Sometimes pets find themselves in situations in which their own self-grooming capabilities do not cut it, like after bringing a dog inside after a particularly messy walk or cleaning up a cat who got a little too curious. There are plenty of times animals need a helping hand in staying clean and safe from potentially harmful toxins.
It’s important to be mindful of potential toxins in cleaning supplies, including the supplies you use to bathe your pets. Both cats and dogs are at risk, but cats are particularly vulnerable because they are generally smaller than dogs, they lack certain liver enzymes to break down toxins, and they are frequently licking their fur.
When bathing your pet, only use shampoos formulated for the particular species and follow the directions closely. Do not assume shampoos for dogs are appropriate for cats, unless the label specifies both species. Keep in mind, there may even be specifications around age — kittens may need a shampoo labeled safe for kittens. Shampoos formulated for humans are much more acidic than those for dogs and should not be used. Our skin has a pH around 5.5, but your dog’s skin is much more neutral, with an average pH between 6.2 and 7.4. Using human shampoo can upset the balance of a dog’s skin and cause it to be dry and itchy. Additionally, do not use wet wipes on pets unless they are labeled as pet grooming wipes.
If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, seek veterinary help right away. Symptoms of poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and seizures. Call a local emergency veterinary clinic for advice and to find out whether they should see your pet.
Whether you’ve been hanging out around the house or going on an adventure together out in the world, there are times when it’s essential to give your dog or cat a bath. By researching safe products ahead of time, you can make grooming your pet a more enjoyable and most importantly, safe experience.