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Thread: Borax and dogs...

  1. #1
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    Borax and dogs...

    I have had, and used borax in my house for sometime. Not only to kill bugs but to make that fun but smelly stuff called floam. I have a home made recipe for it and reading the article here about adding borates to a pool and its toxicity reminded me of a conversation me and several other people had about boraxs toxicity!

    Borax has a LD50 of about 3g/kg ORAL in rats. This number changes between companies that do the testing. I have seen it as low as 2.6g/kg. I know people react different to chemicals than rats do but most of our research stems from testing on lab rats. Now this number is for undiluted. So a ridiculously large rat of 1kg would have to consume 3 grams of borax to have eaten a lethal dose of it.

    Now the average MALE weighs about 86 kg! so that would be 258 grams of borax a human would have to eat to have consumed the LD50 of borax. Thats a hair over a half a pound of borax. Unless you have a filthy mouth I cant see why any one would intentionally eat it.

    Did you know that TABLE SALT has a LD50 that is COMPARABLE to that of BORAX? Yup, its just a couple hundred mg away from borax. Once again the numbers fluctuate according to who does the testing. We all know that too much of ANY thing can be bad for us.

    So if in my 1500 gallon I have a borate level of 40 ppm. According the the calc that is 46oz (weight) of borax. More than a half a pound. But in 1500 gallons of water that is only a 0.02% solution of borax! I have MORE salt in my pool (about 3300 ppm) than borax. The ocean has more salt than borates (if any) in it.

    Now the main debate about borax has been about dogs. I am no vet by any means but I am willing to bet that the concentration of borax in my pool is by far fatal. Animals react differently to different substances. Which is why vets have a hard time treating animals.

    Now this is by no means my way of trying to dispel the belief that the borax in pool water will kill a dog. It can! If he drinks the water continuously for days on end throughout the entire summer. Yeah it could. It would be like slowly poisoning them. But they would have to drink A LOT! Basically they would have to ONLY drink the pool water day after day after day. And even then it would probably leave the body well before the levels of borax in their system could get anywhere near toxic levels.

    To make my allready long story short. In my OPINION its harmless unless you get their drinking water from the pool! Yes they will drink some as they are in it. So will you. Its just as toxic as salt is! Do you take them to the beach with ya?

    Just wanted to make that point as I think its really important that you know all of the facts about the chemicals you put in your pool. Unfortunately this and salt are the only 2 I know about as far as pool chemicals are concerned!


  2. #2
    Senior Member AnnaK's Avatar
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    Re: Borax and dogs...

    My favorite dog's name is Pax. I've always felt a particular fondness for you since you joined the forum due to your username. However, I disagree with your post on so many levels that I can't even begin to count the ways.

    The LD50 is not the amount of material which kills a test subject. It's the amount which kills 50% of the subjects. Hence, in your example, only 1/2 of the rat died from drinking pool water containing borates.

    It's all well and good that the LD50 for salt is just slightly higher than that for borate. So what? It's SALT. You are comparing apples and rocks.

    The issue with dogs and borates in pool water is not one of a lethal dose. It has to do with how exposure to borates affects the animals ability to produce sperm and, ultimately semen. Please go and do some more reading. Google scholar is particularly helpful as is IVIS and medline.

    In the meantime, if you do add borates to your pool and if you have male pets and if you intend to breed them, it might be best if you limited their intake of pool water.
    — AnnaK —

    12,000 gal AGP, Hayward sand filter, Pentair 2-speed pump, timer.
    Please visit our Pool Issues pages for information about step weights, managing the solar cover, and PoolSkim.

  3. #3
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    Re: Borax and dogs...

    The danger of injesting borax is the very reason I don't use Borax in my pool. It is a major, huge drinking bowl for my dogs. They even lap at the water when they are swimming. I do use it in the spa but dogs don't have access to that.

    Every time I read about people using Borax in their pool I want to add the caution.

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  4. #4
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    Re: Borax and dogs...

    OMG I had this 3 page reply (not really but it felt that long typing on a blackberry cell phone!) about all that on my blackberry and I had hit the back button instead of the delete button! ****! Ok. Quick and short.

