Are Dryer Sheets Toxic To Your Pet?

Sep 7, 2021 | Pet Health, Pets

Happy Wednesday everyone!!!  I recently received a question asking if dryer sheets are toxic to pets and I immediately said yes but wanted to do more research for all of you.  Are Dryer Sheets Toxic To Pets?  Yes they are and you should never wipe them down with one.  Years ago I would buy dryer sheets because I loved the smell of my laundry but when I adopted Bear from Hancock County Animal Shelter, I immediately stopped and threw them away.  That little stinker was in everything and I had to keep a constant eye on him.  He loved everything in my apartment and was so happy all of the time.  I knew I had to take precautions and put a lock on my cleaning supplies, laundry closet, and master bedroom door (because he loved to chew on my heels)!  I read about dryer sheets causing sickness and death to pets and it would kill me knowing Bear had gotten into something that I carelessly did not pay attention to.
I’ve researched several websites for information and have included links and bullet points to help break it all down.  The main thing to remember is that you wouldn’t want something toxic on your skin that would cause burning and you wouldn’t want to ingest something that would make you sick so why allow your pet around it.  The same goes for dryer sheets and the chemicals on the sheets causing skin irritation, burning mouth, vomiting, or surgery to remove it from your pet’s body is just a few health situations that could go wrong.

My sleepy boy 🙂

Dryer Sheets |

Dryer Sheets Are Toxic to Dogs and Cats
A dryer sheet works to disperse static cling by coating fabrics with chemicals transferred from the sheet by heat. These same chemicals that are in high concentrations on the dryer sheets can harm your pet; especially if they chew or ingest a sheet, even a used one. Formulas vary from product to product, but your favorite fabric softener or dryer sheet may contain benzyl acetate, camphor, or even chloroform.

None of this is good for pets. The Merck Veterinary Manual warns that cationic detergents, which are present in fabric softeners and dryer sheets, can cause a variety of problems for animals ranging from minor skin irritation to widespread systemic distress and pulmonary edema. Kidney failure is also one of the problems that can occur after ingestion of dryer sheet chemicals.

Dryer Sheets and Pet Dander
There is a well-meaning but dangerous tip on the internet about using dryer sheets to remove loose hair from cats or dogs and to reduce natural static when the humidity is low. But animals lick their fur and the areas on which they rest, so using dryer sheets to remove fur is dangerous. They are, however, good for removing pet hair from our clothes and upholstery. Look for sheets that use plant-based ingredients.

Jake checking up on me...

We spent most of Saturday and Sunday outside working on our house.  Jake always checks up on me to see where I am.

Dryer Sheets |

The science

A dryer sheet works to disperse static cling by coating fabrics with fabric softener, fragrances and cationic ingredients that reduce static in your clothing and help them feel soft and fresh and that are then transferred from the sheet by heat. Unfortunately, some of those ingredients are benzyl alcohol, camphor and even chloroform. These same chemicals that are in high concentrations on the dryer sheets can harm your pet; especially if they chew or ingest a sheet. Unused dryer sheets are definitely a greater threat since they still carry most of these chemicals, but even used ones are a problem.

To be more specific, many veterinary manuals warn that cationic detergents, which are present in both fabric softeners and dryer sheets, can cause a variety of problems for animals ranging from minor skin irritation to widespread systemic distress and pulmonary edema. Kidney failure is also one of the problems that can occur after ingestion of dryer sheet chemicals as are stomach and intestinal blockage.

My little helper...

Mr. TAL and I worked on fixing bad Hardy Board on our house and Maggie was right there helping us 🙂

Dryer Sheets |

If your dog happens to lick his coat after exposure to dryer sheets, he may experience symptoms of cationic distress. Signs include loss of appetite, excessive salivation and burning of the mouth. In especially severe circumstances, digestive tract ulcers may even be a possibility. 


Definitely dangerous to the canine species, dryer sheets are particularly harmful to felines. Cats are more vulnerable to the hazards of the chemical agents in fabric softener sheets; compounding the risk is the fact that they lick their fur more frequently than dogs due to their meticulous self-grooming routines. Be safe and smart. Keep dryer sheets out of reach of any pets in your household, period.

Other resources
Dryer Sheets |

I love hearing from all of you and do my best to respond to each and every one of you.  I always enjoy your comments, feedback, and suggestions so keep them coming!  If I’ve posted a recipe (for our human and our furry friends) and you try it, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @twoadorablelabs and use #twoadorablelabs​.

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  1. Carla D Evans

    Good to know! I stopped using dryer sheets long ago. I have a box of unscented just for a few pieces of clothing that get static. They started bothering my skin so can only imagine what they will do to my furry babies!!

    • Bobbi

      Glad this post helped you. I stopped buying dryer sheets when I adopted Bear. I was so afraid I would drop one and he would find it.


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