Is Boric Acid Safe for Pets? Why It's Not the Best Option

Published October 5, 2022
Boric acid

When used as a cleaning solvent and to control the spread of pests and fungi, boric acid is generally regarded as harmless. However, due to its toxicity when swallowed or inhaled, boric acid is not recommended for your pets. If you browse pet websites, you may frequently see boric acid listed as a recommended treatment for fleas and ticks. Don't be fooled; especially if it's synthetic, this chemical can be detrimental to your pet and may do more harm than good. It's relatively safe to use in the household environment to kill fleas and ticks as long as you clean it up completely, but do not apply it directly to your dog and do not allow your pets to consume it.

What Boric Acid is Used For

Boric acid is a chemical compound that can be used in a variety of ways. It is naturally occurring and is also produced synthetically. The most common use for boric acid is as an antiseptic and antibacterial agent. It can be found in products like mouthwashes and toothpaste, as well as insecticides. Boric acid is also used to treat eye infections or conjunctivitis.

Boric acid is an important part of many household cleaning supplies, including all-purpose cleaners, disinfectants, and mold killers. In addition to its use in consumer products and cleaning solutions, boric acid has many other uses. It can be used in the following circumstances:

Woman using alcohol spray to clean work table
  • Additive to make concrete stronger
  • Protect metal tools against rusting
  • Prevent mildew growth on surfaces such as wood floors
  • Help balance soil pH levels
  • Act as a pesticide against certain insects, including ants or termites
  • Keep silverware tarnish-free

Amount Safe for Pets

Boric acid poisoning in dogs can start to show at about .02 ounces per pound of body weight. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists boric acid as an insecticide that should not be used around animals or children under 6 years old because it may cause eye irritation or skin inflammation if they come into contact with it.

If your pet has ingested boric acid and is exhibiting these symptoms, contact your veterinarian or pet poison helpline immediately. Your veterinarian may induce vomiting and administer an antidote called sodium thiosulfate. Your veterinarian may also provide supportive care until the effects of the boric acid wear off.

Effects of Boric Acid on Pets

Although some may claim boric acid is safe for pets, the side effects suggest otherwise. If ingested or inhaled, your pet's lungs, heart, and liver can fail. If your pet experiences boric acid poisoning, the effects may include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or seizures.

Alternatives to Boric Acid

If you're looking into boric acid to help control your dog's fleas, as many others do, there are other options you can try.

Flea Comb

This is a simple tool that can be used to remove fleas from your pet's fur. You can buy one at any pet store or online, and they come in all shapes and sizes. You can use a regular comb if you don't have access to one specifically made for removing fleas. Just be sure it has fine teeth so you don't accidentally cause damage to your pet's skin when removing the pests.

Man brushing his cat with an anti fleas comb

Garlic

Garlic is the key to getting rid of fleas and ticks on your pets. Garlic contains sulfur compounds that act as an insecticide, which means it can be used to keep fleas away from your home. It also contains allicin, a compound that kills the parasites on contact. If you're looking for a natural way to repel fleas and ticks, garlic is the answer. All you need to do is rub some garlic on your pet's skin or coat, and it will keep them safe from fleas and ticks.

The best way to use garlic as an insecticide is by crushing it into powder form, then mixing it with water and applying it directly onto your pet's fur or skin. You can also add some crushed cloves into their food daily if they are not eating well because of allergies caused by parasites like fleas or ticks. Or, you can also make a spray out of garlic, which will help repel fleas and ticks when you spray it on your pet's bedding or around their house. It's also great for repelling mosquitoes.

Apple Cider Vinegar

This is a great way to help repel fleas from your pet. Just add 1 part apple cider vinegar to 1 part water in a spray bottle, and spray it on your dog or cat's fur before going outside. Be sure not to get it in their eyes or mouth. You should also avoid getting any on their paws, as this could irritate their skin.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are natural remedies that can help relieve the symptoms of flea bites and itching. While you should always consult with your vet before using any product on your dog, these essential oils are safe for dogs and can be used in conjunction with other treatments.

Lavender natural essential oil
  • Lavender oil: Lavender oil is one of the most versatile essential oils out there. It can be used on both humans and animals alike. It has antiseptic properties and is an excellent source of antioxidants and vitamins A and C.
  • Cedarwood oil: Cedarwood oil also has antifungal properties, but unlike lavender oil, it's not an antiseptic. This means that when using cedarwood oil on your dog with fleas, you should only use it externally-not internally!
  • Peppermint oil: Peppermint oil is best known for its cooling effects on the skin, which is why it's often used in ice packs. It also helps kill off any remaining fleas once applied topically.

Keep Pets Away from Boric Acid

If your pets are prone to getting into things they shouldn't, you should keep boric acid stored away in a place where they can't reach it, and certainly not anywhere near food or water bowls. If you ever suspect your pet has ingested this substance, contact your veterinarian or pet poison helpline immediately. Take note of how much you think was ingested and the approximate time. Boric acid can help control parasites in your home, but make sure to clean it up completely and never allow your pet to ingest it, and never apply it directly to pets' coats. There are safer options available.

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Is Boric Acid Safe for Pets? Why It's Not the Best Option