In 2014, pesticides accounted for more than 32 percent of sales of lawn and garden supplies. As Americans strive for the perfect green lawn, they use a wide range of chemicals to achieve their goals. Unfortunately, this has a detrimental effect on the environment and the animals that live in it.
Animals are not limited to wildlife. In fact, many pets tend to get sick due to exposure to turf chemicals. Due to their regular exposure, pet owners also carry a number of chemicals with them on their clothes and shoes. Research has shown that once pesticides are applied outdoors on lawns, they often enter the interior and surfaces.
What is the risk of poisoning?
A study published in July 2013 examined urine samples from dogs from 25 households to determine if chemicals had entered their bodies after being used on the lawn. Following pesticide application, 19 of the 25 households surveyed were detected in the urine of dogs. It is worth noting, however, that 14 of the 25 households had chemicals in their urine before use.
“The safe use of chemicals used on lawns can vary widely,” said dr. Tina Wismer, director of the ASPCA Poisoning Center. “Some products, such as fertilizers, can only cause mild stomach upset, while others, such as insecticides, can be fatal.”
Insecticides are the most toxic
Wismer states that insecticides and snails are generally the most toxic to pets. Fortunately, safer alternatives such as pyrethrins have recently been developed. Insecticide developers are more aware that people have pets, and the labeling reflects that. The products we use today are much safer around pets than the ones we used 20 years ago. However, some experts believe that we should not only be dealing with insecticides – herbicides and fertilizers can be just as dangerous. Disulfoton, for example, is a pesticide commonly used to protect roses. Extremely toxic to animals, causing a wide range of symptoms from diarrhea to seizures.
What are the other alternatives?
The primary alternative is the use of natural fertilizers. It is non-toxic to animals and actually contains everything that is enough to keep the garden healthy and aesthetic enough. The other option is to use pesticides, which can be a problem for herbicides that remain on the leaves of plants, for example. This is especially true for those that need to dry, as they form a toxic coating. If you use one, it is very important to keep your animal away from plants.
To prevent poisoning, you need to be properly informed about what you are buying to protect your lawn and plants. In all cases, these products bear warning labels that indicate the special dangers lurking in the animals and draw attention to the appropriate precautions. It is very important to read these before each purchase and assess which products are the ones that are not dangerous to animals. If you are unable to find out about these, ask a specialist for help. The point is not to use chemicals in the garden that could be harmful to your dogs, and whatever the substance, safety is key to storage.