What You Should Know About Mothballs

What You Should Know About Mothballs

Camphor and naphthalene containing mothballs and flakes were banned in New Zealand in 2014, however they are still readily available to purchase in Australia. To be legally sold in Australia, they must be housed in a suitable enclosure which prevents the easy removal or ingestion of the contents. Unfortunately, some curious sharp toothed pets can readily destroy such packaging allowing them to ingest the poisonous contents. In addition to this, some mothball preparations available from online retailers may not be contained within safety packaging at all.

Camphor is particularly toxic and the ingestion of even a fraction of one mothball could result in the rapid onset of seizures in a small animal. Naphthalene is also toxic to pets; however the toxic effects are a result of damage to red blood cells. The damaged red blood cells cannot deliver oxygen where it is needed, and they may rupture. Symptoms include weakness, lack of appetite, pale gums, red urine, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes and in severe cases collapse and possibly death. Cats are particularly sensitive to the toxic effects of naphthalene.

To reduce the risk to your pet, try to avoid the use of camphor and naphthalene mothballs where possible. Some alternatives to prevent clothes moths include:

✅ Cleaning all clothes before storing them.

✅ Storing clothes that will not be used for the season in air tight containers.

✅ Opening up drawers and cupboards to natural light a few times a month.

✅ Using scented drawer liners/sachets made with lavender, rosemary or thyme scents to deter clothes moths.

✅ If you must use camphor or naphthalene mothballs in your home, ensure they are kept well out of reach of pets.

If your pet has been exposed to camphor or naphthalene, please phone the Animal Poisons Helpline on 1300 869 738 (AU) or 0800 869 738 (NZ) for advice. The Animal Poisons Helpline is a free service for all pet owners in Australia and New Zealand.

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The Animal Poisons Helpline is a registered animal charity and is the only free animal poisons centre in the world. To save a pet’s life this winter, please support the service today by donating at animalpoisons.com.au/supportus