What Household Cleaners are Toxic to Your Pet

Image by PicsbyFran from Pixabay

Are you feeling the itch for spring cleaning? I know my need to dust has been getting pretty strong. Before you dive deep into your Sprig cleaning routines it is a good idea to take a look at your cleaners so you know which ones are pet safe and which ones aren’t. Many cleaners which are not pet safe can still be used as long as precautions are taken. If you have a concern that your pet has ingested any toxic cleaner, call the ASPCA Poison Control Center hotline immediately (888) 426-4435. This list has been provided by the ASPCA.


Bleach is one of the best cleaners for killing off all germs from cages and litter boxes, bathroom, floors, and toys. But how safe is it?

When you are cleaning with bleach, make sure you are using a diluted solution. After the cleaning, thoroughly rinse and air out whatever you cleaned. If a strong smell of bleach lingers, continue to air out. If the room has a strong smell of bleach, try opening windows or using a fan to air out the room. Do not leave bleach out in a bowl or bucket for your pet to drink from. While you are cleaning make sure your pet is not in the same room with you.

Carpet Fresheners

A lot of people with pets like to use carpet and fabric fresheners to get rid of that “pet” smell. Most of the time these products are fine. If your pet eats some it could cause some stomach upset. If your pet runs across a freshly sprinkled carpet, you should wash their paws with mild soap and water to avoid any possible skin irritation. We recommend keeping your pet out of the room while you are using the powder and until all the powder has been vacuumed up.

Carpet Shampoo

Typically carpet shampoo is fine. We recommend allowing the carpet to fully dry before allowing pets back into the area. This will cut down on any risk of skin irritation and paw print.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are the biggest cleaning craze! Everyone loves throwing some lavender oil into their cleaners or other fresh and brightening scent. Unfortunately, a lot of essential oils are toxic to pets. They can cause gastrointestinal upset, aspiration pneumonia, and liver damage. If you want to use essential oils, speak with your Albuquerque vet first to find out which ones are pet safe.

Fabric Sheets

DO NOT let your pets chew on fabric sheets, even used sheets. These sheets have detergents in them that can cause drooling, vomiting, mouth and throat ulcers, and fever. If you notice any of these signs, you need to get your pet to the vet. Additionally, the sheets, if swallowed, can also cause intestinal blockages.


Fabreeze has been determined to be safe for household use with pets. If your pet comes in direct contact with Fabreze there is a risk of mild skin irritation or minor stomach upset.

Swiffer Wet Jet

Swiffer Wet Jet is safe to use in households with pets. Just like with other cleaning products it may cause mild skin irritation or stomach upset.

Toilet Cleaning Tablets

Most toilet cleaning tablets will not cause issue beyond stomach upset if they drink the water. If they eat the whole tab, we recommend you call the poison hotline, to be safe. In general, it is a good idea to keep your pet from drinking toilet water as the toilet is a source of a lot of bacteria.

Vinegar and Water

A lot of people like to use vinegar and water as a cleaning agent. This is safe to use with pets, but as with any cleaning agent it can cause skin and stomach upset, especially depending on if it is undiluted. If your pet ingests straight vinegar it may cause vomiting or diarrhea and oral irritation.

Most products will say if they are pet safe or not. If you are not sure, we suggest you consult with your local Albuquerque vet.

When Do You Start Puppy Training?

Homemade dog food albuquerque
Homemade dog food albuquerque

At long last, you have your litter of puppies! When they first start life they wiggle and bumble and don’t do much but suckle. Quickly they become bouncy little trouble makers. We tell people to bring their puppies in for their puppy boosters at 8 weeks old. As important as getting them off on the right paw for veterinary health is, what about all the other things with owning a puppy, like training. When do you start training?

