Toxins and Pets

September 11, 2023
By: Adriana Valle

These days, we are all concerned about toxin exposure. It’s hard not to be; we’re constantly bombarded with “better alternatives” for household and pet-related products. Yet, going completely toxin-free is virtually impossible. So, where do we start? How do we reduce our exposure to toxins while simultaneously maintaining our sanity? Today, we’re discussing toxins and pets. Plus, we’re sharing our top three places to start reducing exposure one day at a time.

Toxin Reduction at Home

Reducing toxins at home is usually the best place to start because many of the products we use daily are replaced often.

First, start with your all-purpose cleaner. What do you use? Is it a commercial spray that has a strong fragrance and bright color? If so, consider alternatives like a DIY vinegar mixture or a non-toxic all-purpose cleaner like the ones listed here. If you have a bit of time to make your own but hate the smell of vinegar, consider Force of Nature. FON works on all surfaces. It is kid and pet-friendly. And, is safe enough to be applied directly to the skin and fabrics.

Second, limit your use of abrasive and chemical sprays for your range, stainless steel appliances, etc. When you use these products, your dogs and cats can experience allergic reactions, respiratory distress, and even long-term health issues. If you prefer to use these products until they run out, open all windows, place your pet in a different room, and make sure you wipe all residue. Wash rags and keep all products far away from your pet, their food bowls, and their bedding. Once they run out, replace them with better options for the whole family. Breathe Stainless Steel Polish, which is rated a B by the Environmental Working Group, is a great start.

Finally, refrain from using weed killer on your lawn or yard. It’s bad for you, your pets, your kids, and the environment. Embrace the weeds or opt for natural formulas that don’t pose the same threat as products that have been linked to cancer.

Toxin Reduction in Pet Products

Many pet grooming products contain synthetic fragrances, sulfates, and parabens. In addition, pet grooming products are constantly changing ownership, and formulas that were once potentially safe for our pets, could suddenly include controversial ingredients. For this reason, we encourage you to read labels every time you purchase a new pet grooming product. Check their safety on sites like and discard old products after 12-18 months of opening the bottle, unless instructed to do so sooner.

Many pet parents are concerned about toxins in veterinary medicines and preventatives like heartworm pills and flea and tick control. It’s hard to keep up with the latest reports on the dangers associated with these products because veterinarians still push them but online pet experts warn against them. To us, a monthly pill is worth the potential risk of toxin exposure if you live in an area where heartworm and/or tick-borne diseases are prevelent.

We personally prefer veterinarian-prescribed products over OTC products because they tend to be of the highest quality and receive the best testing. We recommend preventatives that are administered in the form of a treat over those that require a topical application. Topicals have more user error and lower compliance simply because they are messy, annoying for owners, and unpleasant for pets.

No matter what preventative approach you use, be sure that it’s specific to your pet’s species. You NEVER want to use dog products on cats or vise versa. Doing so can be fatal.

Toxin Reduction in Pet Food & Water

Small improvements in your pet’s daily exposures can go a long way. Start by filtering your pet’s drinking water, improving their diet, and using toxin-free, food-safe dish detergent to wash their bowls. Also, consider buying non-toxic laundry detergent for their bedding.

When it comes to your pet’s food, purchase the best food you can afford. Ask from where the meats are sourced. Learn about and avoid rendered meats. And, talk to a veterinary nutritionist about your options.

Commercial pet food is unfortunately full of subpar options. In order to help our pets live a long, healthy life, we need to put a lot of thought and effort into what we’re feeding them. The best resource we can offer is The Truth About Pet Food’s Annual List. You can purchase the list for a small donation and use it as a reference for what you can afford and what you can prioritize when shopping for your pet’s food.

Don’t forget to wash your pets’ food and water bowls daily. Harmful bacteria can quickly breed in a food or water bowl. if you use a water fountain, make sure you’re deep cleaning it as often as instructed, at least every 2 weeks.

Don’t forget to have your pets’ teeth checked annually and schedule dental procedures as needed. Avoiding toxins at home only to allow your pet’s mouth to become a war zone makes no sense.

At Shoreline Happy Paws, we take a holistic approach to pet care. We work with our clients to ensure that their pets’ needs are met while they are at work and traveling.

Shoreline Happy Paws offers professional in-home dog walking and pet sitting services in the following Connecticut Shoreline areas:

  • Old Saybrook
  • Essex, Ivoryton & Centerbrook
  • Deep River
  • Chester
  • Westbrook
  • Clinton
  • Old Lyme
  • East Lyme
  • Niantic

Certain Areas and Limited Service Hours in:

  • Lyme and Madison
  • Waterford, New London, Groton
  • Uncasville, Gales Ferry, Mystic, Noank

Specializing in cats, dogs, and small animals, we always put your pet’s safety and wellbeing first. Please contact us by phone or text at 860-964-0464 or via email at to learn more.

By Adriana Valle

Adriana is the owner and Chief Pet-Loving Officer at Shoreline Happy Paws. She has been a Professional Pet Sitter for over 10 years.

Related Articles

Pet Moms Are Moms Too

Pet Moms Are Moms Too

Today, we’re celebrating moms – moms to children, cat moms, dog moms, and more – because, at Shoreline Happy Paws, we believe pet moms are moms too!

read more

Get the latest updates for CT Pet Parents!