While any chemical can be potentially toxic depending on the circumstances of exposure, many household cleaners can be used safely when used per label directions. For example, products that contain bleach can be very effective in safely disinfecting certain household surfaces when used appropriately, but can cause upset stomach, drooling, vomiting or diarrhea (and even severe oral burns) if ingested in a high-enough concentration. Some detergents can produce similar signs in pets, and cats can be particularly sensitive to certain ingredients, such as phenols.
The key to using household cleaners safely in households with pets is to read and follow label directions for proper use and storage. For instance, if the label states, "Keep pets and children away from area until dry," those directions should be followed in order to avoid potential problems.
Whether an animal shows serious clinical effects depends on many factorsthe amount of product the animal was exposed to, the conditions under which the animal was exposed, the animal's species, age, weight, and overall health. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, it’s a good idea to contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 for help.