How to Handle Your Pets’ Stress During a Crisis

How to Handle Your Pets’ Stress During a Crisis

In times of crisis, there is no better companion than a pet. There are countless articles and research showing the mental and health benefits that come with caring for a pet. Pets are wonderful at helping us cope with stress, and there is no better time for the unconditional love and companionship that only a pet can provide during this time of crisis.

Pets have evolved to be attuned to their humans’ feelings and emotions. In the same way that we learn their likes and dislikes, they also learn about our emotions, behaviors, and and our stress levels. Pets can even learn our mannerisms and know what they can expect from us. Many pets can help us cope with stress and anxiety. However, because dogs and cats are the most affectionate of pets, they can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise, weight loss, and improve our cardiovascular health .

But what happens to our pets when our stress and anxiety is too much to handle?“We might see an uptick in depressive behavior like trouble sleeping, losing their appetite, not wanting to play or seeming listless.” — Ettel Edshteyn, a certified trainer at Karen Pryor Academy and owner of New York City’s Poodles to Pit Bulls Clicker Training

We are going through an unprecedented crisis with a global pandemic, social distancing, and quarantine restrictions. These are very uncertain times with heightened concerns about our health, the economy, jobs, our children, elderly family members, and if we can even get the every day necessities.

Because of the added fear and stress of it all, we may be projecting certain behaviors and emotions that our pets may be unaccustomed to.

Studies have shown that pets mirror their owners’ personalities. Researchers in Austria found that dogs can mirror the anxiety and negativity of owners. A study from the University of Vienna found that both owners and dogs influenced each other’s coping mechanisms with the human partner being more influential than the dog. So, during this time, we should expect that some dogs and even cats will be acting out in response to our current state of emotion, stress, or anxiety.

“Dogs are deeply sensitive to human emotions, especially in their particular guardians.” — Sally Morgan, a holistic physical therapist for pets and people, as well as the author of “Dances of the Heart — Connecting with Animals.”

Most of the behaviors that we can expect to see in dogs are associated with how nervous they may be feeling. Dogs do not understand why their owners are stressed, sad or angry, but they will react in many different ways. Expected behaviors associated with nervousness can include:Excessive Barking — Your dog is suddenly barking at unusual hours when he or she typically doesn’t bark such as in the middle of the night; excessive barking when someone comes to your door; or unexplained barking out of nowhere.

  • Hiding — Your pup may display increased shaking; hiding in their crate, or other secluded areas, not wanting to come out.

  • Excessive whining — This will likely occur at the most inopportune moments accompanied by excessive neediness. It is important that you do not pet your dog if this is happening as this tells your dog that he or she is being rewarded for the behavior, and you may be encouraging the behavior to continue further.

  • Aggression — Getting into scuffles and fights with other dogs in the home; unforeseen aggression towards other pets in the home and even in the most extreme cases; reactivity towards you, such as leash reactivity during a walk.

  • Destructive behavior — Chewing your things; having accidents in the house; destroying their own things like blankets or crates.

All of these behaviors are associated with a dog’s fight or flight response. Aggressive behaviors may occur out of fear, or as a way to let go of pent up negative energy.

In cats, you may see certain behaviors such as:

  • Excessive excitability- Biting or scratching when being petted, which is not uncommon during normal times, but it may happen more frequently or suddenly.

  • Hyperactivity — zoomies and unexpected chasing and pouncing on your legs or feet while you are out and about your home.

  • Destructive behaviors — extra clawing on items where they are not allowed on and excessive destruction of our most prized and cherished toilet paper.

  • Roaming — In extreme cases, your cat may want to venture in the outdoors. This is especially dangerous for indoor cats that may not be familiar with their external environment.

So, how should we handle these behaviors at a time when our emotions are running at an all-time high? Awareness is the first step. Being aware of our own feelings and being mindful of our emotions and addressing them or doing something to keep our stress and negative emotions at bay will help us to avoid unwanted behaviors in our pets.

