Pets and Yard Chemicals


Insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and many synthetic fertilizers on the market can be harmful to your pets.

All an animal has to do is walk through your yard and harmful chemicals from pesticides, herbicides and fungicides will adhere to their fur and gets between the toes. When your pet comes inside it will try to lick their feet and legs clean. This licking causes them to ingest many harmful chemicals.

Let us look at some of the chemicals:

Insecticides - Many insecticides work by interfering with an insect’s nervous system. Even though insecticides kill insects, they usually won’t kill your pets, but they can have a detrimental effect on their nervous system.

 The pesticide Dursban (also called chlorpyrifos), commonly used in indoor and lawn pest control, is now showing evidence of causing immune system disorders - Department of Health Science, California State University.

 The pesticide MCPA, used as an ingredient in some lawn pesticides, has been found to damage a part of the brain known as the blood brain barrier Annual Reviews in Public Health.

 The results of another study suggest that organophosphate, and carbamate pesticides, can produce behavioral manifestations following accidental exposure. The effects of the pesticides on activity support the hypothesis that these agents may affect the central nervous system. Dept. of Pharmacology, University of Mississippi. 

Pet Bladder Cancer Linked to Lawn Pesticide Applications. Journal of the American Veterinary Medicine Association, April 15, 2004.

 Even using organic pest control products can be very dangerous if handled wrong. It is best never to mix two different products together in that they can form deadly compounds.

Herbicides - Herbicides kill unwanted plants. 2, 4-D (used in Agent Orange during the Vietnam War) is a frequent ingredient and is believed to be associated with malignant lymphoma. Fungicides can affect the nervous system and cause digestive problems.

 An article published in Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis; found that an unidentified chemical in Roundup caused genetic damage in the livers and kidneys of animals.

 When dogs were given intravenous injections of glyphosate, POEA, or Roundup so that blood concentrations were approximately those found in humans who ingested glyphosate, glyphosate increased the ability of the heart muscle to contract. POEA reduced the output of the heart and the pressure in the arteries. Roundup caused cardiac depression. Caroline Cox / Journal of Pesticide Reform v.108, n.3 Fall98 rev.Oct00

 Deborah Cory-Slechta and colleagues at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry said that some herbicides (paraquat was one mentioned) showed clear signs of Parkinson's, a progressive and incurable brain illness.

 Latest study on Roundup:

Fungicides - Fungicides can affect the nervous system and cause digestive problems.

 Deborah Cory-Slechta and colleagues at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry said that some fungicides (maneb was one mentioned) showed clear signs of Parkinson's, a progressive and incurable brain illness.

Synthetic Fertilizers: Many synthetic fertilizers use materials as fillers that contain excessive amounts of heavy metals that can cause various type of cancer.

 Fertilizers are usually safer than pesticides when it comes to your animals. While fertilizers are without the dangerous chemical ingredients, they do have a lot of heavy metals such as iron, which can be dangerous for animals.

 Products like “weed and feed” are a combination of fertilizers and pesticides. This combination is a major danger to your animals because of the large number of dangerous chemicals this type of product contains. You need to carefully study the ingredients of anything you apply to your lawn to avoid hurting your pets.

 In one major test of synthetic fertilizers showed that of the twenty-nine tested fertilizers twenty-two contained toxic heavy metals. These metals are linked to either ecological or human health hazards. Most noticeable is the wide array of toxic metals that exist in fertilizer:

Inert Ingredients - While we know that the active ingredients in pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and synthetic fertilizer can do harm to humans and animals, we forget about the inert ingredients. Things like cadmium, toluene and hydrocarbons found in these products can be left off pesticide labels so some people do not know that they are even in the product. With synthetic fertilizer if you buy a 10-10-10 you know what 30% of what is in the package is, while the other 70% is not regulated and can in many cases is the cheapest thing they can buy to fill out the bag. Many of these “inert ingredients” have adverse health effects on both animals and humans.

The New York Times reported how a champion ice skater, Christina Locek, was sunning herself in her Illinois backyard when a lawn care company began spraying insecticides onto a neighbor’s yard. The article described how the spray drifted into Ms. Locek’s yard, across her and her cat and dog. The cat died within minutes. The dog died within a few hours. Ms. Locek collapsed and is now permanently disabled and no longer able to compete.

A Natural Yard

Pets really need a natural yard with no pesticides or other dangerous chemicals or metals. If you have to use these products, make sure you find one that is relatively safe for animals and make sure your pets do not go on the lawn for a few days after you treat it with any sort of chemical product. You want a nice lush green lawn but you also want healthy pets you need to become knowledgeable about the products you plan to use.

Synthetic fertilizers do not provide essential nutrients necessary for healthy lawn and turf grass growth. In fact, lawn chemical, including synthetic fertilizers, can kill soil biomass, deplete the soil and, as a result, inhibit healthy grass growth. Conversely, organic fertilizers stimulate soil biomass and promote healthy root and grass growth. Compost can improve soil porosity, drainage and aeration, reduce compaction and improve the water holding capacity of the soil thereby helping grass resist drought. One estimate indicates that a 5% increase in organic matter quadruples the soils ability to hold and store water. Humates are another way to increase soil health by their ability to soil, retain water and promote soil biology.

Organic Pest Control – There are many very good organic pest control products on the market these days that are safe to use if used alone. Mixing very natural chemicals together can create very harmful compounds.

Recommendation: We are a firm believer in a natural environment. Organic products can give you great yards that are totally safe for you pets, wildlife and children while protecting the environment. Changing to an ‘all organic environment’ is not easy in many cases, but when natures balance has been restored you will find your yard is better than ever with fewer problems with less water. Years of using synthetic fertilizers and other chemicals has most likely killed your beneficial soil biology to where it is almost non-existent. Do not expect instant results when converting. It takes time to get your soil healthy again.

Products: There are many very good organic fertilizers in dry, granular and liquid form.  If you use dry products be sure and keep them safe from your pets in that many of them are things they will try and eat. I use liquid organic fertilizers for the most part in the form of a fish hydrolysate by  Hydrolysate Co of America, LLC ( They use a mint extract in the fertilizer give it a better odor. For a Humate to use with the fertilizer I use, ‘A complete natural ancient humus’, called Turf and Garden Pro and by Turf Pro USA. It has the ability to quickly bind up many harmful chemicals and change them into a much less toxic compound. It also provides trace elements and beneficial soil biology to improve your soil. It also carries the USA EPA “Design for the Environment” seal and is verified 100% organic.

Animal Poison Control Center  --------

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