If you have a four-legged member of your family, you know by now that the blankets that our pets use (especially cats and dogs) can start to stink over time because of the oils and grease in their skin and, of course, the toys, objects and items that they bring in from outside. Like the blankets that you use for your family, the sheets on your bed or the shirt on your back, pets’ blankets need a good washing from time to time. But, do you need a special detergent to wash your pet’s blanket? And if so, which is the best laundry detergent for this? What would be the adverse effects of using a harsh chemical-heavy detergent?
If you’re planning on cleaning your pet’s blankets, coats or any type of clothing, it’s important that you choose a gentle laundry detergent, preferably a fragrance-free or unscented detergent that is also dye-free or clear. Although these fragrances and perfumes can make blankets and bedding smell better, they can also cause a severe allergic reaction on your pet (and even on yourself!). Allergies to the chemicals in your laundry detergent could cause your dog to have itchy and irritated skin as well as encouraging chronic skin and ear infections. Moreover, certain chemicals in some laundry detergents can be toxic to your pet if your pet chews on their blankets. To stay away from this, it’s best to choose a safe laundry detergent or detergent pods (depending on your preference).
If you recently switched laundry detergents and are wondering if your dog has a skin reaction to the new formula, know that these reactions are often concentrated around the face, groin, under the front legs or between the toes. An allergic reaction to laundry detergent can be cause either by contact with laundered bedding, backpacks or dog clothing or even by contact with clothing worn by you. Some of the symptoms that you may see on your dog if it’s experiencing a skin reaction can be bald patches, blister-like lesions, chronic ear infections, face rubbing, head shaking, obsessive licking, paw biting or skin rashes. If you see any one or more of these symptoms after washing your dog’s blankets or clothes with a new detergent, even if it’s a safe eco-friendly laundry detergent, visit your dog’s veterinary right away.
Usually detergents for babies are safe to use on your pet’s fabrics, since these detergents are manufactured with a gentler formula and with less chemicals than regular mainstream detergents. Harsher, chemical laundry pods are not your best bet. These pods contain highly concentrated laundry detergent, that may remain on the fabric and affect your pet. Instead opt for a gentler, natural laundry pod option. Even though these pods are concentrated and formulated to deeply clean clothes, their natural, gentler formula means that they are safer for your pets.
Other than these natural options, you could opt for a special laundry detergent that is marked either pet-safe or a laundry detergent that is made specifically for pets. You could find these in your favorite pet store or, if you’re lucky, at your grocery store. Remember that if they’re dye-free and fragrance-free they are safer for your pet. Some people even prefer to make their own laundry detergents! However, whatever your preference on laundry detergent is, you should definitely talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s specific needs. Like humans, different dogs and cats can have different reactions to chemicals, soaps, and detergents. Since communicating with your four-legged friend is...difficult, it’s better to leave the healthcare of your friend in the hands of a professional.