Animals roll in the grass and perhaps even eat the grass or other plants outside. By licking their paws and fur, pets ingest fertilizers, pesticides, ice melt products, and other chemicals of concern. Indoor pets may be affected by cleaning products and pollutants tracked in on the bottoms of our shoes. As with children, pets breathe more air and take in a greater amount of toxins than adult humans.

To keep your furry and feathered friends healthy:

  • Omit pesticides from your lawn care regimen. Studies show that dogs that live in household where 2,4-D or other phenoxy herbicides are used on the lawn have a two to three times greater risk of cancer (specifically malignant lymphoma and bladder cancer). The risks increase further when insecticides are also used.
  • Avoid dangerous pesticides in flea and tick control products. Regularly bathe and comb your pet, vacuum weekly, and wash pet bedding in hot water. Beneficial nematodes dispersed over the lawn will kill fleas, without harm to humans. If a flea control product is necessary, use pills, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council's report, Poison on Pets II; Toxic Chemicals in Flea and Tick Collars. Pills usually contain the least toxic chemicals and do not leave a residue on your pet or in your home. NRDC also recommends common and effective insect growth regulators such as lufenuron, spinosad, methoprene, or pyriproxyfen. Read the NRDC Report.
  • Use non-toxic cleaners and household products. According to the EPA, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted by cleaning supplies, air fresheners, dry-cleaned clothing, moth repellants, paint products, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, and more. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently up to ten times higher indoors than outdoors. Some VOCs are shown to cause cancer in animals. Be sure to ventilate whenever using products with VOCs. Make your own cleaners
  • Spread pet-safe ice melt products. Chloride salts, such as rock salt, can irritate paws and poison pets. Opt for brands containing calcium magnesium acetate or urea coated with a glycol mixture.

Published on February 2, 2017