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We Love our Volunteers!

National Volunteer Appreciation Week

Not that we need a reason to celebrate our amazing volunteers, but this week marks National Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 19-25).

Normally ARL would commemorate this week with celebratory events at our Boston, Dedham and Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Centers – however we are not living in normal times.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, these events have been postponed, but we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight something that’s at the center of every volunteer – the compassion to join a cause that’s close to their heart.

Volunteers are mission critical for ARL, whether serving as ambassadors for the organization, working with behaviorally-challenged animals, comforting a frightened cat or dog, mucking horse stalls, changing litter boxes, or performing a myriad of other tasks – volunteers achieve countless selfless acts of kindness everyday and ARL is grateful.

In 2019, ARL’s 763 volunteers donated more than 38,000 hours of their time to help animals in need – that’s the equivalent of 18 full-time staff members!

Below are pictures of ARL’s 2019 Volunteer Appreciation Events.

Unfortunately due to COVID-19, ARL has limited volunteer access to our Boston, Dedham and Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Centers, but volunteers are still having a tremendous impact on ARL’s ability to weather this storm.

Approximately 160 shelter animals have been placed into ARL’s foster care network since the outbreak of COVID-19, and this act of kindness has multiple benefits.

Animals in foster care receive a respite from the shelter environment, and can benefit from one-on-one interaction to help overcome any behavioral challenges. Additionally, animals in foster care give ARL’s animal care associates a better idea of how the animals behave and act in a home setting.

Additionally, placing these animals into foster care has allowed ARL to free-up kennel space, in the event that animals need to be surrendered or temporarily housed by those affected by COVID-19.

Why Volunteer?

First and foremost, nonprofit organizations like ARL simply could not have such a wide reach to help animals in need without volunteers. Volunteers are integral members of the ARL family.

But volunteering has benefits beyond caring and participating in such a worthwhile cause.

About 63 million people, or 25% of the U.S. population, donate their time and talents to worthy causes.

In addition to making a difference in the community, volunteering has been shown to improve a person’s health by increasing physical activity, enhancing your mood and decreasing stress.

Another bonus?  The majority of hiring managers nationally see volunteerism as an asset in candidates seeking employment.

Thank You

ARL looks forward to its annual volunteer appreciation events later this year, but in the meantime we are so grateful to each and every volunteer who helps ARL fulfill its mission to be a Champion for Animals.

If you are interested in volunteering at ARL, please click here for more information and THANK YOU!


Animals and COVID-19

CDC, USDA Release New Report

Today, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories announced that two pet cats in New York have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).

According to the CDC and USDA, the cases occurred in two separate areas of New York State and are the first pets in the United States to test positive.

The cats, who have mild respiratory illness and are expected to make a full recovery, appeared to have contracted the illness from their owners who were sick with COVID-19.

To read the report in its entirety, click here.

Public health officials are still learning about SARS-CoV-2, and the fact is, while cats and dogs are susceptible to coronavirus, there remains no evidence that pets can pass the virus onto others. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals, including pets, could be affected by COVID-19.

Given this news and with many unknowns about the virus, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) concurs with, and recommends that pet owners heed the following CDC recommendations:

  • Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the home
  • Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people
  • Walk dogs on leash, maintaining at least 6 feet from other people or animals
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where people with animals may gather

For those who are suspected to carry the illness or have already tested positive, the CDC recommends:

  • When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick
  • Avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding
  • If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them

ARL reiterates that while cats and dogs may be susceptible to coronavirus, if you are practicing good hygiene, social distancing and other precautions, you, along with your pets, will have a lower risk of infection.

ARL Response

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, ARL has taken a number of steps to ensure the health and safety of staff, volunteers, clients, and the animals we serve.

At this time ARL has not altered programs, services or protocols to support animals in need, or the people who care for them during this time of uncertainty. ARL remains committed to serving our communities and to take every measure to keep pets and families together.

For more information on ARL’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.

Resources and Answers to your FAQs

For more information on animals and COVID-19, see: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/animals.html

For more information about testing in animals, see: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/one_health/downloads/faq-public-on-companion-animal-testing.pdf


ARL’s Response to COVID-19

Your Social Media Questions Answered

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has received a lot of questions on our social media channels over the last couple of weeks about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting ARL and how you can support our organization during this time.

Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL’s Vice President of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services and incoming President recently took a moment to respond to some of your most frequently asked questions.

Thank you so much for submitting all of your questions and for all your support during this very difficult time.

Animals need you now more than ever, so please consider making a donation – every little bit helps.

To learn more about any of the information or programs mentioned, and for the most current ARL updates, please continue to visit arlboston.org regularly.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and thank you for being an unwavering champion for animals in need!


Responding During a Time of Crisis

ARL’s Keep Pets S.A.F.E Program

In an effort to support animals in need and to keep people and pets together during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has launched the Keep Pets S.A.F.E. (Supporting Animals Facing Emergencies) Program.

The program, initially funded by a grant through PetSmart Charities®, will allow ARL to support community partners Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) and Boston Senior Home Care (BSHC), by providing their clients with pet food and supplies and other urgent assistance.

Clients of ARL’s Wellness Waggin’ are also eligible for assistance.

ARL will offer help during this crisis by providing the following services to clients who qualify for the program:

  • Deliver pet food and other essential pet supplies to clients’ homes and partner-supported community housing;
  • Pick up pets to provide critical veterinary care and return them to their owner;
  • Provide temporary emergency shelter for pets and offer pick up and return of the pet to their owner or a designated caregiver;
  • Arrange for emergency and essential surrender of pets with pick up service.

As of today, ARL is limiting these services to clients of the Wellness Waggin’, ABCD, and BSHC who reside in the following zip codes:

  • 02119 – Roxbury
  • 02120 – Roxbury
  • 02121 – Dorchester
  • 02122 – Dorchester
  • 02124 – Dorchester
  • 02125 – Dorchester
  • 02126 – Mattapan

“The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented, and ARL is committed to keeping pets and their families together during this difficult time,” stated Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL’s Vice President of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services. “If you find yourself in an extreme situation where you have to decide whether your pet can remain in the home due to emergency medical, financial, or personal reasons, you are encouraged to contact the Animal Rescue League of Boston.”

“As a senior citizen, who is unable to visit the grocery store right now, I’m so grateful ARL was able to deliver cat food straight to my door,” said one Boston-based client.

Clients in the aforementioned zip codes who qualify for these services can call ARL’s Keep Pets S.A.F.E. hotline at (857) 350-8730. The hotline will be available Monday-Saturday from 9AM to 5PM.

We Are All in This Together

ARL wishes to thank PetSmart Charities, Action for Boston Community Development, and Boston Senior Home Care for their support and assistance. Additionally, ARL would like to thank Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love® Disaster Relief Network for generously supplying wet and dry dog and cat food for ARL’s Keep Pets S.A.F.E. Program.

For more information on ARL’s Keep Pets S.A.F.E. Program, and to see if you qualify, log onto arlboston.org/safe.

For information on ARL’s protective measures regarding COVID-19, go to arlboston.org/covid-19/.


ARL Conducts National Animal Cruelty Conversation

Dr. Edward Schettino Presents During AAWA Webinar

While many things in our daily lives have been altered, suspended, or cancelled, the battle to end animal cruelty, neglect, and abuse continues unabated.

This past week, Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL Vice President of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services, presented a webinar hosted by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement (AAWA) to discuss the importance of professionals having the tools to not only recognize animal abuse, but who to report it to.

The webinar was attended by more than 100 animal welfare and veterinary professionals from across the country.

Currently, only 16 states, including Massachusetts, categorize veterinarians as mandated reporters of animal cruelty and abuse, while just six states mandate non-veterinarians (typically Animal Control Officers) to report – again, Massachusetts is one of these states.

The information discussed during the webinar will hopefully bring new ideas and action to regions of the country that do not mandate reporting of suspected animal cruelty.

Cruelty Manual

In 2018, a collaborative effort between ARL, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, and Animal Folks (MN) resulted in the creation of Reporting Animal Cruelty the Role of the Veterinarian: Establishing Protocols to Identify and Report Suspected Animal Cruelty in Massachusetts.

This manual was at the center of Dr. Schettino’s presentation.

“The manual provides guidance for veterinarians to establish protocols at clinics and practices, and help them really understand why it’s so important to report animal cruelty – even though it’s already mandated in Massachusetts,” said Dr. Schettino during the webinar presentation.

