I was walking my dog, Truffles, the other day and was stunned to see one of my neighbors fertilizing his lawn while his dog followed right behind him.
Lawn chemicals are toxic:
it says right on the bottle,
“Dangerous for children and pets.”
If you are reading my blog then you know that I am a mom with a mission! I created Dr. Doormat, the first antimicrobial treated doormat, because I was greatly concerned about protecting children and allergy sufferers from the dangers of tracked-in debris including pesticides and other chemicals.
However, the threat is even greater for our dogs and cats who have much more direct exposure than we do to a range of dangerous chemicals. They nose around close to the ground, they roll around in the grass, often eat grass and plants and then lick their paws ingesting the chemicals. Moreover, dogs and cats don’t wear clothes or shoes and the chemicals are more easily absorbed into their fur and through their paw pads.
Dr. Jeffrey Philibert, a veterinary oncologist in Waltham, Massachusetts, agrees that exposure to pesticides poses a risk to dogs, cats and other pets. He said that while he was familiar with various studies linking pesticides to lymphoma in dogs, what really brought it home for him was a case in his office. “We had a client who had four, unrelated dogs, all of whom had contracted lymphoma. The client lived adjacent to a golf course. In a case like this it is likely that there is something in the environment causing this. We urged the client to test their water and sure enough they found high levels of herbicides.” Dr. Philibert cautions all his clients to be aware that what is in your environment can potentiate cancer.
“Be aware that what is in your environment can potentiate cancer in your pet.”
Dr. Jeffrey Philibert, veterinary oncologist, Waltham, MA
Here is how Beyond Pesticides, a group that advocates eliminating the use of pesticides, describes the risk to pets:
Numerous studies have documented the risk of pesticides to pets over the years. A 1991 National Cancer Institute study, finds that dogs whose owners’ lawns were treated with 2,4-D, four or more times per year, are twice as likely to contract canine malignant lymphoma than dogs whose owners do not use the herbicide. Exposure to herbicide-treated lawns and gardens increases the risk of bladder cancer by four to seven times in Scottish Terriers, according to a study by Purdue University veterinary researchers published in the April 15, 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Research published in the December 1988 issue of Preventive Veterinary Medicine links hyperthyroidism in cats to flea powders and sprays, lawn pesticides and canned cat food. Allethrin, a common ingredient in home mosquito products (coils, mats, oils and sprays) and other bug sprays, has been linked to liver problems in dogs, according to a 1989 study by the World Health Organization. The 1989 edition W.C. Campbell Toxicology textbook reports that chronic exposure to abamectin, an insecticide often used by homeowners on fire ants can affect the nervous system of dogs and cause symptoms such as pupil dilation, lethargy, and tremors. According to 2004 statistics compiled by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Animal Poison Control Center, 22% of approximately 880 cases of pet birds being exposed to common household items involved pesticides (including rat bait and insecticides….Read More
Dr. Philbert stresses that there are things within our control. He recommends using organic lawn care products, as well as organic cleaning products. Of course, we can’t control the products our neighbors use or how the grass is treated at the local park.
Here are some tips for protecting your pet from lawn chemicals:
- Use only natural lawn care products in your yard. Examples are using corn gluten meal as a natural weed killer and fertilizer, or diatomaceous earth and boric acid for pest control. Reducing exposure is the best way to prevent potential side effects.
- Be aware of ALL the environments in which your dog may be exposed to lawn chemicals. Even if you don’t use them in your yard, consider yards you pass when going on walks, the parks where you and your dog play, and other public areas that may be treated.
- Always wipe your dogs paws off after walks to remove any residue, and wipe down their fur as well if they have been out playing in treated grass.
- Walk your dog or cat across Dr. Doormat removing all debris from the paws – They don’t wear shoes and chemicals are absorbed through the paw pads. Also, it will prevent them from tracking the chemicals into your home where they pose a threat to the human members of your family especially toddlers crawling on the floor.
May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!