While a green lawn is pretty to look at, you should think twice about how you go about achieving that lush, green look.   The pesticides we apply to our lawns and gardens are hazardous to our pets.  Pets can absorb pesticides through their paws or lick it off their bodies. In addition, pets can be exposed to pesticides when they eat grass.   Some of the chemicals found in herbicides are also easily tracked indoors on your shoes.  An EPA funded study in 2001 found that 2,4-D and dicamba (a chemical used in herbicides) are easily tracked indoors, contaminating the air and surfaces inside residences and exposing children and pets at levels ten times higher than pre-application levels.

This should be enough to make any pet owner think twice about using chemical fertilizers.  There are plenty of natural and organic alternatives to these chemicals that are not only safer for your pets, but also friendlier to the environment.

Insecticide and pesticide poisoning is always an emergency situation and requires immediate veterinary attention.  Symptoms of insecticide poisoning are:

• Excessive salivation
• Tearing of the eyes
• Excessive urination
• Muscle twitching
• Weakness
• Difficult breathing
• Collapse
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Abdominal pain
• Weakness
• Dizziness
• Unsteady gait

Repeated exposure to phenoxy herbicides (example: 2,4-D) may affect the liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract and skeletal muscles. Some pesticides contain chlorophenoxy acids and are poisonous to the blood, leading to anemia, neutropenia (low white blood cell count), thrombocytopenia (low platelet count), and feline distemper.

Don’t put your pets’ health at risk – look for natural alternatives to keep your lawn green and your yard weed-free.

3 Comments on Pets and Lawn Chemicals – Not a Good Combination

  1. My cat eats grass in our gated back yard and I don’t fertilize, but the lawn was installed only 3 months ago (Home Depot rolled sod) and who knows what was put on it before I got it. In the past week, my cat has virtually stopped eating and drinking; no other poisoning symptoms as described. Blood tests and xrays showed a pretty normal and healthy 18 year old cat, with some liver rounding, which the Vet didn’t feel was of concern. Still, he gets only a bite of food or water or a lick or two down before quitting. I’m sure Home Depot sod is locally grown (I live in SoCal) so it’s probably different everywhere, but has anyone had experiences like this with Home Depot sod? I’d really appreciate any insights.

  2. I don’t have a dog, either, Tammy, and Amber is an indoor cat, but I’m concerned about what I might drag in on my shoes. I always make sure I wipe the bottom of my shoes after walking across recently fertilized lawns, and I always take my shoes off right inside my front door. Since I don’t like wearing shoes around the house anyway, this works out well for everyone!

  3. I’m so glad for the information you post! We don’t have a dog (or cats that go outside) but it is good to know about this danger! It isn’t something I would have even thought about!

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