It may be nice to have one of the nicest lawns along the street, but it is up to you to decide if it is worth the health risks that are inherent when chemical herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, fertilizers and insecticides are used.
Many chemical lawn sprays are known to be very hazardous to animals and humans.
They absolutely should not be used without taking precautions if you have a puppy that romps on the grass you intend to treat. Stop and read the label before purchasing and applying those chemicals on your yard! Your puppy and children could be at risk.
The Environmental Protection Agency hosts a website that posts a lot of good information about lawn spray chemicals that are poisonous. Visit http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/safety/healthcare/handbook/handbook.htm for more helpful information.
Snail and slug baits are one example of lawn care products that are very hazardous to puppies. The bait contains arsenic and metaldehyde, two things your puppy should not ingest. The bait is attractive to dogs because it often contains molasses, which puppies find to be tasty. The bait can be purchased in several forms – pellets that look like dog food, powder and liquid. All forms are dangerous to puppies. In fact, puppies and adult dogs should not be allowed in areas where snail bait is being used.
An organic option to toxic bait products is to set out aluminum foil pie plates of beer. Slugs will come from all over the yard to get a taste. Intoxication ends up killing them.
Another organic option is to use strong coffee. This has a deadly affect on slugs.
When buying lawn care products (this also applies to garden products), read the label to check for compounds such as synthetic pyrethrins, organophosphates and carbamate pesticides. Avoid products that contain 2-4D, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride and chloroethane. These are no-nos if you have a puppy.
Organophosphates and pyrethrins are chemicals commonly found in insecticides and lawn and garden pesticides. These can be very hazardous to puppies, so it is vital that you read the product labels of all products that you plan to use on your yard. Some organophosphates were actually used as nerve agents during World War II.
Products such as DDT and chlordane are organochlorine insecticides. Although commonly used in the past, many are now banned from use due to health and environmental concerns.
Carbamate pesticides have a negative affect on the nervous system of animals.
Pyrethroid pesticides are synthetic versions of the natural pesticide, pyrethrin, which is found in chrysanthemums. The synthetic versions are known to be toxic to an animal’s nervous system.
Do not use cocoa mulch in flowerbeds or as a garden fertilizer. It contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs. Its smell makes it attractive to puppies, so avoid it at all costs. According to the ASPCA, 5.3 ounces of mulch can cause seizures in a 50-pound dog. Ingesting 9 ounces or more will most likely be fatal to a puppy.
Do not buy lawn care products made for commercial use. They are a stronger concentration and are too strong to be used in residential areas.
If you choose to use lawn care products that are known to be hazardous, always follow the directions. Never add more chemical than is recommended by the manufacturer.
Before applying lawn treatments, be sure to remove all of the puppy’s dishes from the area. Never allow a pet to walk around in treated areas for at least 24 hours after a chemical application. If your puppy does come in contact with grass that is still wet from the application of lawn care chemicals, immediately wash his or her paws with soap and water. Watch for signs of drooling, vomiting or staggering. Call a veterinarian immediately.
There are organic lawn treatment options, but don’t assume that every organic product is safe for puppies. Caution is advised and the best piece of advice is read the labels!
Canola oil is a safe method of controlling insects. It works as a repellant and it won’t hurt the puppy if ingested.
Another safe product is pyola, which contains canola oil and a natural pyrethrin.
If a fertilizer is needed, a good source if information is www.petfriendlyfertilizer.com.
When buying pet-safe lawn care items, be sure that veterinarians or the EPA certifies the product. Avoid products that contain inert ingredients because manufacturers do not have to list these chemicals. However, many are known to cause cancer.