Household Pet Dangers: Medications, Flea and Tick Products, and Cleaners with Bleach

In a recent blog post, I noted that when I teach about pet first aid and CPR, I make sure to emphasize prevention against household pet dangers. It never fails, however, that when I start listing some of these dangers, pet owners discover their homes might not be the safe pet environments they thought. In the earlier post, I focused on dangerous plants, people food, and wires and cords. Now I’d like to turn my attention to household pet dangers that can arise from the use of certain medications, flea and tick products, and cleaning products containing bleach.


Human medicines can pose a significant threat to the health and safety of our pets. What pill is most often ingested by pets? Ibuprofen. This could be because it is used so frequently in the typical household and can be hard to find if dropped on the floor. Also, pets may be attracted to its sweet outer coating. Ibuprofen can cause stomach ulcers and even kidney failure in pets.

Other potentially harmful medications include many prescription drugs and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Even OTC drugs as common and seemingly harmless as pain relievers, acetaminophen and antihistamines can be dangerous to your pets. In fact, if you don’t know for sure, it’s best to be cautious and consider all human medications as potentially harmful to household pets. Keep your prescriptions and OTC medications (pills, creams, etc.) safely stored where pets cannot get easy access to them. And certainly never give human medication to a pet unless you first consult a veterinarian and get the okay. For a complete list of harmful human medications, visit

Flea and Tick Products

Flea and tick products for pets work because they contain powerful chemicals. If you use them, follow directions very precisely and only use cat products on cats, and dog products on dogs. According to Robert Goggs, lecturer in emergency and critical care in the Department of Clinical Sciences at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, “Drug dosages and the concentrations of medications for dogs are frequently higher than for cats. There are also interspecies differences in the way drugs are metabolized or in their effects on organ function.” Goggs reminds us that “cats are not small dogs — just using less of the drug will not always make it safe!”

Cleaning products containing bleach

While a small amount of diluted bleach, such as a few milliliters of residue in toilet water, won’t cause any damage, a small amount of concentrated bleach can be toxic. “The degree of damage increases with dose,” says Goggs, citing the concentration and length of exposure to bleach. He notes that ingesting even a “small amount of concentrated bleach is likely to result in severe damage to the [pet’s] mouth, throat and food pipe.”

If bleach-cleaned surfaces make you nervous about your pet’s health and safety, make sure these cleaned areas are well-ventilated and completely dry before bringing pets back in. If your pet comes into contact with a household cleaning product, wash the animal with mild soap and lukewarm water.

Other Household Pet Dangers

Don’t forget that there are many additional household dangers that can threaten the health and safety of your cat or dog. Here are just a few you should keep away from your pets:

  • Insecticides
  • Rat and mouse poison
  • Soaps, toothpaste and sunblock
  • Liquid potpourri
  • Mothballs (the napthalene in just one mothball can cause serious damage if ingested)
  • Pennies and batteries
  • Car maintenance fluids
  • Paints and solvents

Bottom Line: Safety

Do you think your home is generally safe for your pet? Are you sure? To find out, do a walk-through of your home and use a critical eye to assess the threats. You might even get down to your pet’s eye level to see where dangers may lurk. And if you think your pet has ingested something toxic, call your vet or emergency pet care provider immediately.

For a more complete listing of items that are poisonous to pets, get the PetSaver app at Use referral code LB 1747.

And of course, if you aren’t comfortable leaving your pet alone, remember that we specialize in pet sitting services for cats and dogs. Contact us at 317.224.5243.


If you are looking for a pet sitter in Indianapolis, Carmel, Zionsville and nearby areas in Central Indiana, you’ve come to the right place. At Ask Linda Pet Sitting, we specialize in cat sitting, dog sitting, dog walking, and professional in-home pet care. We are not veterinarians, but we follow pet safety procedures and are trained for pet emergency situations. Above all, at Ask Linda Pet Sitting, we believe in education and proactive pet health. Linda is the only NAPPS certified pet sitter in Indianapolis, and is also a certified pet First Aid/CPR/Wellness instructor. Want to learn more? Ask Linda! 

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