When you have dogs, especially if you are a multi dog household it is easy to become worried that your house has a certain ‘doggy smell’. You don’t notice it any more but it’s a worry that visitors might wrinkle their nose when you’re not looking. But, are the products you use to keep your house clean making your chihuahua itch?

Most of us reach for the air fresheners or scented candles to keep the house smelling sweet. Maybe you use textile fresheners on the furniture or carpets. Wooden floors are easy to mop and freshen up with disinfectants and fresh smelling floor wash.

The problem for our pets (and us) occurs because many household products contain VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds. VOCs are organic compounds that easily become vapours or gases at room temperature. Many of these compounds are toxic and have been linked to cancers in humans and animals. Small dogs like chihuahuas are particularly at risk because they are close to the ground where residue from these products will collect or be directed. Getting the ventilation and HVAC systems maintained regularly could be one way to decrease the VOC accumulation in the home; visit this website or similar service providers’ websites to schedule a quick servicing whenever you think that indoor ventilation needs to be improved.

Air Fresheners

Air fresheners can contain phthalates, which have been linked to hormone problems. Some also contain formaldehyde and benzene. This can irritate the mucus membrane in your dog, especially in the brachycephalic breeds like chihuahuas and pugs. I was training at a clients house the other day and she had one of these plug in air fresheners going. It was so strong it made my eyes water. If it was like this for me I can’t imagine how distressing it would be for a dog whose nose is super sensitive. They are also a massive fire hazard so I would give them a serve.

Try increasing the number of houseplants you have. These do really help keep the air clean. Some plants are better than others. NASA have put together a list of 9 houseplants that not only clean the air but can remove some of the man-made toxins like ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.

House plants can make a significant difference to indoor air pollution

Scented Candles

We all like a scented candle, they create an ambience and smell great to. But the majority of cheaper candles are made from paraffin wax and release a cloud of toxic substances that can be problematic to health for you and your chi. Causing irritation to airways and skin. It pays to make sure you get the best quality scented candles that are made from Beeswax or Soy. These don’t cause the same problems.

Spray on Textile Freshener.

When you see these advertised they show people spraying them on pet beds, and we have all seen the ads about becoming nose blind to smell. But these products can have over 100 different VOCs. When your dog lies either on a treated sofa or carpet these chemicals are getting on their belly skin, in their airways, eyes and paws.

Disinfectants & Floor Cleaner.

Cleaning hard floors with scented floor cleaner is so common we all do it without thinking. Adverts encourage us with photos of smiling babies eating dropped food. But like spray-on textile freshener our dogs are close to the ground and inhale the toxins and get them on their paws and skin. If you look on the back of most floor cleaners they will tell you not to let your dog or cat walk on the floor until the floor has dried. this is because it can make their paws burn and they may lick them and ingest chemicals. 

Try using a steam cleaner which cleans without any chemicals and is much quicker as it dries almost instantly. You can also use it to freshen up cushions and carpets.

Indoor House Paint

House hold paint can continue to gas-off VOCs for years after it has been applied. Obviously, it will be at its worst as it dries or cures. So, if you move into a freshly painted apartment and your chi starts itching and coughing this could be the reason.

The fumes from paints can cause all sorts of allergies, breathing problems’ and headaches. However, the good news is there are now a good selection of low VOC paints to choose from.