The short answer is, immediately. But you do need to be reasonable in your expectations of what your puppy will be able to do. Puppy training is more than teaching good behavior and ensuring they don’t pee on the floor. Puppy training is also establishing you as their pack leader. This is a really important part of your puppy’s mental health. Dogs are pack animals. In their pack, they have a leader and that leader is what keeps the pack feeling safe. Even if your puppy is the only dog in your pack, to your puppy you are the leader, and the better pack leader you are the safer and happier your puppy will be.

Taking control as the pack leader as soon as possible is important. When puppies sense that we are a weak leader they will do things to “take control” such as chewing the leash, leash pulling, excessive barking, and anxiety. Being a leader is an all the time thing. It is not only when the dog is misbehaving or when people are around that you need to be a pack leader. You always need to be one, from day one.


You can start puppies with housebreaking training starting as early as two months old. Most of the time they will learn it pretty quickly. They watch their moms do it, and it’s pretty natural for them. In the early days give your puppy a place inside to go potty. Puppy pads work very well for indoor bathroom use. Keep it in the same place so she gets used to going to the same place. Once she is ready to start going outside, move the pad outside. Every morning take her to where the pad is, make sure it is always in the same place, so she gets used to going to the restroom on it. Then after a few days, remove the pad but keep taking her first thing in the morning to the same place to go to the restroom. Once she has gone outside, give her some good pats or a treat to let her know that she did what she is supposed to do.

Make sure to take your puppy out every few hours to go to the restroom. The more frequently you take her out the less likely she is to have an accident. She will get used to the idea of her potty breaks being outside. If she has an accident, do not get mad or punish her. Take her to where she should be going and then clean up the accident. Make sure you use something like Nature’s Miracle to clean up so there is no smell left behind. If she can smell it she will have a higher likelihood of going back to that spot indoors.

Walking Your Puppy

You always see dogs walking in front of their owners but when you are training you should be the one to go first. Whomever walks first is the leader. When you take your puppy out, you should be the first one out of the door and the first one in, Your puppy should walk behind or beside you but never in front. This remains true when they are full grown dos as well.


The most important thing is consistency. If you are working on getting your dog to sit, you need to do it every time. You need to take her out in the morning every morning, It is not ok to say, “:just this one time she can go on the pad inside”. Part of being a leader is being consistent. The more consistent you are the safer your puppy will feel and ultimately the better behaved and happier she will be.

Delivering Puppies at Home

whelping puppies
whelping puppies

Most of the time delivering puppies is incident-free and pretty simple, but sometimes things can get complicated. We always recommend having someone around that has delivered puppies before.  You definitely need to talk to your Albuquerque vet about what to expect when delivering and what to watch out for.  The biggest thing to remember is that the mama dog knows what to due and you should trust her instincts. 

Signs Your Dog is Going into Labor

It has been roughly 64 days and you know your dog is likely ready to give birth. Here are some signs to look for that will let you know she is ready.

  • She may become restless. This means she will get up and sit down and move around a lot.
  • She will stop eating 24 hours before labor. 
  • She may start pawing at her bedding to “prepare her nest”.
  • She will lick her vulva.
  • She may vomit
  • She may have mucus discharge.

If you notice these signs you want to make sure you have your supplies on hand:

  • Whelping box (see our blog post on setting up your whelping box)
  • A laundry basket with a heating pad and blanket
  • Clean towels
  • Sterile scissors
  • Rubber gloves
  • antiseptic solution or iodine
  • dental floss

Delivering the Puppies

You have your supplies on hand, You are now ready to deliver those puppies. The first thing you will see is a grayish colored sac drop out of her vulva. When you see that you know a puppy is coming. Usually, the first puppy will appear within an hour of the sac dropping. If more than an hour has passed after she has dropped the sac and no puppy has arrived, you should call your veterinarian to find out if you need to bring her into the clinic. After the first puppy is born the other puppies will usually come fairly quickly. Most of the time you will have a puppy coming every 30 minutes but it can take up to 2 hours. This is why it is good to be in contact with your vet so they can help you identify if your mama dog is having difficulty with the labor, 

When Labor Goes Wrong

The mama dog is going to do most of the work but there are some things you should look for to determine if she needs your help.