    Forgot about the 50%. Thanks. Just proves that its LESS toxic.

    Borax is made of Sodium, Oxygen, Boron and Water (thats what I read, Oxygen is in water! Sounds like a double negative maybe. Been a while since I had chemistry). So its more like comparing oranges with some other citrus fruit. The LD50 is how much of a particular substance it takes to kill off 50% of their test subjects. 3g/kg of either will kill off about 50% either way. Tell me that a male of 86kg will survive after eating a half a pound of salt! Lets say its nicotine! It has a LD50 of 40-60mg/kg. Lot more deadly than borax or salt. "So what its SALT" It takes a half of pound of salt just like borax. I could go through and list everything on the LD50 list that would do the same at that weight. It doesnt matter what it is. It takes THAT much. It doesnt matter WHAT it is, it matters HOW MUCH. Did you know that borax is present in small quantities in fruits. Not that most dogs eat fruits but I know of some people that feed their dogs regularly of veggies and fruits. (ok so not quick and short)

    Now I did not know it affects their sperm count and semen. But like I have stated its not toxic. And according to this page so-you-want-to-add-borates-to-your-pool-why-and-how-t4921.html, the issue is/was toxicity! I just wanted to help dispel the idea of it being toxic. It just has some nasty side effects. What doesnt now a days? Pay attention to those commercials you see for the new medicines on the market. The side effects are crazy. And sometimes worst than the disease they prevent!

    Now enough of the ranting. Is your dog Pax the one in your profile picture? What breed is he/she? Where did you get the name from? I got my name one day when I was registering on a forum with my original user name (which was taken) Orion Pax. That is the original name of Optimus Prime before he became a Prime in the Transformers Universe!

    Oh and a word of caution is always a good thing. But lets not blow it up worst than it really looks. Telling people there are some bad side effects of dogs drinking pool water with borates is one thing. Telling them its toxic is another! Mass hysteria in the making!

  5. #5
    Senior Member AnnaK's Avatar
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    Re: Borax and dogs...

    In real life the lethal median dose is pretty meaningless. Look up the LD50 for lead sulfate, for instance:1600 mg/kg. My dogs weigh approximately 35 kg. They'd have to ingest a HUGE amount of lead sulfate to be harmed. However, just a few micrograms of lead in a body will produce nasty effects. The point is, the LD50 does not necessarily equate to the toxicity of a compound.

    Chlorine is toxic. HCl is toxic. High fructose corn syrup is toxic. Heck, being alive is toxic—we all die eventually. Now there's a cheery thought for a lovely Saturday morning

    It is not possible to keep dogs from ingesting water when they're swimming. If you've ever watched a dog swim laps you'll notice that he very frequently filters water through his mouth. He'll take in a mouthful and let it run out far back past his flews, kind of like a whale filtering plankton. Dogs constantly test their environment by either sniffing or tasting it. He does not have to ingest the water to absorb the borax/boric acid/boron compounds. Dogs who jump or dive in to retrieve items do ingest a lot of water. It's inevitably linked to the retrieves. Those dogs who occasionally drink from the pool probably get the least exposure.

    I do not feel qualified to make a categorical statement about the toxicity of borax-containing pool water to dogs in the concentrations recommended for anti-microbial activity. It is my personal preference to not use it even though its efficacy in controlling algae and facilitating a lesser use of chlorine is pretty clear. My dogs are in the pool daily, swimming laps for exercise and doing some pretty wild diving and retrieving for fun and giggles. They do ingest a lot of water; I've chosen to not expose them to borax.

    I've attached a PDF containing some short quotes from a variety of sources about borax toxicity.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    — AnnaK —

    12,000 gal AGP, Hayward sand filter, Pentair 2-speed pump, timer.
    Please visit our Pool Issues pages for information about step weights, managing the solar cover, and PoolSkim.

  6. #6
    Senior Member AnnaK's Avatar
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    Re: Borax and dogs...

    Quote Originally Posted by Paxination

    Now enough of the ranting. Is your dog Pax the one in your profile picture? What breed is he/she? Where did you get the name from? I got my name one day when I was registering on a forum with my original user name (which was taken) Orion Pax. That is the original name of Optimus Prime before he became a Prime in the Transformers Universe!

