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Are Air Fresheners Toxic to Pets?

No one likes the smell of a stinky house – especially a stinky house caused by your pet! The natural reaction of most homeowners is to plug in or spray the air freshener to cover up those nasty odors.

Before you reach for the air fresheners, it’s important to know many can be very toxic to animals. One of the most prominent offenders included on the ingredient list for a number of air fresheners are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). VOCs are also found in paints, fossil fuels, benzene, formaldehyde and cigarette smoke.

VOCs can cause:

  • Nose, throat and eye irritation
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Loss of coordination
  • Damage to central nervous system, liver and kidney
  • Cancer

One of the latest “natural” alternatives to air fresheners today is essential oils. But, don’t be mistaken – essential oils are also defined as volatile and can be very toxic to animals.

Choose a Natural, Safe Alternative

Looking for an all-natural, pet friendly air freshener alternative? Try simmering spices, herbs, citrus peels and mints on your stovetop or in your crockpot. Create your own combination, or try one of these pleasant recipes posted by Modkat for yourself!

Holiday Delight

  • Peels from two apples
  • Six cinnamon sticks
  • Two tablespoons of whole cloves
  • One teaspoon of vanilla
  • One orange peel
  • ¼ cup of fresh or frozen cranberries

Rosemary Lemon

  • One sliced lemon
  • Several sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • One teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Two cups of water

Cinnamon Orange 

  • Two quartered oranges
  • Six cinnamon sticks
  • Two tablespoons of whole cloves
  • Two cups of water

Stop by Kansas City’s best pet store at our Brookside or Lee’s Summit location to discover more all-natural, pet safe products!

Pet Safety Tips this Halloween

Halloween is just a few short days away – which means pumpkins, candy, costumes and all things spooky! As exciting as Halloween in Kansas City can be, it’s also a time of caution for pet owners – black cat owners specifically.

Not only are black cats often associated with dark forces, but many end up missing on Halloween night due to pranks and other unspeakable reasons. Did you know the majority of shelters don’t even adopt out black cats during the entire month of October for their safety?


To ensure both your family and pets enjoy a fun and safe Halloween this year, please remember the following tips:

Keep Your Pet Safely Indoors

Animals can easily become anxious when children are constantly ringing your doorbell while wearing strange costumes and yelling, “Trick or treat!” Keep your pet in their own safe haven for the evening – a pet carrier or a closed room are a couple of options. Not only does keeping your pet in a safe place help calm nerves, but it also eliminates the risk of your pet running away with the constant opening and closing of the front door. As an additional precaution, always make sure your furry companions are wearing identification!

Save the Candy for The Humans

One of the biggest hazards to furry family members during Halloween is candy. Chocolate is especially toxic to both cats and dogs. Be aware of candy wrappers as well – ingesting wrappers can cause choking or even life-threatening bowel obstruction. Keep candy in secure containers in an area your animal companions cannot gain access to. If you have reason to believe your pet has ingested something toxic, contact the Pet Poison Helpline immediately!

Halloween Costumes 

Who doesn’t love an adorable pet dressed in an even more adorable Halloween costume?! As exciting as dressing your pet for the day can be, it is important to make sure your animal is safe. Use non-flammable and non-toxic items that your pet is comfortable in. Also, make sure the costume doesn’t restrict your animal’s movement, breathing or vision.

Choose Your Decorations Carefully

Decorations pose a threat to not only cats, but all animals. Keep your four-legged friends away from jack-o-lanterns, candles, balloons and any other decorations they could ingest, become tangled in or be injured by.


After the commotion of Halloween begins to die down and you’ve put all potentially hazardous items away, give your cat (or dog!) a belly rub for putting up with all the loud, strange humans that come out on Halloween! Moving forward, it is important to remember cats are safer living indoors. After all, knowing your beloved pet is safe and happy is the best treat you can give yourself this Halloween season!