Gardener’s Guide: how to Protect Pets from Lawn Chemicals

If you like to garden, then you can appreciate the swell of pride in every gardener’s chest at the sight of a weedless and perfectly manicured lawn; a garden bursting with ripe vegetables; and a flowerbed dotted with vibrant petals.

While this lovely scene is every gardener’s dream, it often comes at a cost. To achieve a yard void of pests and weeds, gardeners will often spray their plants and grasses with toxic chemicals. The use of these pesticides and herbicides, however, is not only bad for the environment; it is also toxic for our pets.

Studies Link Lawn Chemicals to Canine Cancer

According to a study conducted by Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, the use of pesticides can lead to canine malignant lymphoma (CML) in dogs who come into contact with grasses and plants sprayed with such chemicals. Additionally, researchers found that when these pesticides were applied professionally, the risk of developing CML was 70 percent higher.

A second study revealed that dogs exposed to herbicides containing 2,4-D had an increased risk of canine bladder cancer.

2,4-D is an herbicide that kills plants and weeds by affecting cell growth. This toxic chemical was first introduced to the United States in the ’40s as the infamous Agent Orange, which combined 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T to create an herbicide that burned the skin of those exposed to it.

Researchers found that dogs are exposed to these toxic chemicals through ingestion, inhalation, and skin contact. But even owners who don’t use these chemicals on their lawns or plants should be concerned, as half of the dogs sampled came from untreated households.

Therefore, chemicals can drift from nearby land that has been treated with herbicides and pesticides and poison your pet.

How to Protect Pets from Lawn Chemicals 

To limit your indoor pets’ exposure to lawn chemicals, researchers suggest homeowners remove their shoes before coming inside to prevent tracking chemicals into the household. If you have a dog or an outdoor cat, you should stay away from toxic herbicides and pesticides.

RoundUp is an herbicide that contains 2,4-D, so if you use this on your yard, stop.

Finding organic and eco-friendly lawn care solutions will keep both the environment and your pets safe.

For weeds, try these tips:

  • Laying down fabric and mulch (do not use cocoa mulch, as it is toxic to dogs), which smothers the weeds and keeps them from growing
  • Weeding by hand
  • Using boiling water (do not pour boiling water onto weeds near plants you wish to keep).

Pesticides are not only toxic to dogs; they also harm pollinators, which help your plants reproduce.  For unwanted pests, try these tips:

  • Research which insects and animals are these pests’ natural predators. If they will not harm your plants and pollinators or become an invasive species, try introducing them to your garden
  • Use coffee grounds as repellent
  • Use natural oils (such as castor, neem, and canola oil) as repellent.

Each of these methods, while a little more tedious, is safe for the environment and your pets.

You might now be wondering: if herbicides and pesticides are toxic to dogs, are fertilizers? 

Toxic Fertilizers

The simple answer is: yes.

There are, however, some fertilizers that are not toxic to wildlife.

Conventional fertilizers contain chemicals and salts that can make your dog ill or cause them to bloat, both of which require immediate medical attention.

In addition, organic fertilizers made of meal (such as bone, blood, feather, and fish meal) are both toxic and attractive to dogs, a lethal combination. To keep your pets from consuming toxic fertilizers, you should take two actions: switch to a natural, safe fertilizer and store your fertilizer smartly.

xVital, our natural fertilizer, contains no salts or chemicals. In fact, it contains only two ingredients: nitrogen and ionized water. Due to its liquid form, plants have an easier time absorbing our fertilizer, which means no runoff, no pollution.

By switching to xVital, you’ll keep your plants healthy, the environment clean, and your pets safe. In addition, our fertilizer comes in a bottle, which means little Scamp won’t be able to rip into it with his teeth. You can buy xVital at our online shop.

Because you can’t control what your neighbor uses on his or her lawn, you should always keep a close eye on your pet’s health. If your dog shows any of these symptoms, take them to the vet because they may have been poisoned by fertilizer:

  • Drooling
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Inflamed pancreas

Now you know how to protect your pets from lawn chemicals! Let’s all be smarter, safer gardeners. Switch to xVital today!



Studies Link Canine Cancers to Lawn Chemicals

2,4-D General Fact Sheet

Avoid These Dangers in Your Garden to Keep it Safe for Dogs