Veterinarians are at the forefront of every day animal care, and the manual covers all aspects of animal cruelty including: veterinarian’s roles and responsibilities and documentation and reporting procedures; overviews of the “link” between animal abuse and human abuse, and current Massachusetts law.

In 2019, ARL also partnered with the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR) Division of Professional Licensure, to include the information during the mandated annual license renewal process for every veterinarian in the Commonwealth.

A Leader in Training

Dr. Schettino’s webinar is just the latest in ARL’s efforts to train those who are in the greatest position to identify and take proper actions to ensure both the safety of the animal and perhaps other members of the household who may also be subjected to violence and abuse.

Over the past year, ARL has conducted training sessions with the Massachusetts State Police, Massachusetts Police Chiefs Association, dozens of local Animal Control Officers, and the Massachusetts Disabilities Commission.

ARL is often the first to respond in instances of animal cruelty or abuse, but we cannot do it alone. Ongoing training for those in law enforcement and other disciplines are vital to combat abuse and advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.


ARL’s Pet Behavior Helpline Part II

Your Top 10 Questions During the COVID-19 Pandemic — Part II

 The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is committed to keeping animals safe and healthy in their homes, and offers a free service to ensure that owners are providing the best care possible for the pets we love.

 ARL’s Pet Behavior Helpline is a convenient and reliable resource for behavioral and health-related questions you may have regarding your pet.

 We’re all spending more time at home during the COVID-19 outbreak, and over the past several weeks ARL has received a number of questions from concerned prospective or current pet owners.

 We have answers from ARL’s Animal Behavior Manager Laney Nee for the top 10 questions, here’s the top 5!

 Click here for the first half of the list!

Q: “Do dogs have a sense of time?” 

A: Another great question!

Dogs do have a general sense of time based on the routine that you set forth in their life.

For example, my dachshund mix Maria knows when the clock is making its way towards 6 p.m. so between 5-6 p.m. she starts whining and is clingier towards myself or my husband. 

We look at each other and say, ‘oh – it must be that time!’

This does not mean she looked at the clock and saw the exact time but she does knows that we both tend to be home during that time. She also knows our typical routine is that we feed her shortly after we come home from work each day. 

Dogs also get a sense of time when we go through our typical daily routine as well. 

They are constantly watching what we do when they’re with us so they know when it’s relaxation time, feeding time, time to play or go to bed!

Q: “Any suggestions for online puppy training?” 

A: Our Free Pet Behavior Helpline is a great resource available and for the COVID-19 crisis we have three certified professional dog trainers available to speak with as well. 

To find other resources online be sure to always look for resources promoting the use of positive reinforcement reward-based training methods. 

Ensure that they do not utilize any correction training equipment such as choke chain, prong, vibration or electronic type collars for training. 

Q: “How do I make sure my puppy who is not yet crate trained is safe at home while I’m working?” 

A: Contact our Free Pet Behavior Helpline and set up an appointment with one of our three certified professional dog trainers to review how to properly crate train your puppy.

Use this social distancing time to practice training so that by the time you return back to your daily routine, your dog will more comfortable spending time alone in his crate.

Q: “How can I make bath time more tolerable for my pup?”

A: In one word — food!

Always pair delicious treats when your pup is experiencing something new, like a bath.

If you have two people available to help during bath time, bring out your training treats, and have one person feed your dog while the other continues with bathing.

If your dog stops eating, then bring out higher-value food such as cheese or boiled chicken. Continue to offer your dog food throughout the entire bath.

If you’re giving the bath solo, you can smear peanut butter or cream cheese on a suction feeding mat toy and as your dog is happily licking, bathe away!

Q: “Do you offer dog socialize classes? I recently adopted a 1-and-a-half-year-old and want her to socialize.” 

A: We offer group dog training classes that include 5-8 dogs with their pet parents.

We also offer on-site private lessons where we will work on any and all training and behavioral issues. 

Please note: ARL’s dog training courses are currently suspended until after May 1.

Socializing your new dog will also happen organically as you start bringing your pup through their daily routine of walks and playtime.

Because your dog is new to you and your environment, it’s important to expose your dog to new things slowly and at your dog’s own pace. Pair new experiences with delicious treats to help build a positive association to the new experience. 

