Protect Your Pets: Pesticides

The summer months are a prime time for you and your pets to enjoy the outdoors. However, threats to your pets’ health might be present on your own property in the form of pesticides. Pesticides are found in sprays, mulch, and birdseeds and can cause significant harm to your pets.

Pesticides are linked to a slew of medical problems in dogs and cats, including cancers, nerve damage, seizures, aggression, liver damage, and death. Dogs and cats can become exposed to pesticides and are vulnerable to these ailments in a number of ways. When dogs and cats eat grass, they eat all of the toxic chemicals that coat the grass and the soil. They can also inhale harmful chemicals though their sensitive nasal glands.

Cats are particularly vulnerable to pesticides because of their grooming habits—they can ingest chemicals when they lick their paws after walking on mulch or grass treated with pesticides. Pets can also become exposed to pesticides indirectly when they eat other animals. For instance, when a cat eats a bird, it also ingests all of the chemicals the bird has been eating in birdseed. Additionally, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides can also be dangerous to pets.

To avoid these chemicals, beyondpesticides.org offers excellent weed and insect prevention tips and pesticide alternatives: to prevent weeds, mow grass to 3-3.5 inches high and use corn gluten, boiling water, or horticultural vinegar to kill or minimize weed growth. Always use native species of grass and other plants, which are less vulnerable to bugs and disease. Replace toxic “weed and feed” fertilizers with organic fertilizers or compost and leave grass clippings, which are a natural fertilizer, on your lawn after mowing. Also, if you put out birdseed, switch to an organic brand or make your own.

Bear in mind that dogs and outdoor cats may travel into neighboring lawns, so be sure to get the word out to your neighbors on the dangers of pesticides! 

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