We must realize that dogs are very intuitive and our body language alone can show stress without us even saying a word. They notice when we are tense and when something is wrong. It’s very important that you try to remain calm and do activities that help you relax and your pet relax such as:

  • Exercising and going on walks with your dog — this is a wonderful way to let go of some of the stress and to help your pup release some negative pent up energy. However, it is important that you start your walk in a calm, relaxed manner rather than the typical excitement that is often created when taking your dog out for a walk. Starting the walk from a more relaxed state will help to prevent your dog from demonstrating unwanted behaviors.

  • Meditate — taking time for yourself is vitally important all the time, but especially now when there is so much uncertainty, daily routines are off, and there’s more stress in general in the home and our world. Meditating first thing in the morning helps to create a sense of calm and clarity, which not only helps you; it can also help your pet.

  • Maintaining a routine — With more people working from home and kids out of school, your normal daily routine is likely “off”. This is not only a big adjustment for you; it’s also a big adjustment for our pets. Pets, especially dogs are more settled when they have a routine and structure. Try to keep your routine as close to ‘normal’ as possible especially when it comes to walking and feeding times.

  • Keep them entertained — In a time of quarantine, your dog’s unwanted behavior is likely due to their inability to go outside, especially if you live in an apartment or condo community. Keep your pooch entertained with puzzle toys or treat dispensers. . You can make your own puzzle toys with items you already have around your home.

Two simple puzzles that will entertain your dog:

Box Puzzle: If you have empty boxes, arrange them on the floor and hide treats in some of the boxes. Show your dog the boxes and let your pup use its nose to find the hidden treats. Rearrange the boxes with more treats.

Cupcake Puzzle: Get an empty cupcake or muffin pan and 12 (or as many as you have) tennis balls. Place treats or pieces of your dog’s kibble into some but not all of the pan’s cups, and cover all of the cups with the tennis balls. Show your dog the tray and see how long it takes for him or her to move the right balls and find the hidden food. Each time you play, change where you place the treats.

To address excitability in your cat, be mindful of his or her body language. You can get an idea of your kitty’s stress levels by looking into their eyes. If his or her pupils are dilated, and they flick their tail up and down, then it’s time to stop petting him or her and leave them alone.

Hyperactivity and destructive behaviors can be addressed by providing additional exercise with things such as a feathered toy, a laser pointer, or even playing fetch. Also keep you cat(s) away from the prized items by using a compressed air pet corrector, deterrent scents such as citronella, lavender, peppermint, lemongrass and orange.

Finally, when these behaviors occur during this time, don’t hold it against your pet or punish him or her for it. Be aware of the situation and remain calm. Provide guidance to your pet by responsibly correcting him or her so he/she understands that this behavior is unwanted. Help your pet by using one of the recommendations mentioned above. In the end, a tired pet is a happy and good pet.

If you are experiencing difficulties with your pet during this time, we’d love to help. Feel free to reach out to us at info@pawprintsinthesand.org. We want to make sure you and your pet(s) are happy and safe during this time and always.

Newly Adopted Dog Checklist: What You Need to Do and Buy for Your New Pet

Newly Adopted Dog Checklist: What You Need to Do and Buy for Your New Pet

Written by: Trevor James, DogLab

So you got a new dog? Congratulations! We hope it’s a rescue dog, of course. 😉

If this is your first time as a canine parent, then you should know that there are several things you need to do and buy before bringing your new pup home with you.

New Dog to Do List:

Like us humans, dogs have different habits and personalities – some good and some, well, not so good. Adopting a dog is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get! There’s no telling how your new dog will behave, so it’s best to prepare for anything and everything.

Dog-proof your home

Your new dog will be arriving soon, so you need to prep your house and make it dog-proof to avoid any accidents. Much like baby proofing a home, you should:

  • Remove all sharp and protruding objects that can injure your new dog. It helps if you go down on all fours and crawl around your house so you can see what a dog sees. If you find something dangerous, take it out. Taping cut cardboard over objects you can’t remove is a cheap and effective way to dog-proof your home.

Shopping list: Duct tape, box cutter

  • Seal all outlets that are not in use. Tuck away all plugs and cables of your electronics so your dog won’t chew on them.

Shopping list: Outlet covers, socket covers, cord shorteners

  • Assign permanent areas for food and water so your new dog will always know where to go (and keep the mess in one spot.)

