Spring Cleaning Concerns

Do you know of the corrosive dangers lurking in your home? Many household items are made with materials that are highly corrosive to people and pets. From cleaning supplies, batteries, dryer sheets, and even shampoos; your pet could be at risk for corrosive injury. Here are a few tips to help keep yourself and your pet safe from these dangers:

How can you recognize corrosive substances?

Read the product label carefully! If the product is corrosive or otherwise dangerous, you will see “Caution” or “Danger” on the packaging. If you are looking for specific chemical names, the most common corrosives are acids, alkalis, phenols, and quaternary ammonium chlorides.

Where are these corrosives found?

Acids and alkalis are found in cleaning solutions such as bleach, oven cleaner, drain cleaner, ammonia, borax, brake fluid, and even fluoride products.

Phenols are often found in household disinfectants, but also can be used in medicated dandruff or psoriasis shampoos.

Quaternary ammonium chlorides are commonly due to exposure to detergents: think everything from air fresheners to dryer sheets!

This is not an exhaustive list, but it can serve as a starting point for checking the safety of your household products.

What should you do if your pet has been exposed?

Seek veterinary care immediately! Do not attempt home remedies or treatments without consulting a veterinary professional as further injury could occur. Early signs of corrosive injury include drooling, retching, pawing at the face/mouth, skin irritation, ulceration of the skin, mouth or eyes, and difficulty breathing depending on the exposure.

If you suspect your pet has been exposed to a household toxin, seek immediate veterinary care. This is an urgent situation, so immediately contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline® for further treatment recommendations. Make sure to keep any packaging handy to assist your veterinarian with treatment.



Written by: Abigail Gilman, DVM student extern, Iowa State University, Class of 2023 &

Lizzy Olmsted, CVT, Veterinary Information Specialist