The warmer temperatures of spring bring thoughts of backyard barbecues, long walks in the park, and spring cleaning! Cleaning of any sort is a special challenge for pet owners, who not only have extra to clean (shedding fur, grimy food bowls, muddy paw prints, and smelly litter boxes for starters), but who also have to keep the safety of their furry friends in mind at the same time.

The health of your sweet pet is our top priority at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, so consider the following pet safe cleaning tips our gift to you!

The Importance of Pet Safe Cleaning

Using your favorite commercial cleaner in the bathroom or to mop the kitchen floor may not seem like a big deal, but ingredients commonly found in cleaning products, such as alcohol, ammonia, organic solvents, and phenols, can have serious implications for pets. Not only are pets physically smaller than humans, they use their mouths to groom themselves and explore their worlds, making the chances of coming into contact with a cleaning product that much greater.

Tips from the Pros

There are plenty of biodegradable, non-toxic cleaning products on the market, many of which can be found at most major stores or online (just beware of anything containing essential oils, which could be toxic to cats). Another option is to simply make your own cleaners using safe products you probably already have in your cupboards, such as:

  • Distilled white vinegar – Simply combine ½ cup white vinegar with a gallon of warm water and add to a spray bottle for a wonderful, all-purpose, and pet-friendly cleaner. Use on glass, floors, and in the kitchen and bathroom for a non-toxic sparkle.
  • Baking soda – Mix baking soda with water and use to scrub sinks, pet food and water bowls, and other non-porous surfaces. Sprinkle a layer of baking soda in the litter box before adding litter to neutralize odor, and add up to ½ cup when laundering pet bedding for a fresh result.
  • Borax – Besides boosting the efficacy of your regular laundry detergent, Borax (found in the laundry aisle at the grocery store) can be used to clean carpets and as a replacement for scouring powder used to clean tubs, showers, and toilet bowls.
  • Mineral oil – Replace that toxic wood polish with mineral oil, but just make sure to keep it away from open flames as the oil is flammable. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice for a fresh, springy scent.

If you suspect that your pet has been exposed to a toxic substance, time is of the essence. Please call the ASPCA’s pet poison hotline or contact us immediately.