The evidence continues to mount that lawn pesticides are harmful to pets (as well as humans and wildlife). From weed killers to toxic insecticides, it all plays a role in making your dog sick. Dogs tend to be the pets that come into contact the most with harmful lawn pesticides, but other outdoor-loving pets are just as susceptible to negative health outcomes. Whether it’s a scientific study or an anecdote from a pet owner, all of the evidence tells us that lawn pesticides and pets shouldn’t mix. There’s a lot of information out there about the impacts of lawn pesticides on pets, so we’ve put it all together right here for you. Let’s dive into it!
Why Lawn Pesticides and Dogs Shouldn’t Mix
The evidence is clear — pesticides and pets aren’t a safe combination. Pesticides, including herbicides and insecticides, are scientifically proven to be harmful to pets’ health. Studies published in 2012 and 1991 found a significant link between lawn chemicals and cancer in dogs. In fact, dogs with malignant cancer were 70% more likely to be from
homes where owners used chemical insecticides. Both studies came to the conclusion that the use of conventional lawn care chemicals is likely to increase the risk of Canine malignant lymphoma.
A study published in 2013 showed that herbicides can be detected in a dog’s urine after lawn treatment, proving that the chemicals do in fact make their way into pets’ systems after they are used on the lawn. The appearance of these harmful chemicals in dogs’ urine explains why exposure to herbicide-treated lawns is known to be associated with higher bladder cancer risk in dogs.
If you have pets, it’s important to keep the toxicity of pesticides in mind when making a choice about lawn care. Pets are particularly susceptible to the harmful effects of lawn pesticides because they go onto the lawn multiple times a day to go to the bathroom. On top of that, most dogs spend hours laying, playing, and rolling on the lawn. Dogs are then directly exposed to the chemicals on the lawn, and can even ingest those chemicals by licking their skin or paws.
How Lawn Pesticides Get Indoors
Keep in mind that your pets are exposing you and your family to these toxic chemicals, as well. Even if you and your kids are staying off the lawn for days after it’s treated, your dog is likely bringing the pesticides into the house on its paws and fur. When you pet your dog, the chemicals are transferred to you. Similarly, if you sit or lay in an area where he has been, you are being exposed to the pesticides that were sprayed on your lawn.
Plus, lawn pesticides can easily disperse through your house even without a pet tracking them in. In fact, a 2001 study showed that even a week after lawn treatment, 2,4-D was detected on all indoor surfaces. The study also found that children were up to 10 times more likely to be exposed to this harmful pesticide in the week after treatment than they are the week before treatment. This shows that even if your pets and children are avoiding contact with your lawn after it’s treated with pesticides, you still could be exposed through chemical drift.
How to Keep Your Pet Safe from Lawn Pesticides
If you think you have no other option than to use pesticides on your lawn, the only thing you can do to keep your pet safe is to keep it off of your lawn for at least 48 hours after the lawn treatment. Some lawn care companies will tell you that you can let your pets back on your lawn 6-12 hours after it’s been treated. However, a 2013 study showed that lawn chemicals remain on sprayed surfaces for at least 48 hours after application. So, to be safe, you really shouldn’t allow dogs (or children) on a chemically-treated lawn for at least 3 days after it’s been sprayed. If you have dogs or kids, you know what a challenge that can be.
The best thing you can do to keep your pet safe from lawn pesticides is not to use them, and encourage your neighbors to do the same. It’s important to know that unsafe lawn chemicals are not your only option for achieving a green, lush and healthy lawn. You can avoid exposing your pets and family to pesticides altogether by using a 100% organic lawn care approach.
Organic Lawn Care Is The Only Truly Pet-Safe Choice
Unlike synthetic lawn treatments, organic treatments focus on the health of the soil. Healthy soil grows healthy plants. Healthy soil is encouraged with high-quality organic treatments that feed the soil. Unfortunately, not all organic lawn products are equal. Clean Air Lawn Care organic lawn products, for instance, are custom-created in-house to address common mineral, enzyme and microbiota deficiencies commonly found in the soil of grass lawns.
Feeding the soil real, organic ingredients like those found in our Clean Air Liquid Fertilizer and Clean Air Soil Builder results in a lush, green lawn that’s altogether healthier than a lawn treated with synthetic chemicals. Healthier lawns have fewer weeds, and therefore don’t require the use of harmful pesticides. A high-quality organic fertilizer like the one Clean Air Lawn Care businesses use will include ingredients that address deficiencies in primary soil nutrients like Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) as well as macro and micronutrients like Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Boron (B) and Iron (Fe), to name a few.
Of course, herbicides used to kill weeds are some of the worst culprits when it comes to health hazards. On top of organic fertilizers that make a healthier lawn with fewer weeds, organic weed control is an option! There are many non-selective, certified-organic weed controls out there. But in order to get selective weed control that is organic, you have to use a Clean Air Lawn Care treatment service. Unfortunately, at this point in time, there’s no other choice for organic, selective weed control on the market. We hope to encourage the use of all-organic lawn care by promoting this organic, selective weed control in the future.