Owning a dog is a huge source of joy for many people--but it's a major responsibility, too. Dogs are sensitive to different things than humans are, so when you're first getting used to your canine companion, it can be tricky to figure out what's still okay to use and what you'll need to avoid now that you're sharing your home with a four-legged housemate. The good news is that there are plenty of excellent cleaning supplies that are still totally safe--and just as effective as their less pup-friendly counterparts.
Three Cleaning Agents To Avoid...
Ammonia: This highly caustic substance has a characteristic smell and is often found in glass and mirror cleaners as it's good at getting a streak-free shine.
Bleach: Strongly alkaline substances such as bleach are of course toxic to all animals--just think how badly bleach stings if you accidentally get too much of it on your skin! Unlike humans, however, dogs don't know not to lick something that's new to them, and ingestion of bleach is a dangerous, painful and potentially lethal experience for a dog.
Phthalates: These chemicals are found in all kinds of things, from perfume to plastic. You'll sometimes see them listed by their name on cleaning product labels, but they're often simply described as 'fragrances' instead. They're toxic to dogs, as well as to children and pregnant women, and are definitely best avoided.
...And Three You Can Use Instead!
Baking Soda: Good old-fashioned baking soda mixed with a little water makes a fantastic gritty cleaning paste. This is a great choice for scrubbing away stubborn stains and leaving your surfaces shining like new--just make sure you rinse well afterwards to get all the residue off!
Olive Oil: Did you know that olive oil mixed with some apple cider vinegar and a dash of lemon juice is one of the most effective furniture polishes out there? It's natural, healthy and deeply nourishing to anything made of unvarnished wood.
Vinegar: All kinds of vinegar--from fancy apple cider vinegars to the most basic white vinegar there is--are fantastic all-purpose cleaners. They'll move even the most stubborn of stains, and leave everything shining away behind them. As an added bonus, while they're not harmful to dogs, they do hate the taste--so anything you clean with vinegar is less likely to get scratched or chewed by a curious canine afterwards!
Of course, making your own cleaning products definitely isn't the only way to ensure your chores don't do your dog harm. Just make sure you do your research before you use any new cleaning chemicals in your home, look for products that specifically state that they're 'pet-safe' and keep a close eye on your pooch to ensure they don't get too close to anything that might not be good for them.