Millions of people are at home now in the midst of a pandemic, disinfecting and cleaning, taking cold and flu medications—with the potential they might unwittingly poison their pets.
In the confusion and sometimes chaos of disrupted household routines and families living in close quarters while under “stay at home” or “shelter in place” orders, smart cleaning can be a challenge. People must be extra vigilant, says Dr. Barbara Hodges, director of advocacy and outreach for the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.
“If you are washing the floor and the phone rings and you pick it up and go sit on the couch to talk, your dog or cat could be playing with that water, knocking it over, licking it,” Hodges says. “When you’re cleaning, you should only be cleaning.”
If you suspect your pet has been poisoned (symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and seizures), seek veterinary medical help马上. Call a local emergency vet for advice and to find out whether they should see your pet. If they are notimmediately为您提供咨询，请拨打ASPCA动物毒物控制中心（888）426-4435。
These are the same precautions people should always take, but now they are more important than ever, says Dr. Tim Evans, associate professor of toxicology at the University of Missouri. “With increased frequency of use, there will be more opportunities for poisonings to happen.”
In January, even before the COVID-19 crisis, a popular disinfectant in the United Kingdom made the news when a dog walked across a wet, newly cleaned floor, licked her paws and was poisoned (she survived). Hodges says she has also seen a number of pets with contact dermatitis likely caused by potent carpet and floor cleaners.
Both cats and dogs are at risk, but cats are particularly vulnerable because they are small, their bodies do not handle toxins as well (since they lack certain liver enzymes), and they are constantly licking their fur, says Danielle Bays, senior analyst for cat protection and policy for the Humane Society of the United States. Cats are also curious, inclined to get into seemingly inaccessible places and will explore new items with their nose or paws.
- When using cleaning products, read the labels carefully to check the ingredients and follow use instructions exactly. Be conscious of the strength of the particular product, such as alcohol or bleach, and by how much you should dilute it. Using more than recommended is not better. The higher the accidental dose a pet gets, the more toxic.
- When you are done with liquid cleaners, rinse out buckets and mops. When you are done with wipes, throw them out right away. Make sure your household garbage bags and cans have lids secured at all times. Shut and secure the doors of cabinets or closets or rooms where you store cleaning products, equipment and medications.
- When bathing pets, use only shampoos formulated for the particular species and follow the directions. Do not assume shampoos for dogs are appropriate for cats, unless the label specifies both species. Do not use wet wipes on pets unless they are labeled as pet grooming wipes.
- To clean pet bedding (or your own, if your pet sleeps in your bed), use regular laundry detergent; you do not need to use harsh cleaning agents.
- If you suspect your pet has been poisoned (symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and seizures), seek veterinary medical help马上. Call a local emergency vet for advice and to find out whether they should see your pet. If they are notimmediately为您提供咨询，请拨打ASPCA动物毒物控制中心（888）426-4435。