The PDSA has warned that a simple ‘spring clean’ could be fatal to pets after revealing one animal has died and several others have suffered serious injury from exposure to cleaning products.
The warning comes after a dog in Silverknowes almost died drinking bleach.
The Black Labrador Collie crossbreed Beau, received emergency treatment after drinking toilet water treated with a bleach cistern block.
The two-year-old pet’s owner Eva Paterson, from Edinburgh, noticed that her dog had developed a cough and was sick after eating or exercise. She was told to monitor him and while doing housework Eva realised the downstairs bathroom door was ajar and found Beau drinking out of the toilet.
Eva, 26, said: “I called PDSA Edinburgh Pet Hospital and they wanted to see him urgently because swallowing bleach can be very damaging. When we arrived they listened to his heart and had a look at his mouth and throat which seemed to be irritated and he appeared to have suffered chemical burns.”
Beau was given anti-inflammatory medication and was allowed home. Eva was told to monitor him closely. He has since made a full recovery and Eva’s now extremely vigilant when it comes to ensuring Beau is kept away from the bathroom and toilet.
PDSA vet Rebecca said Beau had been lucky and warned pet owners to be extra careful when using cleaning products.
She said: “Thankfully he didn’t have any permanent effects from drinking bleach but he is among the lucky ones, as it could have been much worse.
“Beau received emergency care through our A&E service, which has received a fantastic funding boost from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
“We really want to try and prevent pets coming into contact with everyday household cleaning products and want to raise awareness of the possible dangers.”
In one particularly harrowing case, the charity said its vets had to euthanize a dog after they were exposed to laundry detergent which caused severe caustic burns to their paws, legs and mouth.
Other cases in the past 12 months include a cat that was left foaming at the mouth after he licked a floor that had just been treated with disinfectant and a dog who suffered chemical burns to his scrotum after coming into contact with a cleaning product on the floor.
Rebecca Ashman, PDSA vet, said: “With many households doing their spring cleaning, it’s important to ensure products are safe to use around pets.
“Millions of us use bleach, oven cleaner, dishwasher tablets and laundry detergents all the time in the home but we need to realise how dangerous they can be to our pets.
“Products such as bleach and detergents are highly corrosive and cause permanent and even life-threatening damage to a pet’s skin or insides if swallowed.
“Some pets will naturally explore or chew boxes and containers, so it’s really important to keep cleaning products safely locked away.
“Also, if you’re cleaning floors or other areas pets use, please keep them out of harm’s way and rinse the areas after cleaning.
“Using products at the correct dilution also helps to ensure pets don’t come into contact with concentrated chemicals.”
Rebecca added that it was vital for owners to seek emergency veterinary treatment straight away if they suspect their pet has come into contact with anything corrosive or poisonous.
She said: “It’s important to seek veterinary advice urgently. Don’t try to make your pet sick as this can sometimes cause further harm.
“In an emergency situation it’s also useful to let the vet know as much as possible about the offending substance, so they can give the appropriate treatment. So always keep the packaging and take it with you if you need to go to the vet”
Symptoms of exposure to toxic chemicals or substances in pets include:-
Ulcerated or irritated skin including inside the mouth
Vomiting or coughing
Lethargy and collapse
Difficulty eating and excessive salivation/foaming at the mouth
Pawing at the mouth