Air Fresheners – In preventing our room from smelling of dogs, are we harming them?

Can bleach cleaning spray mixed with air-freshener harm our dogs?

An article in Science Daily, 2nd October 2019 reminds me of a ‘Paws’ I wrote a few years ago about the negative affects air fresheners of various kinds may have on our dogs.

Cleaning with bleach could create indoor air pollutants.

To quote Science Daily: For generations, people have used chlorine bleach to clean and disinfect their homes. However, researchers have now discovered that bleach fumes, in combination with light and a citrus compound found in many household products, can form airborne particles that might be harmful when inhaled by pets or people.

The Daily Mail sums it up:

  • Fumes from bleach cleaning products react with chemicals from air fresheners
  • When light hits them they create toxic secondary organic aerosols (SOAs)
  • Previous studies have shown these particles cause eye and airway irritation

What can this do to our dogs?

(I use white vinegar for much of my cleaning. It’s far more effective than bleach anyway).

To quote Dr.Michelle Schoffro Cook Before you spray Febreze or plug in a Glade Plug-In, light a scented candle, or use some so-called air freshening wick, mist, aerosol, or other car or room deodorizer, think twice. You’ll be shocked to learn their ingredients and the harmful effects they can cause. That “Cleansing Rain,” “Summer Breeze,” “Fresh Country,” “Cool Morning Air” or “Berry Burst” might be having disastrous effects on your health or the health of your family, including children and unborn fetuses.

Science Daily: When used indoors under certain conditions, many common household cleaners and air fresheners emit toxic pollutants at levels that may lead to health risks, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

If they can do this to people – what about our dogs? Plug-ins in particular are at nose height. Sometimes even seemingly miniscule amounts can have serious health consequences. Read more here.

Sara Jackson in writes, ‘When animals come into contact with synthetic perfumes, their bodies will begin reacting to them. Symptoms to watch out for are sneezing, and nasal and eye discharge. The liver can become toxic, affecting digestion, and immune and musculoskeletal symptoms can also emerge. Chronic disease may result, or the eventual development of cancer or organ failure. Itching is another sure sign of a reaction to the chemicals your companion has come in contact with’.

Dog owners are more likely than most to use air-fresheners so that their houses don’t smell ‘doggy’.

I myself go to many houses with air fresheners that make a hiss as perfume is sprayed at timed intervals – sometimes quite sudden and surprising (and there must be dogs who are alarmed by this) – I haven’t a story about that, so here is a story of a dog I went to that particularly liked to sniff, and why not? He’s a dog.

This is my main website:


About Theo Stewart

I am a dog Behaviourist C.C.B (Certified Canine Behaviourist) INTODogs). I have helped over 3000 dog owners over eighteen years. In addition to online consultations all over the world, I cover Beds, Herts, Cambs and Bucks for home visits. A 'Victoria Stilwell' Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT) and a full member of the IMDT. Graduate ISCP, International School for Canine Practitioners. My main site:
This entry was posted in PAWS for Thought, Science & Health and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Air Fresheners – In preventing our room from smelling of dogs, are we harming them?

  1. That’s scary stuff! I have to use natural products because my dog licks everything.


  2. Pingback: Cleanliness Next to Dogliness? | Paws for Thought

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