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Toxic to pets?

Species: Dog
Breed: chihuahua
Age: 1-2 years
I am going green and looking for a floor cleaning solution that is dog safe. I was the recipe below on the internet and wanted to know if the ingredients were safe. If you know of a recipe, please feel free to share it. Thanks.

Mix together
1 tbsp of Borax powder (find it in the laundry aisle of your supermarket)
3 tbsps of white vinegar
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon of Dr. Bronner`s Magic liquid soap
1 drop of peppermint essential oil
1 drop of lavender essential oil
1 drop of tea tree essential oil


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Well this is an interesting question!

Here is what I know about the ingredients that you listed:

Borax - if some was ingested it could cause some mild stomach upset. Large amounts of borax can be toxic to the kidneys but 1 tbsp dissolved in water is not going to be toxic.

White vinegar - On its own, vinegar can be mildly caustic meaning that it could cause some irritation in the mouth or intestines, but again, dissolved in water, this is safe.

Dr. Bronner's Magic liquid soap - The website lists the following ingredients: "Water, Saponified Organic Coconut*, Organic Palm* and Organic Olive* Oils (w/Retained Glycerin), Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Essential Oils**, Citric Acid, Vitamin E". Some essential oils can be quite caustic for dogs (see below). Some types of industrial glycerin used for making soaps can contain toxic substances (see this article for more info.)

peppermint essential oil - Small amounts are safe for pets but large amounts can cause intestinal upset.

lavender essential oil - Undiluted this can be fairly harmful to the intestinal tract and mouth. Again, diluted it is *probably* safe.

tea tree essential oil - If tea tree oil is ingested it can be very toxic to pets. If it comes in contact with the skin it can burn the skin. With that being said, 1 drop of it is likely to do any harm.

This is probably not a recipe that I would use in my house with pets. With that being said, most likely, once the product has dried it is probably perfectly safe.

I am definitely not an expert in cleaning solutions so I can't really recommend a green floor cleaning product for you. :) I do know that there are some commercial green products out there. If they are toxic to pets then they would likely say so on the label.

I hope that helps!

Dr. Marie


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.