Anyone who has ever owned the pet knows about the anxieties of giving them new foods, as what is safe for human consumption is not necessarily safe for animals.

But food shouldn’t be the only thing we have to watch out for when we are taking care of our furry friends as some skincare ingredients can be as toxic as chocolate to them.

Think about it – we’re slathering products of all kinds on our skin every day, and our pets come bolting towards us wanting to rub themselves against our legs or try to lick our faces.

While we’re always concerned with whether these skincare ingredients will irritate our skin, perhaps it is time to look into common skincare ingredients that could be toxic for our pets.

1. Rogaine / Minoxidil

Pet Toxic Skincare Rogaine Minoxidil

If you know someone suffering from hair loss, they might be already familiar with the topical treatment drug minoxidil or also known as its brand name Rogaine.

Both cats and dogs are highly sensitive to this drug. It can lower their blood pressure and affect heart function, which can lead to death.

Cats, in particular, were found to have an increased risk of digesting minoxidil, as these animals are prone to licking the owner’s skin or pillowcase.

2. Lilies & other flowers

Pet Toxic Skincare Lillies

Lilies are extremely toxic to our furry felines as ingesting any part of it can cause complete kidney failure within 36 to 72 hours.

Other flowers that are toxic for our pets include daffodils, hyacinths, carnations, rhododendron, hydrangea, and foxglove.

Although flowers are common fragrance notes, the oil in perfume is not as toxic as the plant or pollen, but it is still best not to let your pet come in contact with your fragrance just to be safe.

3. Essential oils

Pet Toxic Skincare Essential Oils

If you have a diffuser running in your home with essential oils in it, you might need to stop that as soon as possible as many essential oils are straight up toxic to pets.

Some essential oils that are toxic to pets and are also common skincare ingredients include eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, citrus oil, ylang ylang oil, and peppermint oil.

These oils are toxic whether taken internally, applied to the skin, or simply inhaled and can cause liver damage, liver failure, respiratory failure, seizures, and even death.

4. Xylitol

A sugar alcohol that may be plant-derived or synthetic, it occurs in many fruits and vegetables and has a role in hydrating and strengthening the skin’s barrier.

However, xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs, as it can cause low blood sugar, seizures, live failure, and even death.

Lower doses of xylitol cause low blood sugar while higher doses cause liver failure, but it can be difficult to determine how much xylitol is in a product.

5. Salicylic acid

Pet Toxic Skincare Salicylic Acid

Also marketed as BHA, salicylic acid can lead to vomiting, diarrhoea, and even damage to the central nervous system in cats.

This is because it is closely related to the chemical acetylsalicylic acid or aspirin, which is toxic to cats in low dosages as it passes through very slowly through their system.

It can also be deadly to dogs, as large doses can soak through your dog’s stomach and intestines, damaging their sensitive lining and causing internal bleeding.

6. Sunscreen

Pet Toxic Skincare Sunscreen

Many sunscreens contain ingredients that are toxic to pets. Zinc oxide, found in mineral sunscreens, as well as salicylates, oxybenzone, and avobenzone in chemical sunscreens are some.

These ingredients can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and damage to the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, it is best not to let your dog or cat lick you after you apply your daily sunscreen.

And if you are choosing to slather on sunscreen on your pet, it is better to choose a product that is formulated specifically for animals.

7. Retinoids

Pet Toxic Skincare Retinoids

Retinoids are vitamin A compounds which can treat a long list of skin concerns like wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and acne.

However, birth defects can occur if your pet is pregnant and ingests retinoid products. Pets who are not pregnant can also experience stomach upset, vomiting, and other issues.

Dogs can also develop dry eye, where the animal doesn’t have enough tears to lubricate and nourish their eyes.

Featured image credit: Krista Mangulsone