Shopping list: Elevated stainless steel food and water bowls, food bowl mat

  • Keep everything you don’t want your new furry friend to chew and destroy out of reach – shoes, toys, books, underwear, everything! Dogs can and will gnaw anything because it’s fun and relieves their stress when they have separation anxiety. See our posts on ‘How To Reduce Separation Anxiety’ and ‘Tips for Crate Training Your Dog’.

Shopping list: Boxes, shelves, crate

Add “Safe Zones” and “No Fido Zones” to your home.

We know, these terms sound military!

But you need to have military precision to help train your new dog to get accustomed to his or her new home. Your home will feel foreign to your new dog, and it will take a while for him or her to adjust to her new surroundings.

Make your house feel more like your dog’s forever home by:

  • Plan where your dog will sleep. It could be your bedroom or any part of the house except the basement and garage. Make sure you give Fido space where there is interaction with other people or pets in your house to make him or her feel welcome – You don’t want your pup to experience separation anxiety!

Designating a safe space for your new dog is essential. Your pup needs to feel secure in her new surroundings, and letting her roam around in a large area may spook your dog or cause boundary issues between you and him/her. A crate with a dog bed inside is a good and safe spot for Fluffy to hang out until he or she gets used to their surroundings.

Shopping list: Crate, dog bed, pillow

  • Assign areas in your home where your new dog can go and seal off sections that are off limits. Creating different zones in your home is an excellent way to train your new dog where he can and can’t go.

A doggy gate is also a good option if you need to create a secure space for your dog, and you don’t have a crate. Zoning your home is vital if you have other pets because it gives your tenured dogs or cats freedom to walk around they are accustomed to while they get acclimated with their new housemate and vice versa.

Shopping list: Indoor dog gate or pen or baby gate

  • Make sure your home is clean and parasite free. If you have other dogs, use an enzymatic cleaner to make sure the designated areas are clear of urine. Dogs potty on places where they can smell it, so…start cleaning!

Double check the space where you want your new dog to stay and make sure it’s free of parasites, especially if you have other pets. Newborn ticks (larvae) can live up to 540 days without a host and feed for 5 straight days when they find one. Yuck! Apple cider vinegar is a non-toxic way to kill these buggers.

Speaking of cleaning, make sure you keep your cleaning products locked up. Many cleaning chemicals like ammonia and bleach are toxic to dogs.

Shopping list: Enzymatic cleaner, apple cider vinegar, spray bottle

When your new dog arrives.

  • Make sure you take things slow and steady. It takes anywhere from 3 days to 3 months for a new dog to feel at home in a new place, so please be patient. Expect to have a few accidents and hiccups along the way! Take your new dog for a walk around your house, backyard, and neighborhood so he or she can get a lay of the land.

  • If you have kids and other pets in the house, make the introductions stress-free. Try not to overwhelm your new arrival with hugs and kisses from everyone in your household or expect her to be chums with your other pets. Give any children instructions limit contact with Fido until he settles in.

  • Once inside your home, place your new dog inside a crate or sectioned off area where you want him to stay and feel secure.

  • Don’t force introductions to other pets in the home. Slow and steady wins the race, so be patient. Your resident pets are used to this being their space. Your new pup may have some anxiety in his or her new surroundings. Feel free to contact us if you need some integration tips for your new dog.

The Essentials

Now that you’ve prepped and primed your home for the arrival of your new dog, it’s time to get busy shopping. In addition to the items mentioned above, your shopping list should also include the essentials:

  • A sturdy leash

Get a leash that’s appropriate for the breed and size of your new dog. Make sure you get a strap that your dog won’t be able to chew through! Do NOT purchase a retractable leash! They are recipes for disaster! Read more on the dangers of retractable leashes: https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2014/06/11/retractable-dog-leash.aspx

  • Dog Collar and tag

Get a martingale collar to prevent your dog from slipping out of it if he or she gets excited or spooked while on a walk. Make sure to attach a dog tag with your contact information in case Rover runs off and gets lost.

  • Body harness

Using a harness is a great alternative for a martingale for walks. It is safe for your dog because it distributes the pull of the leash evenly. Harnesses are also help to prevent choking or putting pressure on their throat.

