Cats, dogs, and other pets love to be outdoors. Having your own garden and patio can give them the freedom and space to run around, while giving you the confidence that they will remain safe. While the streets may contain potentially fatal traffic, predatory animals and poisonous plants, have you thought about the safety of your own backyard?
In 2010, the Animal Poison Control Center received over 167,000 calls pertaining to pets being exposed to toxic substances. We’ve discussed the dangers of fertilizer and toxic garden plants, but the products you use to clean your garden could also be dangerous to pets.
What to Avoid on Your Patio
The patio is a great place to socialize and enjoy the outdoors, so it’s understandable you’ll want to keep it looking clean. However, many patio cleaners contain benzalkonium chloride. This chemical is also found in many common household disinfectants, including antibacterial cleaners used on water fountains. Benzalkonium chloride can be extremely toxic to cats, leading to severe reactions and even death.
In an analysis of cases of 245 cats being poisoned by benzalkonium chloride, 126 were poisoned through ingestion alone, while many cats were also affected through contact with the skin. Therefore it is vital you check cleaning products for this chemical. Instead, consider using more natural cleaning solutions. For example, lemon, vinegar and bicarbonate of soda can be paired with a powerful pressure washer.
For decking, you may have used a varnish to protect the woodwork. However, varnish tends to be oil based which means it contains harmful solvents which can be accidentally inhaled. This is likely to irritate the intestine, causing diarrhoea. It may also cause an inflammation of the lungs leading to infection of breathing difficulties. It is essential to allow the varnish to dry completely before letting your pet near the wood decking.
Dogs and cats are curious animals, so it can be difficult to completely prevent them gaining access to harmful cleaning products. It can take over 6 hours for effects to become clear, but it is important to act quickly.
If you witness your pet coming into contact with a dangerous cleaning product, then you need to remove the product thoroughly and manually. It is not recommended that you use water. Instead use a paper towels and remember to wear protective gloves.
During the summer, your pets will love to play in the fountain or sunbathe on the patio. It is important as a responsible owner to make sure the products you use to clean your garden and patio are pet safe. If an accident does occur, make sure you recognize the symptoms and act quickly, so that your pet can get the care and medication they need to make a full recovery.
Photo by The Poodle Gang on Unsplash