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Pet Health Articles
Your Dog and Lawn Pesticides
By Sally Klatt
Until recent years, a major problem facing canines and other animals has flown under the radar. This
is the use of pesticides. Pesticides are applied cosmetically – to keep the lawn free of weeds, to
make parks look nicer and to make everything look pretty and green. While pesticides are said to be
safe, the application, methods and contents have increasingly come under suspicion. This is
particularly true in Canada where entire cities and even provinces have banned the use of pesticides
for cosmetic purposes.
For canines, this move is a victory. Research indicates your dog, closer to the ground, licking pads
that touch the ground is more susceptible to the negative and toxic effects of pesticides.
What’s in a Lawn Pesticide?
The contents of lawn pesticides – the chemical and not natural variety, are chemicals that vary in
accordance with the type of pesticide your company or your neighbor’s company decides to apply.
Actual compositions often remain unknown as companies do not always inform the owners as to
what the products contain. They state they use 2,4-D or Roundup.
Common chemicals include the following:
* Abamectin (insecticide)
* Acephate (Fire Ants)
* Bifrenthrin (pesticide)
* Metaldehydre (slugs and snails)
The Dangers of Lawn Pesticides
While proponents of lawn pesticides argue they are safe if users follow instructions and dog owners
keep the dog inside, these measures do not conceal the evidence of harm from exposure – indirect
and direct, from lawn pesticides. Research since 1991 has noted the increasing incidence of dog
cancer in association with pesticides. The 1991 research found dogs whose owners sprayed their
lawns with 2-4-D experienced high rates of canine malignant lymphoma. The Purdue University Study
published in 2004 noted the high incidence of bladder cancer in Scottish Terriers. They found a co-
relation between the dog’s health problems and lawn pesticides.
Overall, dogs who come into contact with lawn pesticides may several health issues including
seizures. Moreover, pesticides may trigger seizures in dogs who already have epilepsy. Besides
seizures, dogs may become lethargic, develop glandular issues, suffer from liver and kidney problems
and exhibit other indications of toxicity. In many instances, the canine may die from exposure or over
exposure to lawn chemicals.
How Does This Happen?
Dogs are closer to the surface than humans are. They place their noses on the ground, in the grass
and into bushes and shrubs, plants and flowers. Dogs are very nosy. Moreover, canines walk with
unprotected feet. The pesticide and herbicide residue attaches itself to the paws. Dogs, as is their
nature, lick their paws. They also lick other parts of the body exposed to the toxic chemicals. As a
result, they ingest the poisonous materials.
Treatment is possible, but as so many dog owners have found, futile. After immediate or ongoing
exposure to pesticides, many dogs die. They suffer needless before hand before passing. A proactive
approach is best. Do not use any form of commercial and chemical pesticide or herbicide on your
lawn or garden. Make sure your neighbors are aware of your stance. This will, hopefully, prevent
their provider spraying onto your property.
Make sure the lawn company posts signs with the name of the product clearly indicated. This will
help in case of exposure. If an incident happens, hold the company responsible. If possible, lobby the
city council or appropriate body for a cosmetic pesticide ban.
To treat your own lawn, turn to animal and environmentally friendly products. Check online for these
alternatives. Talk to a garden store and other sources for possible information. If you do have to use
harsh chemicals, take all the necessary precautions. Spray according to the directions. Keep your pet
in a well-ventialted area away from the spraying. Wash the paws immediately upon coming back
The spraying of chemicals on the lawn is an accepted practice by many individuals. Yet, more
evidence is surfacing to question the safety of the use of chemicals. It seems they are harmful to
the water, the air, people and, even more so, pets. Increasingly, many individuals are turning to
natural solutions. In some Canadian provinces and cities, cosmetic pesticide use is banned.
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