Is Boric Acid Bad for Pets?

By Anne Rose

Generally considered a safe poison for control of insect pests and fungi, boric acid is commonly used in very small quantities in a household environment. But boric acid is a hazardous substance that can endanger pets if it's ingested or inhaled in significant amounts or over extended periods.

Extended exposure to boric acid may harm pets

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Identification

Boric acid is a weak acid, often used in powder form as an insecticide, flame retardant or antiseptic. Boric acid is also labeled as boracic acid, acidum boricum or orthoboric acid.

Function

Boric acid is used as an insecticide, especially to eliminate termites, fleas, ants and roaches. It works by dehydrating the body of insect pests, which is why it can also be dangerous to pets in large amounts.

Effects

If ingested or inhaled, boric acid can decrease the acid balance in a pet's body, causing cardiovascular, respiratory or renal distress and possibly failure. Symptoms of boric acid poisoning are general physical distress, including nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and disorientation.

Expert Insight

Boric acid is classified as a hazardous material by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Hazard Communication Standard based upon animal toxicity studies. Some states consider boric acid a hazardous substance.

Prevention and Solution

Boric acid should not be used for extended periods, even in very small applications such as ant or roach traps, for control of insect pests if house pets have access to the area being treated. Long-term exposure can hurt pets.