If your adopted dog came up from a southern state, Puerto Rico, or another Caribbean island, it is important to remember the environment that your dog spent the first year of his life in. Your dog likely spent most of his time off leash and free to come and go as he pleased, especially if he was found as a stray. He most likely was able to run from things he was afraid of and had limited interaction with people. 

As your dog transitions to a life in New England, it’s important to maintain patience as your dog acclimates to his new environment and routine.

Walking on a leash means that your dog no longer has the option to flee from unwanted situations and can result in your dog exhibiting fearful behavior towards new things. It’s important to get him acclimated to his leash and collar before you head outdoors, start with short walks and don’t forget to bring treats!

Simply adding high value treats to the equation can completely change the experience for your dog and eventually he will acclimate to his new life.

ARL FREE Pet Behavior Helpline

ARL’s Pet Behavior Helpline is a FREE service, and can answer basic behavioral questions about your pet, such as excessive barking, crate training, house soiling, or if you are looking for ways to stave off your pet’s boredom.

If you have questions, please call the Pet Behavior Helpline at (617) 226-5666 or via email behaviorhelpline@arlboston.org and an ARL representative will get back to you within 48 hours.


ARL’s Pet Behavior Helpline

Your Top 10 Questions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is committed to keeping animals safe and healthy in their homes, and offers a free service to ensure that owners are providing the best care possible for the pets we love.

ARL’s Pet Behavior Helpline is a convenient and reliable resource for behavioral and health-related questions you may have regarding your pet.

We’re all spending more time at home during the COVID-19 outbreak, and over the past several weeks ARL has received a number of questions from concerned prospective or current pet owners.

We have answers from ARL’s Animal Behavior Manager Laney Nee for the top 10 questions, and here are the first five!

Q: “We don’t have a pet, but my kids want one. Does ARL have any resources for kids that I can refer to on pet ownership and responsibilities of owning a pet? Since they are home, I would like to take the time to teach them.” 

A: It’s important to set yourself up for success when choosing the right pet for your family, do your research and be sure to welcome a pet that fits easily into your daily routine.

Assess your daily life (outside of COVID-19 restrictions) and decide what type of pet would be the best fit for you and your family’s scheduleincluding a plan for summer travel and holiday gatherings. 

In addition, though this is a way to show responsibility to a child, it is also important to be realistic about that expectation as wellbe sure to choose a pet that the entire family can care for in case that particular child is not able to continue basic care.

Q: “How do I get two cats to get along?! We’ve contemplated getting our gal a friend.” 

A: A great question. When adopting a second cat, it is crucial to consider what your cat at home enjoys doing and what their personality is like.

You want it to be a good match for your cat from the start. For example, if your cat loves to play, you’ll probably want to consider a cat who will want to play with them. Once you find the right match, it is important to do a slow introduction when your new kitty gets home. Often times, having the two cats meet right away can cause issues between them from the start.

Remember, your cat at home needs time to adjust to having a new sibling, and your new kitty will be stressed moving into a new home that is unfamiliar to them, so baby steps are the key to success!

Baby steps include:

  • Keeping cats separate for a few days at least
  • Keep food for both cats at door separating them – this shows the cats that coming together is a happy experience i.e. food!
  • Switch the cat’s locations after a few days so they can investigate the scent of the other
  • Play with the cats near the door separating them – they may play paws under the door with one another (adorable)
  • If these measures don’t induce hissing or growling, slowly take the next step to introduce the cats by sight
  • Take it slow!!

Q: “Why is my cat biting all the time? Even when she comes to cuddle?” 

A: Cats can bite for a number of different reasons, but regardless of what that reason is, it is an attempt to communicate something to you.

Please reach out to us through our Free Pet Behavior Helpline with additional details for us to help explain what she might be trying to communicate specifically to you.

Q: “When I am walking my new puppy, people tend to want to approach us to say hi and pet her. What is the best way to social distance myself from the public when I am out walking?”

A: What you can do is simply say that ‘we are practicing social distancing’ and continue walking.

Right after you say that phrase, immediately offer your puppy a high-value treat to redirect her attention to you.

In terms of decreased socialization during social distancing, my advice is to really stick with the basics at home, develop a schedule to help create a solid foundation for your puppy including practicing basic cues.  

Q: “Will my dog get overly comfortable with me being home/no separation? What are some tips to help them through this?” 

