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We all see the family home as our nest, our safe haven, but how safe is it for our pets with all the cleaning products that we have around the house?

Bathroom cleaners, floor cleaners, sprays, disinfectant, bleach, kitchen cleaners the list can be endless The cupboard under your sink or bathroom cabinets can be a poison zone for your animals.

In Dubai, some of us have the luxury of cleaning services, maids and nannies.. not always the most educated in pet care. That’s not to be rude! its just life and so with staff/family members as they become, living with us. This may be the first time they have lived and experienced animals or had to take into consideration animal welfare.

Even experienced animal families and the busy lifestyles that they lead, things can be left out unattended.

The puppy, inquisitive about everything, the bored older dog sniffing something new! your cats swiping of things on a worktop with no understanding what the spill on the floor can cause to other household pets. When it is not your pet it’s you or your help! an extra wet floor with bleach that the cat walk's through and then licks her paws, the open detergent box that your dog picks up and punctures a tooth through a laundry tab.

We can hear everyone now, I would never do that, I’m careful! but believe you me even the most protective/due diligent owner could attend the vets at some time and say “I turned around for 2 seconds”!!

Unfortunately, It happens! it can happen to anyone. The idea is that we know the signs, what to look for and how to tell if you need to get your pet seen by the vet. You may not see the incident as it happens, but all of a sudden your pet is acting different and you can’t quite put your finger on why!!

Firstly let's look at the type of things that can cause an issue with your pet.

  • laundry liquid and powder

  • floor or general-purpose cleaners

  • handwashing soaps

  • washing up liquid

  • bubble or foam bath

  • carpet shampoo

  • dishwasher products

  • toilet freshener

  • fabric conditioner

  • hair shampoo and conditioner

  • bleach

Why are they dangerous to our pets?

Detergents contain a mixture of ingredients including surfactants  Chlorine, ammonia, isopropyl alcohol, formaldehyde, and phenols are quite dangerous if ingested by animals. Many aerosol cleaners and air fresheners are toxic to a bird's respiratory system. A smaller animal's respiratory rate is faster than humans and they can suffer more toxic exposure.

Even though detergents are absorbed from the gut after being eaten, they are considered low toxicity. They can be irritant, but the main concern is when the foam or bubbles get into the lungs (inhaled) or when the amount ingested is significant, particularly if it is concentrated.

Signs and what to look for

Usually, the first sign you see will be drooling or salivating. You may notice some foaming or frothing at the mouth followed by retching and then vomiting. Dogs are more likely to vomit than cats and stomach pain and diarrhoea are also possible.  These signs can start very quickly – sometimes within a few minutes.

If vomiting occurs the foam or detergent particles are inhaled and this can cause aspiration pneumonia. The signs relating to the lungs will not start until a few hours after exposure.

Oral irritation (inside of the mouth and back of the throat) is common and can be painful. Also, any detergents on the skin can lead to skin reactions and hair loss.

Cats are generally more sensitive to detergent exposure.  Because of their grooming habits, they are more likely than dogs to suffer from respiratory complications and skin reactions.

Animal PoisonLine’s Top Tips about detergents:

1) Seek advice immediately if your pet has come into contact with a detergent

2) Prevent exposure by keeping detergents in locked or high cupboards and make access difficult (tightly closed lids and boxes)

3) If you see your pet has detergent on their coat, wash off immediately.

4) Keep your animal calm – the stomach will act like a washing machine if your pet runs around, producing foam which can cause vomiting.

Fortunately, there are pet-safe alternatives for nearly every home cleaning use—from laundry detergents and stain removers to carpet and surface cleaners!

Here are 10 pet-safe, home cleaning products you’ll want to try.

1. Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner

Plant-based Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner is made from biodegradable ingredients that have been carefully chosen to be safe for both pets and children. Puracy is hypoallergenic and free from harsh chemicals and fumes. Puracy is safe and effective for bathroom surfaces, glass, and even baby’s high chair.

2. Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent

Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent uses a combination of plant-based cleansers and triple enzymes that are tough on stains but gentle on you, your pets, and the environment. Contains no dyes, optical brighteners, or synthetic fragrances, and clinically tested to be hypoallergenic and effective at all temperatures.

3. Common Good Pet-Safe Laundry Detergent

Made from plant-derived enzymes—one that breaks down starches and another that dissolves fats—Common Good is safe for children, pets, and the environment. Fully biodegradable and hypoallergenic, Common Good contains no optical brighteners, synthetic fragrances, or harsh chemicals.

4. Nature’s Miracle Deep Cleaning Carpet Shampoo

If you have pets, you’ve probably heard of Nature’s Miracle—but did you know they make a deep-cleaning carpet shampoo that’s totally pet-safe? This low-foam, the phosphate-free formula uses bio-enzymatic odour locking technology to penetrate deep into carpet fibres and upholstery to remove stubborn stains.

5. Clean + Green Fabric Refresher

Clean + Green spray-on fabric cleaner fights tough stains and odours naturally. Perfect for those strong odours that linger on the sofa, drapes, cushions, and bedding.

6. Mrs Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner

Mrs Meyer's combines garden-inspired scents, essential oils, and plant-derived cleaning ingredients in an easy-to-use spray-on cleaner that tackles tough messes wherever they happen. Pet-safe, and effective on all non-porous surfaces.

7. SpotAway Pet-Safe Glass Cleaner

Ideal for cleaning glass, plexiglass, chrome, stainless steel, mirrors, and more, SpotAway makes non-toxic, non-abrasive cleaners that are safe for the environment, your kids, and your pets. Contains no bleach, ammonia, or harmful chemicals.

8. PetSimplicity “Whizz Away” Stain & Odor Remover

When accidents happen, PetSimplicity’s Whizz Away has the answer. This spray-on stain and odour remover use the natural power of enzymes to break down stains and erase odours. Non-toxic and pet-safe.

9. Simply Green Bio Dog Stain & Odor Remover

Simply Green’s non-toxic, biodegradable formula uses enzymatic bacteria and proprietary Fresh Bond® technology to remove stains, eliminate odours, and discourage resoiling or remarking. Also, great for cleaning litter pans, kennels, tile, finished wood, and laminate flooring.

10. Baking Soda & Vinegar

If your cleaning budget is tight and you want to go old-school, try the traditional baking soda and white vinegar. Effective as a thorough scrub or quick wipe-down for kitchen and bathroom surfaces, these two standards team up for a cleaning combination that’s both effective and pet-safe.

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