  • Microchip ID

Dog tags can come off and get lost. A microchip ID on your dog is forever. Make sure you register your dog’s microchip with the chip company so you can be easily notified if he or she is found.

  • Shots, Sterilization and Flea Control

Take your new dog to the vet and have him or her checked out. Your vet will give your dog shots (rabies, DHPP, Bordetella and Canine Influenza). If your dog is not fixed yet, make an appointment to do so ASAP! It is healthier for your dog and prevents unwanted litters. Also, purchase deworming tabs and a flea/tick preventative such as Comfortis or Nexgard.

NOTE: If you adopt a dog from a rescue, he or she should come with their complete set of shots. They also should already be spayed or neutered, microchipped and have had flea and deworming treatment.

  • Chew toys

Your dog will chew anything that he can get his paws on, including furniture. Make sure to keep this behavior in check by getting him some chew toys to keep him occupied. Don’t stick to one, get your new dog several toys because Fido also gets bored.

  • Puzzle, tug and fetch toys.

Walks aren’t enough if you want to bond with your new dog or drain her of excess energy. Playing a puzzle game with Fluffy will keep her mind sharp and is as taxing as any physical activity. Alternate between the tug and fetch toys to keep your new pal engaged!

Conclusion

The pure joy of bringing home a new family member and being a responsible dog parent is second to none. Before you embark on this beautiful journey, make sure that you dog proof your home for your new pup!

Speaking of fur, if you have a dog that sheds a lot, like a husky, a rubber pet hair broom is a worthwhile investment – sweeping up dog hair with a nylon bristled broom is almost impossible.

Don’t forget to get your new dog all the essentials she needs to feel secure and comfortable in her new surroundings. Get ready for some happy and unforgettable times!

Best of luck and happy parenting!

How to Reduce Separation Anxiety in Your Dog

How to Reduce Separation Anxiety in Your Dog

Written by: Duncan Kingori, AuthenticDogs

Like humans, our pets also experience separation anxiety. In dogs, separation anxiety is characterized by agitation, upset, and even destructive behavior. These behaviors are exhibited by dogs when they are separated from their pet parents. You may misinterpret your dogs’ actions for disobedience and a lack of proper training, yet your dogs’ behavior may be an exhibition of separation anxiety.

Your dog is used to you being around and is dependent on you, and any change may cause them to experience anxiety. There are other behaviors exhibited by your dog that may be attributed to separation anxiety, and you need to help your dog reduce his or her separation anxiety or have no anxiety at all. This is to ensure that he or she may be at peace and happy- and well behaved. Here are some recommendations to help ease your precious pup’s separation anxiety:

1. Engage your dog in exercise before you depart

A dog that is tired tends to be calmer as opposed to one that is still energized. Therefore, one way to reduce separation anxiety in your dog is by engaging your dog in exercise for about half an hour before you depart. You may take part in outdoor or indoor activities and exercise with your dogs. For instance, throwing a Frisbee or tennis ball across the yard and letting your dog play ‘fetch’ is a great exercise. It also offers mental stimulation, which helps with calming. When you do this for about 30 minutes, your dog will be exhausted by the time you leave. Their attention will be towards food and sleep, and they will hardly notice that you are gone, or when you are leaving the house.

2. Teach your dog to get used to being alone when you are at home

Help your dog to get used to being by themselves, even when you are in the same house. Have your furry baby to remain in a certain room in the house (or crate if crate trained) while you go to another room in a different part of the house. If your dog’s separation anxiety is severe, you could do this in short intervals of about 20 seconds. In time, you can work this 20 seconds up to about 30 minutes. It will help reduce your pooch’s separation anxiety. They will learn to spend time away from you even when they are conscious of your presence in the house.

3. You need to change the signals of your departure

Like humans, your dogs are conditioned to associating certain signals with a specific behavior, thus your dog knows your routine before you leave home. Therefore, you need to break the routine so your dog will not associate certain signals with your departure. For example, put on your shoes 30 minutes to an hour before you leave and sit on the couch and watch the television, or maybe change the place where you store your purse and hang your keys.

