If you have an allergic, itchy dog, then you know that with the weather warming up and pollen in the air, your pet’s skin problems are likely to get worse. Did you know that chemicals found in household commodities could exacerbate your pet’s itchy skin issues?
Listed below are 9 everyday products that can be causing irritation and damage to your dog’s sensitive skin.
- Flea control products – Some dogs have been shown to be allergic to the chemicals in particular flea control products. Flea sprays and dips containing limonene (derived from citrus oils), pyrethrin, and pyrethroids (synthetic derivatives of pyrethrin) can cause both skin and respiratory allergic reactions.
- Bleach – Household bleach is made with sodium hypochlorite, a chemical that can damage and irritate your dog’s paws and skin. Make sure to keep it away from your pets, and, if you use it to clean your countertops or floors, that areas are rinsed thoroughly with clean water before your animals are allowed to walk on them.
- Drain cleaners – Most drain cleaners contain sulfuric acid and lye (sodium hydroxide). These chemicals can cause severe skin burns and blindness if they splash on your dog’s skin or eyes.
- Motor oil – Once used as a “cure” for mange, we now know motor oil contains carcinogens that bleed through a dog’s skin and cause cancers, nervous system damage, and other organ system illnesses.
- Lawn fertilizers – Your dogs run, lie, and roll in grass covered in lawn fertilizers that can be potentially toxic to their skin and organ systems. Many lawn fertilizers are combined with herbicides, the so-called “weed ‘n’ feed” products. Not only can these combined products irritate your dog’s skin, paws, and nose, they have been shown to increase the risks of your dog contracting lymphoma, in a 1991 study published in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
- De-icing salts – Even though spring is here, parts of the world are still covered in snow and ice, and de-icings salts on sidewalks and roadways can burn, crack, and irritate the skin on your dogs’ paws. Additionally, if they lick their feet after coming in from the outside, the sodium chloride found in most de-icing salts, along with other minerals such as potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, calcium carbonate or calcium magnesium acetate, can cause internal electrolyte problems that can lead to illness.
- Oven cleaner – Some oven cleaners are made with strong corrosive bases. Both sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide can cause serious chemical burns if they accidentally contact your pet’s skin.
- Windshield wiper fluid – Wiper fluid is toxic to the touch because some of its poisonous chemicals are absorbed through your dog’s skin. Methanol and isopropyl alcohol damage organ systems, cause blindness, and can potentially lead to death.
- Laundry detergent and softeners – Just like humans, some dogs are allergic to the dyes and chemicals in the laundry detergent used to wash their bedding and towels. The artificial fragrances found in liquid softeners and dryer softening sheets can also irritate a sensitive dog’s nose and skin.
What are some solutions?
If chemical flea repellents bother your dog, try purchasing inexpensive electric flea traps for your home and use all-natural, diatomaceous earth in your yard and gardens. You can also use diatomaceous earth around the baseboards of your house as a flea repellent.
Instead of chemical lawn fertilizers, spread corn gluten on your lawn and garden. Corn gluten is an organic fertilizer and weed killer that has become popular for use in residential lawns as well as school fields and golf courses. Additionally, corn gluten is safe for pets.
When your dogs are out on icy streets and sidewalks risking exposure to de-icing salts make sure they wear protective, waterproof “pet boots” to save their paws. You can try sand, kitty litter, or crushed cinder on icy walkways to keep from slipping, although those products won’t melt the ice. Remember to wipe your pet’s paws with an aloe vera-based baby wipe when coming in from the cold.
Keep all household cleaners and detergents locked away where your dogs can’t get to them. Rinse all bedding and areas where the products are used for cleaning thoroughly with clear water. If possible, purchase all-natural, organic products labeled “Safe For Pets.”
When you start noticing your dog beginning to scratch red, irritated skin, try an all-natural, oatmeal based canine shampoo to relieve the inflammation and itchiness associated with allergies. The colloidal oatmeal in the shampoo is one of the few organic products approved by the FDA to relieve itching caused by allergies and insect bites and also helps moisturize dry skin.
For immediate spot itch relief, spray an all natural anti-itch spray directly onto the irritated areas of your dog’s skin. By getting the spray through the fur and directly on inflamed skin, an all-natural anti-itch spray uses organic products such as oat extract, aloe, and litchi to soothe the itch. Other organics including boswellia serrate, calendula, and grapefruit see extract reduce inflammation and prevent infections.