The Grass May Not Be As Green As It Seems…
These days, lawn and garden care products are increasingly popular, helping to preserve our lawns’ health and green sheen appearance. Many products do offer a variety of benefits to your lawn and your garden, but the chemicals responsible for these benefits are also responsible for a number of extreme health detriments, for both you andespecially your pet.
Your pet’s chances of acquiring both bladder cancer and lymphoma dramatically increase if your pet is exposed to certain lawn and garden products. The lawn and garden care chemical most notorious for being toxic is called 2, 4-D, and is almost surely in your weed killer product among others. Aside from 2, 4-D, you’ll want to avoid products with Carbary, Pronamide, Chlorothalonil, or Maneb, common pesticide components which seem to correlate closely with increased cancer risk.
Let’s put this hazard in perspective: lawns treated a handful of times per year with 2, 4-D (a common practice for many homeowners) can make frolicking dogs twice as likely to contract lymphoma. In 2001, more than half the cases reported to American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals poison control center were the result of pesticide exposure. Scottish Terriers in particular, have the risk of bladder cancer increased by four to seven fold in the presence of lawn and garden treatments with heribicidal chemicals, an unacceptably dangerous high percentage. It’s crucial to watch your own exposure to chemicals when considering lawn and garden care, but be especially mindful when protecting your oblivious pets.
Unfortunately, the companies behind these products are not obliged to detail all their specific ingredients; only the active ingredients. This is unsatisfactory for the concerned pet parent and health conscious person, because even the inactive ingredients possess carcinogenic chemicals. A leading veterinary researcher, Lawrence T. Glickman, VMD, Dr. PH, explains that, “These other ingredients are thought to be inert and, therefore, are not tested or even listed on the product label… But four billion pounds of these other untested chemicals reach our lawns and gardens every year, and we theorize they are triggering cancer in [dogs]…”
The products many people cast upon their grass, flowers and weeds are thus clearly harmful to humans and even more hazardous to our pets, considering how often your animals run through the lawn, face in the grass, and its paws inevitably stained with chemicals. Pets then lick their paws, and directly ingest the chemicals. Even when your pet just sets foot in the grass, the chemicals that rub off on its fur can be absorbed easily into its skin. And we know how irresistible it is for dogs to stop, drop and roll in the lawn. It happens every time!
This doesn’t mention their predilection for eating grass and other weeds, in the first place. Surely, a pet that captures a rodent via mouth in your treated lawn will be exposed to harmful chemicals. Humans fear not, our vitals are a relatively safe distance from the products we deploy on our greenery, and we all know the value of hand-washing by now, but for dogs it is much different. And they simply don’t know better, period.
Protecting your pet involves responsibly maintaining diverse environments within your control where it roams. Lawns and gardens are places our pets tend to frequent during the warmer seasons. It’s imperative we keep these realms clean and safe while maintaining a healthy outdoors for your dog to roam and play!
Use all-natural lawn and garden care products. For instance, rather than using a standard name-brand product which might likely contain harmful toxins, try deploying things like corn gluten meal, a natural weed killer which doubles as a fertilizer. For pest control, try diatomaceous earth and boric acid. Taking these steps alleviates concern, and increasing confidence when your dog runs around outside. Until you find these alternative products, be sure to give your dog a quick wash after being on the grass. Scrub his paws and give his coat a solid clean with a towel.
The most reliable method; eliminate herbicides, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and all other unnatural treatments from your life altogether. Not only will this build the firewall between your dog and despairing fates (like cancer), but will keep you healthy as well … win-win!
NOTE: If your dog hasbeen exposed to any of these harmful chemical products, be sure to contact the Animal Poison Control Center (ASPCA) at 888-426-4435. Also, let your veterinarian know, as incidents involving pesticides can and should be documented.