This will break your dog’s association of specific actions with you leaving, and thus their separation anxiety will not be triggered. You can also give your dog treats to calm them and distract them as you go. Eventually, they will view your departure in a positive light, and see that it is not a scary thing to be all alone.

4. Minimize the level of emotions when saying your hellos and goodbyes

Completely abstain from getting very emotional when you are leaving your dog and exhibiting a lot of excitement when you get home. The extra attention and excitement increases your dog’s fear of being alone. Be calm when you are bidding your dog goodbye. When you arrive back home, in a quiet and collected manner, say hi to your dog, but don’t show too much affection or excitement until he or she has calmed down. By remaining calm when you return, you reduce the level of separation anxiety in your dog.

5. Get your dog his or her personal space

Rather than sharing your bed with your dog, get them their own bed or crate. In addition to separation anxiety, crate training is a great tool for resolving many other behavior issues such as pottying or marking in the house and destructive chewing. Plus dogs are den animals, so they like to have their safe haven. Train you dog to remain in his or her personal space by making it a positive experience with petting, playing, treats, toys or bones. This teaches your dog to be independent and to love their own space. When your dog enjoys their own company, they will be less anxious when you are away from them.

6. Leave some comfort articles and background music playing for your dog

Leave items that will comfort your dog, such as dirty clothes in the laundry bin that have your scent. This will help the dog to relax, as they will remember that at some point you will be returning home. You could also remove the stress factors from your dog’s body. Also, hide treats in the house so that the dog can enjoy hunting for these treats while you are away. Or, give your dog a Kong or deer antler to distract them while you leave. Remember to leave some soothing  music for your dog, so that when they are tired, it can help soothe them to sleep and relax. YouTube has great videos to help with separation anxiety.

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 Helping your dog get over his or her separation anxiety requires dedication and a commitment to finding a safe and long lasting solution, so that your dog may be happy, calm, and a good dog!

Tips for Crate Training Your Dog

Tips for Crate Training Your Dog

Crate training is in an important part of dog ownership. Many think that it is mean or cruel to crate a dog. That is only true if the crate is used as a form of punishment. However, that is not what creating dogs was meant for.  A crate should NEVER be used as punishment!

Dogs are den animals. They like being in their “den” or safe haven. The primary purpose of a crate is for housetraining. Dogs don’t like to soil in their dens. A crate is also great to help prevent destructive behavior that often occurs as a result of separation anxiety. It also helps to create boundaries and establish human leadership.

The key to crate training is creating a warm, cozy environment where your pooch feels safe. Many dogs love their crates so much, they spend time in it even when they don’t have to.

The important part of crate training is to make it a positive experience for your dog. It is important that he or she knows that they can get out. Here are some tips to help your dog love his or her crate:

  •  Give your dog his or her meals in the crate. This will create a positive association with the crate, especially if your dog is food motivated. Do this for about a week with the door open, then start closing the door while they’re eating. Their food will distract them from the door being closed. Open the door and let them out when they’re done so they know they can get out. Gradually increase the time that your dog is in there with the door closed and remain nearby.

  • Play the treat game- throw treats in the crate. Let your dog go in and get the treat then come back out. Do this a couple times a day for 10 or 15 minutes. After a few days, you can close the door and leave your dog in there for a few minutes, giving them treats and praises while they’re in there. You can gradually increase the amount of time that the door is closed.

  • Play fetch – similar to the treat game, throw a tennis ball or your dog’s favorite toy in the crate. Let them go in and retrieve it. This creates a fun experience for your dog and gives him or her a little exercise too!

  • Use a verbal command to enter their crate such as “kennel” or “puppy bye byes” – whatever works.

Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes without becoming anxious or afraid with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you’re gone for short time periods of time. Continue to crate your dog when you are home so they don’t associate the crate with being left alone. We recommend covering the crate with a towel or blanket to create a den-like atmosphere.

We all love to sleep with our pups, but it is recommended that you crate your dog at night, especially in the beginning. Put the crate in or near your bedroom so he or she knows you’re there. This is especially important for a puppy since puppies aren’t yet potty trained and will often need to go potty in the middle of the night. Keeping them nearby will allow you to hear them if they start whining, needing to go outside. Keeping the crate near you at night is also important for seniors so they don’t associate the crate with social isolation.

