Will Bleach Hurt My Dog?

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Bleach bottle lying on ground
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If you use bleach to sanitize your dog's sleeping area or toys, you might want to think twice. Exposure to bleach through ingestion, breathing or touching, is extremely dangerous for dogs. Symptoms range from mild irritations to internal corrosion, depending on how diluted the bleach is and the size of your dog. Bleach is hidden in all kinds of products in your home. Read labels and be aware of all of the chemicals you use in your pup's environment to prevent problems.


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Internal Concerns

Once your furry family member ingests bleach, it can severely corrode his insides. Pay attention to symptoms of bleach ingestion: drooling, diarrhea, problems swallowing due to a sore throat, painful spots on his belly and vomiting, are most prevalent in this scenario. It's OK if your pup throws up on his own, but don't force him to. Making that bleach come back up his esophagus could lead to further corrosion of this area. If he'll drink, let him have water or milk. Take him to the nearest emergency clinic immediately. Without proper treatment, bleach poisoning can be fatal.


Additional Internal Considerations

Your four-legged friend doesn't have to drink something with bleach for it to be a problem. Just the gas fumes of bleach can be problematic. If your dog inhales large amounts of bleach fumes, he may start coughing, heaving, sneezing or gagging. With frequent exposure, these fumes can lead to blood and metabolic problems. You can still sanitize your house with bleach, but leave your pal outside or take him out for a walk, until all surfaces are dry and those fumes are gone.


External Problems

Bleach can severely irritate your canine's skin, causing a painful burn-like rash. If he gets some on his fur, rinse the area under running water. Wash the area with a mild dog shampoo, like an oatmeal shampoo, depending on the severity of the exposure. If it's too red and irritated, just stick to water. Bleach is irritating to your pooch's eyes as well. His eyes likely will water and swell shut if bleach gets in. In some cases, bleach can damage the cornea and impact his vision. Seek immediate medical attention, even if the spot doesn't seem that bad. Some symptoms might take a little while to surface.


Where It’s Hidden

You might have already thought about securing that big bottle of bleach in a locked cabinet. However, not all sources of bleach are that obvious. Take your toilet bowl, for example. If you have one of those self-cleaners that hangs from the side or a cleaning tablet that drops in the tank, there's likely bleach in your toilet water. Shower cleaners, disinfectants, pool chemicals and packages of lightening hair dye, can all contain bleach. Put child safety locks on all of your closets and cabinets that contain chemicals. Keep your toilet lid closed if you use a cleaning agent in it. If you have a chlorine pool, it's safest not to let your dog drink from it. These safety tips can save your pooch's life.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.