats) LoL. But also for the environment in general.

    Thanks for this column today. Don’t stop providing us w/this blog. You have no idea how many people find it useful. Keep up the tremendous job you’re doing. I missed the blog last week as I’m sure others did as well.


    • cathy says:

      Dear Chris,

      Your kids (Cats) are lucky that you don’t use chemicals for cleaning. It scares me to think what can happen to our pets, because of the potential hazards of chemicals.

      Thanks again for following my blogs and share them.

      – Cathy

  2. David Smith says:

    An informative post and a reminder that it’s our responsibility to look out for the health and safety of our four-legged friends. I try to limit the amount of chemicals in the household and your post tells me I’m doing the right thing for Cody. Take care David!!

    • cathy says:

      Dear David,

      Cody is lucky to have an owner that is conscious and aware of household chemicals! I’m glad that you and Cody found my post informative!

      – Cathy

  3. We certainly do try not to use any chemicals that would harm our cats. So much great info here, Cathy; thanks for sharing and reminding us to be eco- and pet- friendly.


    • cathy says:

      Dear Martha,

      It is so easy to forget about our pets when we are using stuff around the house. I’m glad that your cats have a healthy environment to live it!

      – Cathy

  4. rimly says:

    Thank you for this Cathy. I have a beagle pup and I better be careful what I use

    • cathy says:

      Dear Rimly,

      Ahhh, a beagle pup! Enjoy all the fun that puppyhood brings! I don’t mean that in a bad way, they grow up so fast.

      Good luck!

      _- Cathy

  5. Andy says:

    Dear Cathy, I hope today finds you well.

    Some of these things we use a lot in our home. Although we don’t have pets, we used to keep two budgies in the kitchen on top the fridge. When one died suddenly and then the other about a week later, my wife did some research and came to the conclusion that we were probably responsible for their deaths because of where we kept them. I found this astonishing and very sad, but reading this now, I’ll have to agree with her.

    Great advice again. Thanks for sharing.

    Thoughts Of Beauty In The Stillness Of Dawn…

    • cathy says:

      Dear Andy,

      My day was Awesome, thanks! Some of those chemicals are in your house now, “NO.” That’s not good!! You should work on getting rid of those, a little at a time!! Sorry, about your pets! Your wife sounds like a smart lady!

      – Cathy

  6. Adriene says:

    Great tips, Cathy. Cute dog! ;p

  7. Well, my kids and pets are all grown up and moved away! I hope I didn’t poison them — luckily I didn’t clean the house much

    I would like to share this post for my readers who still have pets and kids at home, and who are tidier than me, at

    Cathy, thank you for all that you are!

    • cathy says:

      Dear Linda,

      That is all positive news that your children are okay, Thanks for sharing my post, I would love that!

      – Cathy

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In 1986, I started my cleaning business. I put one ad in the local newspaper and, within one day, I had received over twenty calls. I have always been passionate about using safe natural cleaning products and finding useful ways of creating a sustainable environment. I do my part by using natural cleaning products to clean my clients' homes. But don’t take my word for it. Read my testimonials and then give me a call at 203-710-3188.