August 31, 2015
The Top Ten Chemicals That Worsen Canine Itch
Chronic itch – scrapes and scratches, hot spots, reddened areas and other areas of inflammation – is just as serious a problem among dogs as it is among humans. While dogs’ skin conditions differ somewhat from human skin issues, there’s one thing we have in common … the environmental chemicals that aggravate that itching sensation. Many common household chemicals can worsen canine itch.
So to make life easier (and safer) for your dog, here are the ten most dangerous and common products you should try to eliminate from your dog’s environment to prevent not only skin irritation but other chronic health issues and, in some cases, death!
1. Bleach: Most forms of bleach contain sodium hypochlorite, which can harm or irritate a dog’s skin or paws. Prevent exposure to bleach, particularly on floors and surfaces where your dog often walks or runs, by rinsing these areas with clean water before you let your dog enter your kitchen, garage, laundry room, bathroom and other parts of your home.
2. Anti-Flea Sprays, Creams and Collars: Some flea control products contain ingredients such as limonene, pyrethrin and pyrethroids (an artificial version of pyrethrin). These chemicals, including those derived from citrus oils, can induce an itching sensation and breathing difficulties.
3. Motor Oil: If your dog is at your side in the garage while you work on your car or use motor oil (which often spills or leaks from a faulty engine), that substance is a carcinogen that can cause permanent damage to a dog’s skin.
4. Lawn Products: A yard can be a dog’s source of recreation and relaxation or it can be a hazardous site because of lawn fertilizers and herbicides. These products can irritate your dog’s paws, skin and nose, increasing the risk of long-term damage.
5. Drain Cleaners and Plumbing Solvents: These products, which are available in most supermarkets and drug stores, contain sulfuric acid and lye. Contact with either ingredient can burn a dog’s skin and cause blindness.
6. Oven Cleaners: Another series of household items that can produce chemical burns because of active ingredients like sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide.
7. Laundry Detergent: The dyes, chemicals and perfumes in most brands of laundry detergent can induce allergies and itching in dogs and humans alike.
8. De-Icing Salts: If you live in a region where winter is a euphemism for large accumulations of ice and snow, be aware of de-icing salts (to clear roads and driveways). They can burn or crack a dog’s skin (specifically the pads on their paws), leading to infections and inflammation.
9. Windshield Wiper Fluid: Again, if you work on your car in your garage or driveway, the slightest amount of spillage of this fluid (which contains methanol and isopropyl) can permanently harm a dog’s skin and could have lethal consequences.
10. Food Allergies: If your dog suffers from chronic itch that tends to worsen after meals, food may be the culprit. Try switching to whole foods, preferably a raw diet, and monitor any changes (for better or worse) over the course of one to two weeks. (Find out how to switch your dog to a healthy raw diet today. Click here!)