Planning Some Home Repairs? Learn How to Keep Your Pets Safe!

June 13, 2018

an orange tabby resting next to a box

Deck cleaner, caulk, spackle, floor adhesive, insulation and paint: What do these things have in common, and what do they have to do with your pet?

Not only are they all things that may be used around your home to make repairs; they are also all items that the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) has gotten calls about concerning pets. APCC wants you to feel confident that your pets are safe if your home is under any sort of construction, so here are a few things to keep top-of-mind. 


Decks, grills, siding on your house—there are many things around houses that may need some serious cleaning from time to time. Good old elbow grease will only go so far when attempting to combat the elements, so cleaners used for these purposes tend to be very strong. When undiluted, many of these cleaners can and will cause burns to your pets’ mouth, throat and stomach even with small ingestions. 

Caulk and Spackle

Let’s begin with the fact that dogs love the taste of spackle—it’s true! The good news is, in small amounts, the only concern with spackle ingestion is stomach upset.  

However, it is still best practice to use extreme caution and prevent your pet from getting into these items. Spackle often times contains a low concentration of the same ingredient in antifreeze (ethylene glycol), which can be very serious in some cases.

Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass insulation is another item that makes one scratch their head as to why a pet would want to eat it. However, they certainly will if given the opportunity. Though fiberglass insulation does not affect an animal’s organs, it could cause an obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract if they ate too much. Also, it’s irritating and uncomfortable when a pet is trying to pass it, leading to vomiting, diarrhea or stomach discomfort.  


Like caulk and spackle, if your pet ingests a small amount of paint it is not likely to cause serious harm.  But, also like spackle, paints typically contain a small amount of antifreeze (ethylene glycol), which could be very serious if your pet ingests a larger amount.  


“Adhesives” cover a wide range of products, but the key is that they all have the potential to be concerning. Problems that stem from a pet ingesting an adhesive product may range from stomach upset or aspiration, to irritation to the mouth with ingestion.  

Cats can be notorious for walking through the adhesives, which can cause irritation and even burns to the skin. Expanding glues have their own concerns. When ingested they will still expand and can cause an obstruction in your pet’s stomach, and the only way to remove this adhesive is through surgery.  

Whether you just need to fix something around your house, or you are aiming to be the next breakout home repair television star, keeping your pet out of any areas where you may be working until everything is cleaned up and dry is absolutely the best way to make sure your best friend stays happy and healthy year-round.  

If you suspect your pet has been exposed to any poisonous substances or ingested something dangerous, contact your veterinarian or call Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at 888-426-4435 immediately.