8 Human products, to never use on pets

8 Human products, to never use on pets

There are so many things that us humans use that could harm our pets, thankfully most of us are well aware of the common ones such as chocolate, grapes, human medication, and xylitol. If any of those you haven’t heard of causing problems, it’s worth looking them up!

Sometimes pet owners may try and help their pets with human products, either to treat cuts and grazes or even to make their pet's breath smell better. This Pets4Homes article looks at 8 products that humans use, that shouldn’t be used on pets as it can cause them harm. At least two or three of these products can be found in any home in the UK.


TCP is a mild antiseptic used by many households to clean cuts, grazes and even to gargle with for sore throats. It has a very characteristic smell, in fact, TCP is known to some as Tom Cat Pee! Its proper name is trichlorophenylmethyliodosalicyl, which is why it is shortened! The main property in this antiseptic is phenol – something which is very poisonous to cats. This is worth knowing as if a cat gets into a fight ends up with a few scrapes, initially, it needs to be cleaned with just warm water (if salt is added only a teaspoon to a pint). Never should the wound be cleaned with TCP.


Detergents should always be kept away from pets, as the temptation for them to be ingested maybe too much (some pets will eat anything). Whilst this is the case for commonsense, sometimes when a pet has made themselves completely filthy – especially if they have a white coat, you may think a solution of washing powder may scrub them clean. However, this can cause serious skin problems, even burning them. If there is any residue left on the coat afterward, it may also be ingested whilst the animal is grooming. Please keep all detergents and pets well apart.

Human shampoo

We know sometimes that pets need a bath, especially if your dog has been out on a long walk and rolled in something nasty. Whilst baby shampoo, formulated for humans is very mild and even used by some breeders, the same cannot be said for adult shampoo.

If you are tempted to use a normal adult shampoo to bath your dog, please don’t. Some can contain chemicals which can cause skin irritation, skin burns, and even fur loss. Specialist shampoos for humans can even contain chemicals to lighten the hair, which can cause severe reactions. Always stick to a shampoo that has been specially prepared for pets.

Fabric softener sheets

You may think that fabric conditioner sheets would be harmless, however, they can be quite an issue for pets. These sheets live up to their name, they contain fabric softener which is a detergent. The detergents they contain can cause your pet to drool, vomit, and cause ulcers in the mouth and throat. They can also produce a higher temperature in your pet. Although these symptoms alone may not warrant a vet visit if an animal chews on a new conditioner sheet it may result in more severe ulcers.

These sheets are sometimes used by people to not only freshen up the washing but to be rubbed over their pet to pick up any loose fur. The advice is to use a brush instead.


Insecticides are often kept during the year to rid the house of annoying flies, wasps or ants. These have been made specifically for this purpose, so never use them on your pet. There have been instances in veterinary practices in the UK, where insecticides such as this have been used in place of flea treatments. The flea properly would die; however, the chances are you will make your pet extremely ill in the process.

Some insect repellents also are extremely dangerous and should not be used around pets. Some contain chemicals which can cause your animals to develop very severe neurological issues, such as fitting, shaking, and sadly even death. Always use products for parasite control that are made for your pets.

Essential oils

Essential oils are very common in the home of many UK households. They can be put in special burners to release fragrance into the air, into spritzer’s for spraying and some can also be applied directly onto skin after being mixed with a carrier oil.

Whilst these are very popular, certain animals are particularly sensitive towards them, especially cats. A cat can display stomach upsets, issues to their central nervous system including depression and if the cats has ingested enough, liver damage can also happen. Because of the range of essential oils available, and the varying level of toxicity in them, these keep them well away from all animals, especially cats.

Breath fresheners

Some pets can have the breath that will melt metal! What they need is probably a dental examination and treatment, however, it has been known for some pet owners to give their dogs breath fresheners, such as mints. Some of these breath fresheners contain menthol which is irritating to the dog's mouth and can cause gastrointestinal irritation.

Worryingly some of these even contain xylitol which can cause a sudden and severe drop in a dog’s blood sugar level, resulting in fitting, un-coordination and in severe cases can be fatal. If your dog's breath smells like a sewer, then please get advice from your own vet. Never give them fresh breath mints or products.

Petroleum jelly

Petroleum jelly (commonly known as Vaseline) is used in millions of households in the country in first-aid kits and as lip balms, it also has a few other uses. It can be used to soften skin and some pet owners may want to use it on their animal to soften pads or other areas. The problem with it is it can be licked off and ingested and although it’s not poisonous in itself, it has a laxative effect. It is best to keep this product away from your pets and if they have any skin problems, speak to your own vet for advice.

As you can see there are several human products that can affect animals you may not even think of. The general rule of thumb should be if it says safe for pets then it can be used, otherwise steer clear!



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