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Pet-Proofing Your Home: Laundry

The final stop in my pet-proofing series is the laundry room. The greatest potential danger in a laundry room is the clothes dryer. Kitties may be tempted to jump and nap on warm, fresh clothes either near or in the dryer. Some cats will even choose the empty dryer for a sleeping spot. This can quite obviously result in serious injuries if you turn the dryer on. To protect your cat's health and well-being, don't leave the dryer door open.

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Another risk in the laundry room is the fabric softener sheets. These dryer sheets contain synthetic chemical compounds that can irritate and burn your pet's skin as well as cause diarrhea and ulcers if ingested. Some detergents can produce a similar reaction, and cats can be particularly sensitive to certain ingredients such as phenols. Remember, if your animal comes into contact with a chemical on his paws or fur, he can then ingest it while grooming.

Just like with the other rooms in the pet-proofing series, ingestion of cleaning products is a serious risk. Also, products containing bleach can cause stomach upset and respiratory tract irritation when swallowed or inhaled in a high enough concentration. The laundry room also has other hidden dangers, such as spilled liquid detergents or stain removers that a pet may lick up.

I've just offered some basic safety tips for you. If you fear your pet has ingested something harmful, immediately check with the vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. The ASPCA Poison Control Hotline is available 24 hours a day at (888) 426-4435 – there is a $55 consultation fee for this service.


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