Set the Record Straight!
Swiffer Wet Jet products are not harmful to pets. The American Society for the Prevention for Cruelty to Animals first came out to quash this rumor in a 2004 press release. Proctor & Gamble, the makers of all the Swiffer products, has also responded and assured concerned pet owners that their ingredients are safe to use in households with pets.
If Swiffer Wet Jet is safe, why have I heard that it's not?
The rumor that Swiffer Wet Jet products are harmful to pets was originally spread via emails forwarded by concerned pet owners about an otherwise healthy German Shepherd dying of liver failure. In 2004, it was claimed that the dog walked across wet floors that had been recently cleaned with Wet Jet products and then licked the cleaner off its paws.
The rumor states the dog died after ingesting just this small amount of cleaner; supposedly the dog was examined to determine the cause of death and it was confirmed that it had died of liver failure. The distraught pet owner began searching his house for possible culprits and allegedly found fine print on Swiffer Wet Jet products that stated, "may be harmful to small children and animals."
Alarmed by this statement, the dog's owner supposedly called the manufacturer and was told that the active ingredient in the cleaning solution was a "compound which is one molecule away from anitfreeze." The rumor further states that the bereaved pet owner's life was again touched by tragedy when his housekeeper's two cats died of liver failure; Swiffer Wet Jet was again blamed because the housekeeper also used the products to clean floors in her home as well. The owner also stated that he found an expired bottle of Gynectrol that he may have gotten into.
Snopes.com makes the excellent point that this story smacks of unsubstantiated rumor because there is no identifiable information about whom this mystery pet owner and his housekeeper in fact are. There is no way to verify that the animals died much less what killed them, or that they even existed at all. The original story simply says, "I recently had a neighbor who had to have their 5-year old German Shepherd dog put down due to liver failure," and gives no specifics about when or where the events occurred. This is reminiscent of schoolyard tales of some fantastical nature; no one claims that it was their dog that was killed, simply that they heard of someone else's dog falling victim.
Further examination of the rumor also uncovers direct falsehood. The supposed label warning is patently false. Snopes.com researched the labels on Wet Jet products and did find a warning label but it was substantially different, reading, "AVOID ACCIDENTS: KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN AND PETS." It is standard for cleaning chemicals to carry such a label simply reminding parents and pet owners to store products responsibly.
What do the experts say?
The good news is that no one needs to throw away Swiffer Wet Jet products in order to keep pets safe. The ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center has evaluated the ingredients in Swiffer's Wet Jet and determined that they are safe to use in a household with pets. The entry on their website for Swiffer Wet Jet specifically mentions the proliferation of the Internet rumor and how their specialists have examined the claims and found them to be false. They do caution that all household cleaning products should be used and stored according to their labels.
The rumor's claim that the active ingredient is akin to antifreeze has also been examined and found to be false. The active ingredients in Swiffer Wet Jet products are propylene glycol n-propyl/butyl ether and isopropyl alcohol and only comprise 4% or less of the cleaning solution. The ingredient in antifreeze that is harmful to pets is ethylene glycol. The two ingredients are not closely related. Do be sure to keep antifreeze away from children and pets.
There is no need to panic if these cleaners have been used around pets. So feel free to clean up all the messes they make. Experts agree that these products are safe and many consumers agree that Swiffer products are a convenient way to put the house back in order after muddy paws walk across the kitchen floor.
Liver Supplements for Cats and Dogs
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