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  • Writer's pictureSecond Opinion Magazine

Lawn Chemicals & Canines

Lawn chemicals. To some, these words conjure up images of lush green lawns to lust over. To many of us those words conjure up images of sick pets and children.

We all know that lawn chemicals can cause more harm than good to both our environment AND our pets. One breed in particular has been studied more than many, looking at the damage that lawn chemicals can have. Scottish terriers are 16 times more likely to develop transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder, and research is suggesting that the exposure to herbicides and insecticides is having a dramatic influence on this increase.1

How and why do these chemical affect our dogs? As we all know, our dogs are all inherent hunters. Some of them hunt ants on the sidewalk, while others track moles under the earth in our yards. The routes in which these chemicals enter a dog’s body are ingestion, inhalation, and transdermal exposures. Our dogs walk through our neighbors’ lawns and come home to sit on the couch and lick their paws. They are intent on smelling where that rabbit hopped off to, and inhale deeply. And, even if you are not using these chemicals, it is well known that they can travel in the wind over 50 feet into your lawn. Wind speed is a warning on the application guidelines for herbicides, but this may be unknown to many who apply them.

Keep you dogs safe this spring/summer by avoiding lawns that have been treated and by being overly cautious about wiping off noses, paws, toes, and tails that have been possibly exposed with a damp towel.

Source: Glickman, L., Raghavan, M., Knapp, D., Bonney, P., and Dawson, M. “Herbicide Exposure and the Risk of Transitional Carcinonoma of the Urinary Bladder in Scottish Terriers.”  In Journal of the Veterinary Medical Association. April 15,2004, pp. 1,290–1,297.

Stats to Know:

  1. 90 million pounds are applied on lawns and gardens per year.

  2. Studies find that dogs exposed toherbicide-treated lawns and gardens can double their chance of developing canine lymphoma and may increase the risk of bladder cancer in certain breeds by four to seven times.

  3. Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides: 16 are toxic to birds, 24 are toxic to fish and aquatic oganisms, and 11 are deadly to bees.

  4. Pesticides can be toxic to wildlife and cause food source contamination, behavioral abnormalities that interfere with survival, and death.

  5. Lawn and garden pesticides are deadly to non-target species and can harm beneficial insects and soilmicroorganisms essential to a naturally healthy lawn.

See more statistics and references at

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