Your dog may bark or whine until he or she is fully crate trained. DON’T GIVE IN! This will only reinforce unwanted behavior. Depending upon the dog, it could take days or a few weeks to be completely crate trained.

**Make sure your dog is fully crate trained before leaving him or her for an extended period of time (no more than a few hours). You wouldn’t want your dog to become stressed and injure him or herself in an attempt to escape.

As mentioned before, crate training can help with separation anxiety once your dog is completely crate trained. However, if your dog has serious anxiety you may want to consult with a dog trainer or animal behavior specialist.

4 Tips to Help Your Cat and Dog Get Along Better

4 Tips to Help Your Cat and Dog Get Along Better

Sponsored by AlliVet

Having multiple furry friends in your home can be fun and fulfilling. However, if you have animals of different species — like dogs and cats — it can also be challenging. Many dogs and cats don’t naturally react well to one another, which means that they might not enjoy having each other’s company at home. Therefore, if your dog doesn’t immediately take to your cat (or vice versa), there are some simple things that you can do to help improve their relationship, so everybody can be healthy and happy at home. Here are four of the simplest and most effective tips for helping your cat and dog get along better.

1. Start on a Leash

The first time you introduce your dog and cat to one another, start with both animals on a leash. Try a harness and leash with your cat, and a head harness and leash with your dog. Let the animals meet slowly, sniff each other and get used to being around one another. Once neither seems fearful or overly-excited, you can slowly let the cat off the leash. Once the cat has gotten comfortable, let the dog off the leash last. This will give the cat time to adjust — and cats tend to be the more fearful creature in the dog-cat pairing.

2. Give Your Cat a Place to Escape to

When you introduce your dog and cat, give the cat a place to where she can run and hide. That way, if the dog is overwhelming her, or if she feels fearful, she can find a way to escape. Providing a hiding place for a cat lowers the stress level of the situation. Try providing a perch or a place up high, where the cat can get above the dog if she wants to.

3. Try Using Baby Gates or a Crate

Baby gates are a great way to slowly introduce animals to one another. Put up baby gates or a crate to contain you dog then let the cat wander. Baby gates and crates allow the animals to see and smell one another and get to know each other without the risk of an altercation.

4. Don’t Force It

No matter how much you want your cat and dog to get along, you can’t force them to like (or even tolerate) one another. If their rapport seems tense or uncomfortable, don’t force them to spend time together. It can take weeks or even months to get animals used to one another, so focus on slowly increasing their exposure to one another. With luck and time, you’ll see that animals are used to each other and maybe even enjoying spending time together, too.

Having both a cat and a dog as pets can be a lot of fun, especially if you can get them to love each other just as much as you love them. If you’re having trouble getting the animals to get along, you may want to consult your veterinarian or animal behavior specialist, who can work with your pets or give you helpful tips for improving their relationship.

Four Common Cleaning Chemicals That Are Toxic to Pets

Four Common Cleaning Chemicals That Are Toxic to Pets

By: James Hall, Freelance Writer and Home Cleaning Expert, @Spotless_Vacuum

It’s no secret that many household cleaning products are toxic to humans. A quick glance at a label shows just how careful we need to be when cleaning our homes.

These chemicals are even more dangerous for our canine and feline companions though. Our pets spend their time on the floor, so are more likely to suffer skin irritation or absorb chemicals via their paws.

Pets also don’t understand the dangers of cleaning chemicals. They won’t think twice about licking the floor after cleaning, chewing a bottle of bleach, or drinking out of a toilet bowl after it’s been cleaned. This can lead to anything from mild irritation to severe illness and even death.

For this reason, pet owners need to be careful when deciding which cleaning chemicals to use. In this article, we’ll discuss four dangerous chemicals, along with some tip for keeping your pet safe.

Which Chemicals Should You Avoid in Cleaning Products?

