Clorox Toxicity in a Dog

By Deana Zaccaro

Some dogs are so inquisitive and clever that they get themselves into trouble. They topple over trash cans, sneak snacks from kitchen cabinets and chew up important pieces of mail. Such behavior is not only frustrating for you, but also hazardous to your dog's health. Pets are highly susceptible to poisoning from household products such as Clorox and other cleaners containing bleach. It's important to know how to keep your dog safe and what to do should you discover your curious pup has come in contact with the cleaner.


The chemicals in Clorox bleach that are toxic are also found in other brands of bleach, household cleaners that contain bleach and swimming pool chemicals. Bleaches used in the home, such as Clorox, usually contain chemicals that irritate the mucous membranes, sinuses and esophagus. These chemicals usually cause skin irritation and, when ingested, vomiting.


If your dog has ingested a toxic level of Clorox or any other product containing bleach, it may vomit, drool excessively, and show signs of throat and abdominal discomfort. Chlorine fumes on the the dog's breath and bleached fur around the mouth or paws may indicate that the dog has been exposed to bleach. Other signs of bleach poisoning may include lethargy, agitation, tremors or seizures.


If you believe your dog has ingested Clorox, call your veterinarian, an emergency animal clinic or an animal poison control helpline as soon as possible for instructions. Unless instructed, do not induce vomiting. Sometimes vomiting may cause more harm. If there are signs that the dog has bleach on his coat, rinse its coat clean. You may be instructed to flush your dog's mouth out with water for 15 minutes. Once at the veterinarian's office, your dog may have its stomach pumped, or the veterinarian may give it charcoal in order to absorb and bind up the toxins in its stomach.


In order to prevent dangerous accidents such as poisoning, PetMd suggests you "treat your dog as you would a young, inquisitive child." A puppy should be placed in a crate when you are not able to watch it. Pet-proof your home and make sure all dangerous chemicals are out of your dog's reach. Clean up Clorox and other chemical spills immediately, even in places such as the garage or outdoors. When cleaning with products containing bleach, be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions. Make sure you wipe any surfaces your dog may come in contact with clean after treating them with bleach. It is also important to take extra care when exposing your dog to bleach fumes -- inhalation can also be toxic.