According to the Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA), home use of pesticides rose 42% between 1998 and 2001. While our lawns may be more pest-free than ever before, the little ones who enjoy them are at even greater risk. That includes not just the kids playing out back, but our pets, too. After all, they’re the ones out there rolling around and chewing on the grass, and then licking their fur and paws.
PANNA and the film The Truth About Cats, Dogs and Lawn Chemicals offer these tips (and more!) for keeping your pets safe from pesticides.
Read the label. Before you purchase any kind of lawn treatment check out what it’s really made of and any warnings. If it tells you to avoid inhalation or contact with eyes or skin, that applies to your pets as well as you. Take the time to research ingredients to be sure you’re choosing something safe for your furry friends.
Use safe alternatives. Just like organic farmers have safe options to keep pests away from crops, we have options for our lawn care. And like organic farms, the first step in pest fighting is pest prevention. That includes maintaining healthy aerated soil, mowing your lawn high (to about 3 inches instead of 1), and not over or under-watering. Beyond Pesticides has lots of other great tips for maintaining a healthy lawn without chemicals.
Be aware of your town’s pesticide use. Your ability to limit your pet’s pesticide exposure isn’t out of your hands once you leave your own lawn. Be aware of your town’s policy on pesticide use in places like public parks. And if you don’t like it, take action and propose a change! Many towns now have ordinances that prevent town use of toxic pesticides on public land.
By taking measure to protect our pets from the harm of pesticides we also help our kids and our communities.
(And our puppy friends would like us to remind you that dogs also love Stonyfield organic yogurts made without the use of toxic persistent pesticides as a treat!)