household items

Alternate names

acid, acidic, battery, batteries, battery fluid, drain cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, sulfuric acid, danger, hydrochloric acid, acetic acid, metal cleaners, pH, anti-rust compounds, hair wave neutralizers, drain cleaners

Toxicity to pets

Acids are chemicals with a pH < 7. Exposure to acids can result in a range of signs from mild tissue irritation to severe corrosive or caustic injury, and severity can vary based on the concentration and pH of the product. Common sources of strong acids include household products like: battery acid, toilet bowl cleaners, metal cleaners, anti-rust compounds, hair wave neutralizers, and drain cleaners. Typically, acids are bitter tasting and result in immediate pain on contact. Injury to the eyes, skin, gastrointestinal tract, and respiratory system can be seen depending on the type of exposure. Treatment includes immediate decontamination by flushing the exposed area with large amounts of water, medications to protect the GI tract, fluid therapy, and pain medication. Severe exposures can occasionally result in perforation of the stomach, esophagus, or intestines or other severe tissue injury.

Common signs to watch for:

  • Drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Refusal to eat
  • Ulceration in the mouth
  • Squinting of the eyes
  • Redness of the exposed area
  • Black coloration of the exposed skin or tissue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

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The content of this page is not veterinary advice. A number of factors (amount of substance ingested, size of the animal, allergies, etc.) determine what is toxic to a particular pet. If you think your pet has eaten something potentially toxic, call Pet Poison Helpline or seek immediate veterinary treatment.