Guest Post by James Shore, Founder of LabradorTrainingHQ.com
Summer tends to be a time when lawn maintenance goes in overdrive. This may mean using weed killers and pesticides to help lawns look vibrant and lush. However, the chemicals used in these products are dangerously toxic to a dog’s health. Good thing you don’t have to compromise! Read on to learn some simple safety guidelines to help protect your dog this summer—without sacrificing your grass.
What Does The Research Say?
Research done by University of North Carolina and Purdue University shows how much dogs’ urine was concentrated with lawn chemicals. In a study to evaluate how pesticides and weed killers can increase the chances of bladder cancer in Scottish Terriers, 19 of 25 dogs’ urine was concentrated with lawn chemicals after the lawn received treatment. These chemicals were also found in four out of 8 dogs’ urine whose owners did not get their garden treated.
Pet Exposure And Possible Risks
After lawn chemicals are applied, it takes about 48 hours for them to be absorbed into the grass and soil. Your pets are breathing, walking, playing and eating in the treated grass. The treated lawn grass rubs their legs and bellies, the spots which they tend to lick. Pets that have their water bowls placed outdoors near or in the grass often spill it and drink it and, therefore, are exposed to toxic chemicals.
Another hazard: chemicals can get transferred from chemically treated lawns to untreated lawns through wind or run-off water. They then contaminate our pets that pass nearby or through the treated yard. And then from the pets, the chemicals get transferred to people or other pets.
The risks of exposure are huge. Exposure causes pets and people to become vulnerable to a range of diseases from bladder or thyroid cancers to diarrhea, dehydration, nausea, dermatitis, anorexia, breathing problems, hyperexcitability, depression, unconsciousness, and perhaps even death. And these are only a few of the health issues people and pets may face after exposure to chemicals.
Preventive Measures To Help Protect Your Dog
You can take following preventive measures to save your dog and family from exposure to yard chemicals:
- Keep your pooch away from treated lawns.
- When you treat your lawn with chemicals, keep your pets and children away from the garden for about two days or until it has been completely absorbed.
- Always wash the pet’s lower body (the belly and legs area), assuming it came in contact with the treated grass.
- Place the dog’s water bowl, food bowl, and toys away from the grass area.
- Avoid products that have carcinogenic chemicals in them.
- You can use an alternative to lawn treatment: increase the growth of grass by using slow-release, organic fertilizer. You may look for other organic, chemical-free ways to treat your garden in summers.
Symptoms of Toxicity in Dogs
It’s important to know and recognize the symptoms of toxicity that chemicals in pesticides and weed killers cause in dogs. After ingesting these toxic chemicals, the dog will immediately start vomiting, panting, shivering, and breathing heavily. He may feel stomach discomfort and pain or may suffer from diarrhea.
Dog owners who believe in feeding raw food to their dogs may have an unexpected advantage. Due to a greater immunity built by less-processed raw foods, dogs can recover more easily from toxicity if you take them to the vet in time.
In case of toxicity, take your pet to the nearest vet as soon as possible. And be sure to take the chemicals your dog might have been exposed to, as knowing the source of the toxicity will help with more effective treatment.
James is a part-time dog trainer and dog behavior consultant, and the man behind LabradorTrainingHQ.com. He is interested in finding out fun ways to handle dog behaviors, specifically, Labradors, to help dog owners enjoy their companions at all times.