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Managing exposure to cleaning products in cats and dogs

02 December 2014
11 mins read
Volume 5 · Issue 10


Household cleaning products are found in every home. They come in various forms including liquids, powders, capsules, blocks, gels, sprays and wipes. Pets can be exposed in a variety of circumstances including being accidentally sprayed, falling in the toilet, knocking over a container and walking through a spill or on a recently treated surface. In some cases, the clinical signs may be delayed in onset and the association with the recently used cleaning agent may therefore not be immediately apparent. If exposure is suspected or witnessed, it is important to determine the type of product involved, and, if available, to check the list of ingredients on the packaging. The potential risks can then be assessed and appropriate treatment provided.

Household cleaners of various descriptions are present in every home and companion animals are at risk of exposure during or after use and from leaking containers or spills. In many cases, exposed animals may appear well for some hours after exposure. Therefore, presentation at a veterinary practice may be delayed and the exposure to the cleaner not associated with clinical signs. It is important to determine the type of product involved (Figure 1) (Table 1) in order for the potential risk to be assessed (Table 2) and appropriate treatment provided. If possible, it is always useful if the owner can bring in any suspect product so that the full name and contents can be established. This article will describe the clinical signs that can occur from common ingredients in cleaning agents and outline the treatment recommendations for managing cases of exposure.

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