  1. She does not remove the membrane. Puppies are born inside a membrane. This needs to be removed within 6 minutes or the puppy will suffocate. The mama dog should do this immediately. If she does not, you will have to remove the membrane, To remove the membrane you just need to rub the puppy with a towel. The membrane will come off easily.
  2. She does not lick her puppy. To stimulate breathing the mama dog will lick her puppy. This gets the puppy breathing and crying. If she does not do this you will want to rub the puppy robustly with a towel until it starts to breathe on its own. 
  3. She doesn’t chew the umbilical cord. The mama dog should chew through the umbilical cord of each puppy. If she does not do this you will have to cut the cord. Use your sterilized scissors to cut the cord. You want to leave an inch of the cord on the puppy’s belly. You will use dental floss to tie the cord.  TIP: It is better to crush the cord than get a clean cut. This will reduce the bleeding. After you tie off the cord you want to dip the end of the cord in your iodine to sterilize it. 
  4. She continues to have contractions after all the puppies are delivered. Knowing how many puppies your mama dog is having is important. This way you can know when she is done giving birth, If you are not sure, you can ask your vet what the maximum number of puppies your breed of dog will have. Another way to figure that out is to count the number of nipples she has. A dog typically won’t have more puppies than she has nipples. If you see that your mama dog is having contractions for longer than two hours but no puppies are coming, or you know that all the puppies have been delivered, you need to call the vet. 

After the Birth

The first thing after the birth is afterbirth, aka, the placenta. After each puppy is born a placenta should be passed. It should come out within 15 minutes of the puppy being born. It will look like a blob with a  blackish-greenish color. You can throw out the placenta. If the mama dog eats the placenta that is not a problem. Some people recommend not letting her eat more than 2 but there are different thoughts on this. Talk to your vet about what is considered ok.  Make sure that you have an equal number of afterbirths and puppies, so you will want to keep count. Sometimes the placenta does not come out after the puppy. She should push out any remaining placenta after all the puppies are born. However, if she does not then that placenta will need to be removed by your vet because it will make her sick. This is why it is important to keep count so when it is all said and done you can make sure that all puppies and all placentae came out. 

After the puppy is born put it in the basket with the heating pad and blanket. The mama will be looking for her pup so make sure that she can see it in the basket. The puppies will want to nurse immediately after birth, but keeping them in the basket until the birthing is finished will keep them safe from getting crushed by her. 

After all the puppies are born you need to take the mama dog outside to pee, otherwise, she will pee in the whelping box. If she does pee in the whelping box, it is not a big deal, just change out the blankets and puppy pad for a new one so the box is clean again. After she has peed, bring in the puppies so they can begin nursing. You should watch to make sure all the puppies are nursing and that they are getting enough milk. If she rejects a puppy or can’t provide enough milk then you will need to do it.  You can tell if the puppies are not getting enough milk because they will be complaining, restless, and sucking at everything. If you need to feed them you can get puppy bottles and milk at a pet supply store. Do not use milk from your fridge, it is not the right kind of milk. They need puppy formula which has the proper supplements.

If you notice the puppies are lethargic but seem to be well-fed, then they are cold.  Put them back in the basket with the heating pad to warm them up.  During the first few days of their life, you want to see them steadily gaining weight. The best way to tell if they are is by weighing them every day, We suggest using a food scale as that will be more accurate than most human scales. Many people tie ribbons of different colors on the puppies so they can tell them apart and track their weight. 

Time for the Vet

Within 48 hours of giving birth, you need to take the mama dog to the vet. She needs to be checked for complications or injuries. 

When your puppies are 8 weeks old you need to bring them in to start their series of puppy booster vaccinations. 

So after all that…CONGRATULATIONS! Whelping is an exciting time for a dog owner. I am sure you will love every one of your brand new puppies.