household items

Alternate names

soap, fabric softener, cleaner, enzymatic cleaner, deodorizer, anionic, cationic, nonionic, surfactants

Toxicity to pets

While detergents are commonly used in the household, some can cause corrosive injury, particularly to cats. Spilled detergents should be promptly cleaned up; exposure to cats typically occurs when cats walk through spilled liquid detergent, only to be groomed and orally ingested thereafter. Clinical signs of drooling, burns in the mouth, pawing at the mouth, not eating, vomiting, lethargy and difficulty breathing may be seen. Prompt veterinary attention is necessary.


Common signs to watch for:

  • Drooling
  • Burns in the mouth
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Inappetance
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing

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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.