1. Bleach
Undiluted bleach is a serious danger to pets. Swallowing it can lead to diarrhea, internal burns and vomiting. Just breathing bleach fumes can cause respiratory irritation. For this reason, you need to be careful when using bleach to clean floors, as it could remain on both the floor and mop. Follow the instructions for dilution carefully and store any tools you used in a safe space.

On the other hand, diluted bleach can often be used safely. Just make sure it’s thoroughly rinsed and aired after cleaning.

2. Ammonia
Ammonia is a common ingredient in oven and window cleaners. It can cause irritation to a pet’s respiratory system, so shouldn’t be used in the same room as your pet. Make sure you allow plenty of time to air out the room before you let your pet back in.

You should never mix ammonia with bleach. This combination creates a toxic gas that can be deadly.

3. Formaldehyde
Many people are surprised that formaldehyde is found in cleaning products, as it’s usually associated with embalming.  The chemical is often used in hand soaps, general cleaners and even pet shampoos though.

Unfortunately, formaldehyde poses serious health risks to pets. It can irritate the skin and eyes if allowed to circulate in the air, and may affect respiratory function. It has also been linked to certain types of cancer.

4. Glycol ethers
These chemicals are often found in stain removers and carpet cleaners. They have been linked with a variety of illnesses, including kidney damage and anemia.

Glycol ethers are often included in products that are labelled as “natural.” Make sure you check the label before you buy.

How to Keep Your Pet Safe

Aside from being aware of dangerous chemicals in household products, there are other ways to keep your pet safe when cleaning. Here are a few examples:

Switch to Natural Cleaning Products

There are a number of natural cleaning products that are both effective and safer for your pet. These alternatives are also often better for the environment.

One of the best examples is baking soda. This has a variety of uses, including absorbing odors, removing grease, and getting rid of mildew. Other useful alternatives include white vinegar, lemon juice, castile soap and essential oils.

Even these natural alternatives are not necessarily safe for a pet to ingest in large quantities though. You should still keep your dpet in another room and thoroughly rinse any surfaces after cleaning.

Read the Label Carefully

Always  check whether a cleaning product needs to be diluted. A diluted chemical is safer for both you and your pet, so these instructions shouldn’t be ignored.

Once you’ve cleaned an area of floor or other surface, wipe it thoroughly and wash with clean water – even if the cleaning product was already diluted. This reduces the chance of your dog ingesting dangerous chemicals.

Keep Pets in a Separate Room When Cleaning

You should keep your pet away from where you’re cleaning – especially when mopping the floor. After rinsing with water, wait for the surface to dry before letting him back in.

Be Aware of Your Pet’s Allergies

Pets can develop a wide range of allergies. Dust, mold and pollen allergies are three of the most common, along with certain types of food.

Cleaning with mops or vacuums can often stir up airborne allergens, which is another reason why it’s important to keep your pet(s) in a separate room.

Store Dangerous Chemicals in an Inaccessible Cupboard

Cleaning chemicals are most dangerous in large quantities and before being diluted. For this reason, it’s vital to store all your cleaning supplies in a place your pet can never reach. A high cupboard is often the perfect location.

Some pets can be surprisingly adept at opening cupboard doors though – especially if they think it contains food. If your pet knows how to open doors, you may need to buy a padlock to ensure she’s safe.

Remember, cats and dogs are naturally inquisitive. A chemical bottle might seem like the perfect toy, so it’s up to you to keep your pet safe.

Contact Your Vet Immediately if You Suspect Your Dog Has Been Exposed to a Dangerous Chemical

There are a variety of symptoms if your dog has been exposed to cleaning chemicals. These include vomiting, loss of appetite, sore skin, excessive dribbling and pawing at the mouth.

While many cleaning chemicals will only cause mild irritation, especially when diluted, others can cause serious illness, such as liver or kidney damage. For this reason, you should always contact your vet immediately if you notice a change in behavior.

Summary
Household cleaning chemicals can be a serious health risk to pets. It’s important to be aware of toxic ingredients, such as ammonia and bleach, and to take steps to minimize the risk to your pet.

One of the best ways to keep your pet safe is to switch to natural cleaning alternatives. You should also thoroughly rinse surfaces with clean water after cleaning and store dangerous chemicals in a secure cupboard.