Pet owner washed dog paws with bleach to avoid COVID-19

If you use bleach to sanitize your dog’s paws after a walk, you should rethink this. Exposure to bleach through ingestion, breathing or touching is extremely toxic for dogs and can lead to severe burns or internal corrosion proving fatal to your best friend.

According to Pet Poison Helpline, it all depends on the type of bleach the pet is exposed. The majority of cases are regular household bleach, which is an irritant but not a corrosive agent. Some reported cases include severe lesions of the skin, down into the esophagus and into the stomach; all of these injuries could take months to heal.

Even non-chlorine bleach  (color-safe bleach) can be dangerous because it contains hydrogen peroxide. This may cause vomiting in addition to skin irritations. Hydrogen peroxide can be used to clean a dog’s wounds only once, and it is not to be used repeatedly.

“Some dog breeds like Pomeranians will turn their nose up at bleach after tasting it. Labradors, however, might down the entire bucket. Cats are more like Pomeranians but they could experience bleach poisoning if they walk on a bleach spill and lick their paws afterward,” stated Dr. Lynn Hovda, the director of veterinary services for the Pet Poison Helpline.

As to your dog’s paws after a walk and preventing the spread of COVID-19, veterinarians recommend using all natural grooming aids to wipe away dirt and to clean in between their toes. For a low cost cleaner, use a paper towel or washcloth, mix with a little dog shampoo and water and make sure to wipe off thoroughly. Any mud or debris, you may need to actually wash your dog’s feet – use the sink or a sprayer in the bathtub.

Remember a dog is very likely to lick their paws after they have been exposed to anything irritating, so make sure to clean the toes and pads very carefully and to fully rinse.

For dogs with long hair, it is recommended to keep the hair between the toes and pads trimmed by a professional groomer to prevent the accumulation of dirt. Make sure to always check your dog for cuts, abrasions and blisters. Even if an injury starts out as minor, it could quickly become infected if not cleaned and cared for properly.

Commercial products safe for your dog includes baby wipes IF they are labeled safe for pet. Feel free to upgrade to a warm, soapy washcloth.

For more information, always consult with your veterinarian.

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