A: Though your pet is very happy to have you home every day, you may start to see some anxiety and stress develop in them during these times of having the entire family home. These signs of anxiety or stress are likely caused by a change in their everyday routine.

Routine is key for any petincluding cats and dogsso there may be some adjustments necessary on both ends of this crisis, meaning an adjustment period when you are ‘all of a sudden’ home every day and another adjustment period when you go back to your daily routine again (leaving the house to go to work).

One great thing to do for dogs is to develop some new skills while you’re home, for example, if your dog has never adjusted to a crate, consider crate training to give them some time separated from you while he enjoys a delicious bone or stuffed Kong®.

If your dog is used to relaxing wherever they want, consider teaching them a ‘place’ cue to help them stay on their bed or mat for an extended period of time.

For cats, you can create playtime and feeding routines to help them get acquainted with a schedule that can be transitioned to when you go back to your daily routine again.

Thank you once again to ARL’s Animal Behavior Manager Laney Nee for providing her expertise on these questions, click here to read PART II. 

ARL FREE Pet Behavior Helpline

ARL’s Pet Behavior Helpline is a FREE service, and can answer basic behavioral questions about your pet, such as excessive barking, crate training, house soiling, or if you are looking for ways to stave off your pet’s boredom.

If you have questions, please call the Pet Behavior Helpline at (617) 226-5666 or via email behaviorhelpline@arlboston.org and an ARL representative will get back to you within 48 hours.


ARL Assists Winchendon ACO Reunite 22-Year-Old Cat with Owners

This week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department had the pleasure of assisting Winchendon, MA, Animal Control in a heart-warming reunion between a curious 22-year-old cat, and her family.

This reunion may not have been possible if the family had not filed a missing pet report.

Earlier in the week, the cat, named Tips, was found along a main road in the town that borders New Hampshire, and taken into the care of Winchendon Animal Control Officer Suzie Kowaleski, who then contacted ARL for assistance.

ARL brought Tips to its Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, where the cat received a thorough veterinary exam, blood work, as well as some medication and ointments.

Other than typical signs of advanced age, Tips had no injuries, was in good spirits, friendly, and was clearly being missed by someone.

Tips wasn’t microchipped, however, her family had fortunately filed a lost report, making this reunion possible.

Welcome Home

Cats, no matter their age, are naturally curious and it seemed that Tips simply slipped out the door and was on her own for several days.

Tips’ family had actually seen her born and had cared for her ever since and was understandably worried that the 22-year-old cat was out in the world on her own.

Her family was absolutely thrilled to have her home, and ARL is proud to have played a small role in caring for the animal and reuniting Tips with her family.

ARL thanks Winchendon ACO Suzie Kowaleski and everyone involved for making this happy ending possible!

If A Pet Goes Missing

The American Humane Association estimates that 1 out of every 3 pets will go missing at some point in their lifetime.

A shocking statistic for sure, but remember, if your animal has gone missing, there are many resources available, including ARL, to help locate your beloved pet.

Filing a lost report with your local animal control, ARL, and other animal welfare organizations is a critical first step.

For other tips on how to handle a missing pet situation, click here.


Keeping Pets Occupied While Working Remotely

For many us, our schedules have been rearranged in recent days, and that means working remotely whenever possible.

You’re following the guidelines for working from home – showering, getting dressed, having a dedicated work space, avoiding temptations like a Netflix binge-a-thon – but what about your pets?

We’ve all seen the cute pictures online – a cat sprawled across a keyboard, walking all over a desk or table, or curled up in a person’s lap These images are cute, but they don’t necessarily correlate to you being productive.

Our furry friends are attuned to our human habits, and once they get over the confusion of you not walking out the door in the morning, they can see it as an opportunity to spend more time with you and become more clingy.

Here are some tips to keep you productive and ensure that your pets are engaged while you’re home.

For Dogs

Maintain your dog’s routine as much as possible.

  • Keep feeding time the same, and if your dog spends time in a crate while you’re not home, don’t be tempted to forgo that routine either.
  • If you do crate your animal while at home, a tempting bone or treat will keep them occupied while you get your work done.
  • Try not to give in to the scratches at the door to go outside every time, and try your best not to give in to a lot of attention-seeking behaviors (whining, barking, pawing, among others) that may be happening simply out of confusion and wonder as to why you are around for so long.

Enrichment is critically important!

Some ideas to keep your pooch entertained!