    The dog in my avatar is Jake who just celebrated his 16th birthday! Jake's genetic background is somewhat checkered but his primary breeds are German shepherd x Rottie x something Northern x Lab.

    Pax is one of the shepherd dogs. His was the breeder's P-litter and so we need a name starting with P. I believe that names have an influence on our personality and Pax, meaning peace or blessings, felt right. As it turned out, Pax has been a blessing in our lives and he did grow into a calm, intelligent dog who is a pleasure to have around.

    Our other shepherd is Leo, the Little Lion. True to his name, Leo tends to be somewhat blustery and roars a lot
    — AnnaK —

    12,000 gal AGP, Hayward sand filter, Pentair 2-speed pump, timer.
    Please visit our Pool Issues pages for information about step weights, managing the solar cover, and PoolSkim.

  7. #7
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    Re: Borax and dogs...

    I wrote about the safety of borates in this thread. It isn't that dogs drinking pool water are at risk for dying. If a dog drinks a lot of water every day from the pool, then they could possibly exceed the dose where for male dogs first symptoms were shown which was reduced testicle size (after months of such drinking). So the risk is low, but for those who want to limit the risk to their dogs who can't seem to avoid drinking from the pool, it's important for dog owners to at least have the facts to make a rational informed decision. The same is true for young children who might gulp water, though those risks are even lower for a variety of reasons.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Borax and dogs...

    And thats the same point I was trying make. With the exception of the testicle size/sperm count parts as I did not know about them before.

    And AnnaK.....16th birthday! WOW. That is old for a dog. Unfortunately 4 months ago, a dog that I had acquired when my father passed away 2 years ago, died unexpectedly! He was 16 as well. He was an old family dog we had when I was in high school. I had the pleasure of caring for him the last 2 years of his life! I miss the old man! Now he sits in his urn on my table in the living room where he spent most of those 2 years. At any rate thanks for the info on borax.

  9. #9
    Senior Member AnnaK's Avatar
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    Re: Borax and dogs...

    I'm so sorry for your loss, Paxination. A dog you've had since high school and who came to live with you after your dad died, that's a lot of history. His passing surely left a big hole in your heart.
    — AnnaK —

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    Please visit our Pool Issues pages for information about step weights, managing the solar cover, and PoolSkim.

  10. #10
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    Re: Borax and dogs...

    You don't even know the half of it! Counting my pets, I have buried 8 family members in 2 years! In order - Niece, dad, uncle, grand dad, cat, chihuahua,mom, and the old man!

    The niece was a still born! Dad and my uncle we brothers! Died 1 day apart! Granddad died a month later (maternal, grandmother still alive)! My orange tabby Kilo had lukemia (sp?) Had him put to sleep! First time I had to do that! He was my best friend! Then my wifes chihuahua died from complications of head trauma! He had a molera that did not close up correctly! We knew he had it and its common for chi's to get them! We were told they can still live a full normal life! Mom died 13 months to dads death, and 1 month after me and her had a big arguement! Never got to tell her I was sorry and I loved her! Then zero, my dads family dog died in february! Probably the most important thing my father left me!

    Its been a rough 2 years! They say deaths happen in 3's! So far that's 8! We have 1 more to come! (- hope not!)

    At any rate sorry for the *** story!

  11. #11
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    Re: Borax and dogs...

    That 3 letter starred out word was suppose to be S and then an O and then a B! But I can see why its censored out!

  12. #12
    Senior Member AnnaK's Avatar
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    Re: Borax and dogs...

    That is a whole lot of trauma you've had to deal with.

    Know one thing: your mom knew you love her and that you were sorry about the argument. She was, too. It's just that life sometimes interferes and we don't get around to saying or doing the things we later wish we had said or done. That makes them no less real, no less important, no less known.
    — AnnaK —

    12,000 gal AGP, Hayward sand filter, Pentair 2-speed pump, timer.
    Please visit our Pool Issues pages for information about step weights, managing the solar cover, and PoolSkim.

  13. #13
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    Re: Borax and dogs...

    Thanks! That does make me feel better knowing that!

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