“There are varying degrees of green, and there are a lot of mainstream brands now that have a green version. You have to do a little research to see what you like best,” said Golon, a pet blogger.
The “green” label on products can be misleading because it still can be dangerous, Jandrey added. “Some still have their own toxicities. In general, they probably are a little less toxic, but not free of toxic potential. They just have a need for a larger dose to cause the same kind of symptoms,” he said.
He cited antifreeze as an example. The pet-friendly version of antifreeze, propylene glycol, is “still an antifreeze product. It’s still intoxicating to patients, our dogs and cats. It’s just not as intoxicating as ethylene glycol.”
It takes more of the propylene glycol to be as deadly as the ethylene glycol, “but it is still intoxicating though it might say pet-friendly in the ads or on the bottle,” Jandrey said.
Labels can’t always account for every reaction, Jandrey said. “Each intoxicating product has different concentrations and each dog or cat, each species, has a different sensitivity to that product. So what might be intoxicating to a dog is really, really intoxicating to a cat because cats might be more sensitive,” he said.
Nancy Guberti, a New York City nutritionist and healthy lifestyle coach for the past 15 years, said some products will say green when they are not.
“Natural means nothing. The consumer has to be educated. It’s all about awareness,” she said.
Extra care also should be taken when cleaning around a pet’s area, such as its toys or bedding, the experts say. Don’t use fabric softener sheets that contain cationic detergents because they will give your pet — especially cats — stomach distress, DeClementi said, referring to a type of chemical soap that kills bacteria.