Probably the biggest bummer about being a dog owner is dealing with accidents. Nobody likes to encounter a warm, dark, wet circle on the carpet or fresh (or not-so-fresh) dog poop.
But cleaning up after your dog seems almost worse than dealing with the #1s and #2s. Carpet sprays—especially those formulated to counteract the stink of dog pee—can be so strongly scented as to give you coughing fits.
If it makes you cough, just imagine what it might be doing to your pup’s health, especially smaller breeds.
What we found after just a little research might also bum you out. Carpet sprays, including some of those that tout themselves as being “environmentally friendly,” can be quite toxic.
At Rover HQ, we have a lot of dogs in the office, and accidents happen. The carpet cleaner we had been relying on had so much fragrance in it that it made some of us cough. It even made some employees’ eyes tear up.
We were excited to try a more “natural” carpet cleaning spray that had a milder citrus scent. While this formula didn’t bother us as much, it was very disappointing to discover that the Environmental Working Group (EWG) gave the so-called “safer” product a rating of D on its safety scale.
That’s not quite flunking, but definitely too close for comfort.
The EWG’s ratings are based on a combination of factors:
1) the cleaner’s potential for triggering asthma or respiratory irritation
2) its potential for triggering skin allergies & irritation
3) reproductive toxicity (how dangerous it may be during pregnancy)
4) whether it contains ingredients suspected of or known to cause cancer and
5 ) its environmental impact.
Another more eco-friendly standby, Nature’s Miracle, scored a C on the EWG’s scale. One product geared toward dog owners, Aussan Dog Odor Eliminator, scored an A, though it’s not intended for carpet cleaning, but rather removing that smelly-dog smell.
None of the carpet cleaners tested by the EWG passed with flying colors. So what’s a dog owner to do?
Many Rover staffers and Rover sitters swear by the least expensive option out there–plain old baking soda. Several Rover staffers, including Priscilla, mom to Atlas, a pit bull puppy, say baking soda is the best option out there for use for cleaning your carpet and for neutralizing the smell of dog accidents–and it’s the most affordable, too.
While it’s more work to sweep and vacuum up baking soda after it’s done its job, it’s non-toxic and not likely to cause irritation to your or your dog’s respiratory system or skin. (If your dog is plagued by skin irritations and you can’t figure out the cause, your carpet cleaner could be what’s to blame.)
See the Environmental Working Group’s website for more information on finding less-toxic house cleaners and keep your pup and your family healthier.
For more tips on keeping your dog healthy, see our dog first-aid checklist.