How to Protect Pets from Hazardous Household Products

The animals that share our lives and homes rely on us for protection. Many common household products such as cleaners and pesticides could hurt a pet if not used and stored correctly.

Always read the label first before you buy, store, and use household cleaners or pesticide products. Keep all products out of the reach of pets and children. The following instructions will help you to understand the ways in which you can keep your pets safe.


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    Understand the value of labels on hazardous products. They are not only about the product but they also tell you:
    • How to use a product safely and effectively
    • How to store the product safely
    • First aid instructions
    • Phone numbers to call for help or more information.
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    Follow all label precautions. In particular, the precautions that you should follow very carefully include:
    • Following the directions on how to use products safely and correctly. This helps keep you and your pets safe.
    • Obeying all warnings to open windows, wear gloves, and not breathe product dust.
    • Keeping pets and children away from treated areas as directed on the label.
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    Keep hazardous products in original containers. Although it might be tempting to rationalize the leftover contents of your product in a smaller, different bottle, this can be a really hazardous move. Reasons why you should avoid doing this include:
    • It is very dangerous to put hazardous products in food and beverage containers. Mistakes can be made when someone feeding a pet assumes the contents are what the label says, or a pet itself tries to eat out of a familiar container.
    • Containers without tight fitting lids can easily spill, allowing your pet access to the product.
    • If you throw away the original container, you throw away important information needed in case of an emergency.
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    If the label tells you to mix a hazardous product in another container, use all of the mixture. If you can’t use all the mixture, label the new container clearly for use in the future, as well as adding its expiry date.
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    Keep pets away from household and garden products. Both in storage and use, be careful to keep the products well away from your pets and their living and eating zones.
    • Put pets in a box, separate room, or cage temporarily for those occasions when the products are within reach or are being used in your home space but you can't put them outside.
    • Don’t spray or store cleaning or pesticide products near pet food or water dishes.
    • Make sure animals can’t get at pest bait products while they are in use.
    • In the event of a spill, be sure to keep animals out of the area until it is cleaned up. Think "infants and pets out" before attending to the mess.
    • Store all household cleaning products and pesticides where pets can’t get at them.
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    Don’t forget about wildlife. Spraying products on a windy day can carry the product into the water supply for wild animals. And leaving garden sprays, pesticides, and other toxic outdoor products around can attract wildlife who might find the aroma or color tempting. Always put products away after use.
    • Put car anti-freeze away in secure storage after use. Mop up any spills immediately.
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    Know where to call for help. You should always have your veterinarian's phone number near the phone. In addition:
    • Many labels contain a phone number to call in an emergency.
    • Have your local poison control center phone number handy by the phone. In the USA, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center on (888) 426-4435.[1]
    • Have the product label with you when you call! The label provides those helping you with important information about the product.


  • Another way that you can help your pets is to find alternatives to hazardous products in your home environment. Finding non-toxic alternatives will benefit both pets and you and your family/household members.
  • Hazardous products to keep away from pets include:
    • Pet flea treatments (apart from using them precisely as directed)
    • Insecticides and pesticides
    • Garden products with toxic elements such as fungicides, pesticides, fumigants, etc.
    • Paints, stains, varnishes, paint stripper, brush cleaner, and other decorating items
    • Human medications
    • Household cleaning products
    • Car cleaning, detailing, etc., products
    • Many hobby products such as oil paints, putties, glues, etc.
    • Art supplies, especially Artist Grade art supplies that use mineral pigments. Research the pigments used on any artist grade supplies to understand what's toxic or not too, sometimes colors are named after other pigments they resemble but don't contain the named pigment. Some are safe, such as iron oxide reds and yellows or carbon black. Others can be deadly if a pet washes it off fur.
    • If you must dye your pet green for St. Patrick's Day or other fun colors, use food coloring intended to be eaten by humans. This is likely to do the least harm to them. Test permanence on scrap wool fabric. Jello as hair or fur dye is likely to last a long time after the holiday.


  • Dispose of all hazardous products in a way that cannot harm other people, pets, wildlife, or the environment. If you're not sure what to do, call your local municipality or check its website to find out more.
  • Pets can tolerate mild fevers;[2] don't give them human medication. See the vet if your pet worsens.
  • Without proper regulation, even products destined to be used by pets can contain hazards, such as leaching chemicals. Do some research on products before purchasing them.
  • Flammable products such as gasoline should be stored outside of the house where possible.[3]
  • Do not use teflon-coated drip pans in a household with birds as the toxic fumes can kill birds.[4]

Things You'll Need

  • Telephone numbers for emergencies in handy place
  • All labels left on original containers
  • Secure storage place inaccessible to infants, pets, and anyone else at risk

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