Avoid these cleaning products to protect pets during the pandemic

One expert is urging pet owners to familiarize themselves with toxic ingredients in cleaning products to protect pets during the coronavirus pandemic.

Alex Blutinger, a critical care veterinary specialist at BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital, said he has seen a rise in concerns pet owners have about the dangers of using products such as bleach or hand sanitizer.

While many cleaning products aren’t harmful to pets, Blutinger said, they could lead to serious consequences in large doses.

These are the ingredients Blutinger recommends pet owners avoid:


Ammonia, used in some disinfecting wipes and sprays, can cause corrosive injuries to animals’ tissues. If it’s aerosolized, it can cause burning, tearing and eye swelling.


Bleach could severely impact cats and dogs, depending on the amount of exposure. It can cause skin and eye irritation and swelling, and ingestion of bleach could lead to esophageal burning or the deterioration of stomach lining, among other things.

Hydrogen peroxide

If a cat or dog is topically exposed to hydrogen peroxide, skin irritation and rashes could follow. Upon the direction of a veterinarian, 3% hydrogen peroxide can help force a dog to vomit.

Rubbing alcohol

If a pet ingests rubbing alcohol, it can result in vomiting, disorientation, incoordination and seizures, or respiratory depression in severe cases.


Found in sprays and toilet bowl cleaners, phenols could be corrosive if close to an animal’s skin or eyes or if swallowed or inhaled.

Pet owners concerned about a pet’s exposure to a specific product or ingredient should contact a veterinarian.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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