Weed Killer and Pet Death

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Filed Under: General Health
Last Reviewed 03/22/2014

Weed Killer and Pet Death

Recently, I was dismayed by what I saw in my own neighborhood. There were signs up all over a large grassy public area, announcing that weed killer for lawns had just been applied. That was worrisome enough for me, but seeing people walking their dogs all over that same area downright frightened me. Then I realized that folks may not realize just how dangerous those weed killers for lawns are, so maybe I should be the one to spread the word about the possibility of pet death.

You see, years ago we lost our favorite family dog Biscuit—best buddy particularly to my youngest son, Drew—to cancer. And I was convinced our dear pet developed that cancer because she was running around our lawn after regularly scheduled seasonal applications of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. She frolicked.  She rolled on her back. Occasionally, she’d nibble the grass ingesting the weed killer for lawns. I wish I’d put two and two together back then. We all could have enjoyed our beloved Biscuit a few more years, instead of dealing with our beloved pet’s death.

Then, years later an acquaintance told my wife a tragic story about her four-pound Yorkie. The dog enjoyed the breeze sitting in front of her screened open bay window while her owner was at work. Then one day, the owner came home to the signs: Her condo association had sprayed the grass and plantings that day a with weed killer, one that wasn't pet friendly. Had she known it was coming, she could have closed that window. But she didn’t, and sadly the next day, her dog had died. 

Yes, pets can strengthen our hearts and enrich and lengthen our lives, but they depend on us to protect them.  It’s been a while since I shared information with you that I learned about just how much secondhand smoke can hurt our pets. I’m also sure that if you realized what lurks in those toxic grass applications, you’d avoid exposing your animal friends at all cost to avoid pet death.

How to Prevent Pet Death from Weed Killer

  • If you are out walking your canine, steer clear of any grass that has just been chemically treated with weed killer for lawns. I do the same with oil spills I notice on pavement. Sure, grounding to the earth is good for your pet, but make sure that ground is not toxic. 

  • If you do treat your lawn, call your service provider so you can know when they are coming and keep your windows closed and your pets indoors, and clear of inhaling anything.  Sidestep your lawn for a few days, and hope for some heavy rain to dilute and flush, or water it yourself. 

  • Consider switching to a natural lawn care service that uses a pet-friendly weed killer, with nontoxic and organic compounds to mineralize and feed the lawn. That’s what my wife and I did. It takes a while longer to build a strong turf with pet-friendly weed killer and my wife weeds out crab grass by hand, but it’s worth it.

  • Remember, animals lick their paws, so be mindful of what those little paws come into contact with, and wash them if you suspect they’ve been exposed to anything toxic. 

Finally, remember that whatever your pet walks through outside comes into your home on their paws, so protecting your pets also protects your family. Our Japanese friend Chizuko taught us to leave our own shoes at the door to protect our home from whatever we walked in. That’s good advice to prevent pet death. 

How about you: Do you use pet-friendly weed killer to protect your pet?

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