There are a number of things to keep your dog active, engaged and occupied, including:

  • Stuffed treats (like a Kong) can keep a dog occupied and engaged for quite awhile
  • Marrow and Nyla bones at various times throughout the day is a great way to keep them engaged, but the key is to put them away when their time with the bones is over
  • Add a walk or two if weather and your schedule permits (it could be good for both of you!)
  • Engage in a couple of constructive play sessions (not snuggle sessions) where you play and really get your dog’s brain working to let them have fun
  • Allow you dog to relax and have quiet time by themselves

For Cats

Keep your cat’s regular feeding schedule, but meal time by:

  • Place food or treats in food puzzles, or in recycled toilet paper rolls or egg cartons
  • Try scattering dry food throughout a room and make them find or chase it!

Experiment with some easy (and inexpensive) ways to get your cat playing which include:

  • Fill a large paper bag with a sprinkle of catnip – cats love the crinkling and will be sure to have fun with it!
  • Build a fort/obstacle course with cardboard boxes
  • Take away a few toys from their regular stash then reintroduce them later – they’ll seem like new!
  • Put on a video to stimulate their prey drive (birds, etc.) then get them playing with wand toys; they’ll be stimulated by the “hunt” and will tire out quickly.

Finally, you can do something simple like move their cat tree to another location. You give your cat a new view to focus on and a new sunny spot to nap!

Have Pet Behavior Questions? ARL Has Answers

ARL is committed to being a reliable resource for behavioral and health-related questions about your pet, and our goal is to help owners provide the best care for their animals.

ARL’s Pet Behavior Helpline is a FREE service, and can answer basic behavioral questions about your pet, such as excessive barking, crate training, house soiling, or if you are looking for ways to stave off your pet’s boredom.

If you have questions, please call the Pet Behavior Helpline at (617) 226-5666 or via email behaviorhelpline@arlboston.org and an ARL representative will get back to you within 48 hours.


Cleaning Products and Our Pets

Typically this is the time of year for spring cleaning.

We organize the garage, donate old clothing, and move furniture to get into all the nooks and crannies we tend to neglect.

However, amidst the outbreak of COVID-19, cleaning has become more important than ever.

But, before you pick up the duster, industrial vacuum, and bottles of solvents and cleaners – keep in mind that not all cleaning agents are pet-friendly.

The ingredients to avoid in household cleaners are phenols – a parent compound used as a disinfectant. If the label says “disinfectant”, “antibacterial”, or “sanitizer”, chances are it contains phenolic compounds, which can be toxic to dogs and cats.

Let’s run through a few common cleaners and how they can be used safely around your pets.

Bleach/Bleach Cleaners

There are countless products that contain bleach, however if used properly, the risk of skin irritation or stomach upset is minute.

Straight bleach should be properly diluted with water, and if using either a bleach solution or cleaner, it’s important to thoroughly rinse and air dry. Bleach odor can be overpowering for both pets and humans alike, so use it in well-ventilated areas.

Carpet Shampoo

Carpet shampoos can cause skin irritation or stomach upset, but most are safe for households with pets. Make sure the carpet is completely dry before allowing pets to re-enter the area.

Carpet Deodorizing Powders

Carpet deodorizing powders, if ingested, can cause respiratory irritation, resulting in coughing, sneezing or a runny nose. Keep pets out of the room until you have vacuumed up the powder – and make sure to do a thorough job, as it can linger deep inside the carpet fibers.  If your pet comes in direct contact with the powder, you should wash their paws with soap and water to avoid skin irritation.

Aerosol Air Fresheners and Disinfectants

Chemicals common in many popular air fresheners and disinfectants, can cause skin irritation, as well gastrointestinal issues.

When spraying, make sure the pets are out of the room and do not come in contact with any surfaces until they are dry.

Floor Cleaners

When it comes to cleaning floors, many of us prefer the quick and easy method, like disposable microfiber pads that spray a cleaning solution.  The chemicals in these products are usually diluted, which means they do not present serious health risks to pets.

If you opt to use the traditional mop and bucket, be sure to dilute the solution properly with water, and always make sure the floors are dry before allowing pets back into the area.

Taking the time to find household cleaning products that will not create unnecessary risks for your beloved pets and taking care to use them properly, will ensure clean and healthy living spaces for everyone in your household!