Once upon a time, my family bought my dad a mini potbelly pig for Christmas because he had always wanted one and we found an adorable little black potbelly piggy who was in need of a new home so we thought what the hell let’s do it! Our house has a lot of land for the pig to graze and roam and we had a lot of love to give so we adopted her. Her name was Bacon (Name credits to my dad not me). We originally had her pet set up in the corner of our living room because she was so tiny. Well, turns out there’s no such thing a teacup pig, so she grew to be rather large so we ended up having to move her bed to our basement in order for her to have more room to roam around when she had to be inside. The basement had to be cleaned regularly to ensure her area was not filthy and was an enjoyable area for her to be in. My mom would use bleach to clean the concrete because nothing else seemed to be cleaning it effectively enough. I started to notice that everytime once we would be done cleaning the pig’s living area and let her back in, she would start charging at people and running around frantically and simply acting strange. My family and I were so puzzled but we just attributed it to her having a lot of energy since she was young and her charging was probably to play. I started noticing her behavior more and more as we kept cleaning the room and I started thinking she was not being playful afterall, but that the cleaning products, specifically the bleach was making her go crazy. I was not sure how to explain why, but I just noticed when I was around the scent of bleach too long I actually started getting lightheaded and feeling weird myself so I thought maybe the bleach was having an affect on our little piggy as well. I told my mom to stop using the bleach and try something else, and she stopped acting weird after us cleaning her habitat. This whole thing had me thinking, okay so maybe the bleach is causing this, but why? How?
Turns out I am not crazy and that it actually was possible the bleach was the cause of her strange behavior. As stated in this article by Georgianna Lowery, bleach can severely affect animals and a lot of caring pet owners do not even realize it because it is a common household cleaning object. She states that it can cause animals to face a lot of side effects such as vomiting and in my opinion their strange behavior can probably be attributed to feeling ill. Most sites and articles I have found just simply say bleach is harmful to use to clean your animals things and that it can cause them to become very ill. It is possible that this hypothesis is simply due to chance or some confounding third variable such as other cleaning products being used, the type of animal, or how small the room is. There is not enough evidence to prove that bleach does indeed affect animals when you use it to clean but I think if there is any chance that is could be harming your animal it is best to just do away with using it completely and be aware of if bleach is contained in any other cleaning products you are using for your animals area or for your home in general. It is a simple thing to do in order to ensure your animals are safe and healthy.
If someone wanted to test this hypothesis that using bleach can cause harm for your animals even if they do not ingest it, one could take a group of animals and randomly allocated them into two separate groups. They could clean a habitat with bleach and place one group of animals in there and place the other group of animals in a normal room and study how they react or any health issues they begin to show. Obviously though that is extremely unethical and there is no way someone would volunteer their pet to undergo such tests because if it might be dangerous I personally would not want to put my pet at risk. I think for that reason not many, if any experiments will ever come into play regarding this issue, I think it is safe to say just to avoid using bleach to clean your pets areas just in case it is causing health issues.
On a happier note, enjoy these pictures of how cute she is.