Be Careful with These Everyday Home Products

Our pets are part of the family.

For dogs, that means they’re most likely glued to the backs of our calves wherever we may go. In the case of cats, there’s probably some affectionate circling of our legs and curling up on our laps.

In other words, they are very much within our personal space bubble—which is great. But because of that, we must also be careful of things that could hurt them. There are some everyday household products we use that contain ingredients that may be toxic to our pets.

Here are some to be aware of:


Sugar-free gum and toothpaste are some common products that can contain xylitol, which is used as a sugar alternative for humans. Xylitol is very toxic to dogs and may also be toxic to cats. It causes potentially life-threatening hypoglycemia. Make sure to carefully store away all xylitol-containing products.


Pets, like humans, need zinc in their diet. But too much zinc can be toxic for pets. One common household source of the mineral is zinc oxide sunscreens, which are considered safe and natural alternatives to chemical sunscreens for humans. But because of their potential toxicity to pets, keep your pets from licking you when you’re wearing sunscreen and make sure to wash the sunscreen off before petting them.


For the sake of our skin, many of us wear some kind of body lotion to keep moisturized. But lotions contain a variety of chemicals which you don’t want your pet ingesting; even natural lotions shouldn’t be ingested by pets. Most dogs and some cats love to lick their owners if given a chance, so for their own safety, keep them from licking you if you apply any skin products.

Hand Sanitizers

Hand sanitizers have become a popular alternative to regular soap and water to keep hands germ-free. The problem is that they tend to contain alcohol, which can be harmful to pets. If you must use a hand sanitizer for dog walking purposes or other emergencies around your pet, find one that is alcohol-free and as natural as possible, and allow it to completely dry before handling your pet.


Raisins are very common in cereals, trail mixes and other healthy human snacks, but grapes and raisins have been found to be toxic to dogs. Since raisins are more concentrated, they may actually be more toxic. When eating raisin snacks, eat out of a bowl and make sure you haven’t accidentally dropped anything. Keep the snack bag sealed and stored away from dogs and cats.


Most pet owners have probably heard that chocolate is bad for pets. Remember that chocolate comes in many popular forms—not just in a box on Valentine’s Day—including chocolate-covered espresso beans and baked goods containing chocolate. The smaller the dog and the darker the chocolate, the worse the reaction could be. Keep all chocolate-containing foods stored away in the pantry or fridge, and watch out for crumbs.

Make sure to keep these items all safely stored away and dispose of any wrappings or containers in a lidded, pet-proof trash can. If you suspect ingestion, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Meet the Author: Jessica Peralta

Jessica Peralta has been a journalist for more than 15 years and an animal lover all her life. She has had dogs, cats, birds, turtles, fish, frogs, and rabbits. Her current children are a German shepherd named Guinness and a black kitten named Riot (and he lives up to that name). It’s because of her love for animals that she focused her journalistic career to the world of holistic animal care and pet nutrition. In between keeping Riot and Guinness out of mischief, she’s constantly learning about all the ways she can make them healthier and happier.

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