We share our living space with our companion animals, and while we may not appreciate some of the smells they share with us, they also do not appreciate the smells we can use. Many of the products we don’t give a second thought to can be very dangerous to pets.
Air fresheners can use some questionable or even toxic chemicals in their ingredients. For our pets, that are trapped in the house much of the day, and live close to the floor where many of these chemicals end up, their exposure is far greater than ours. Many people will also spray a pet’s bed or litter box with even more harsh chemicals, increasing the exposure even more.
This kind of exposure can lead to long term illnesses occurring from the build up of the chemicals and their effects. It might not be something we see right away, and many times, we never link it back to the actual source.
Sometimes, the effect is more visible and immediate. I don’t know how many times I’ve had someone come in and ask whether something had changed with the food they feed, or if there might be an issue with a food they just changed to, because their dog is scratching and biting themselves. The obvious suspect is the food change, or the introduction of a new treat, and many times that is the issue.
A fair number of times, though, the culprit is something environmental. Depending on the location of the itch, and the action the pet is reacting with, chemicals in the environment are a more logical place to start.
A change in the type, frequency or level of use of an air freshening product can lead to a reaction in people or pets. Not just air fresheners, but cleaning products too can cause a reaction, as well as things like hairspray, perfume, bodyspray or other grooming products.. Remember, our pets run around basically naked, and are in constant contact with the floor. Most air fresheners and cleaners wind up right there, on the floor with our pets. They bear the brunt of a much larger dose of chemical exposure, and take far more of those chemicals into their bloodstreams.
Is there a better solution? Of course there is. Like with so many things, our lives are made simpler, more convenient and less expensive through the use of chemistry. The most effective chemicals for most purposes are also too dangerous to use, so a less effective option that is tested and found safe is what we use. Safe, however, does not mean that it is without dangers.
There are natural products offered to us all the time. Natural cleaning solutions, natural de-odourizers and essential oils to name a few. But just because it is natural does not mean it is safe. Take a few moments to make sure the products are safe for pets, some can cause reactions. Sometimes removing pet odours is as simple as changing the diet. Many higher quality foods create less odour, and when you take carbs out of the picture, you can greatly reduce the odour of a pet (especially gas) or their litterbox.
Sometimes, the simplest answer is the best.