Herbicides are one of the widely used pesticides in the world and they usually contain chemicals such as glyphosate, 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, dicamba, triclopyr, and methyl chlorophenoxyacetic acid. These products are being used to control unwanted plants in parks, home lawns, golf courses and farms. Pet animals are at risk of exposure to harmful herbicides because of the chemicals’ widespread use. A study conducted at the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine reported that dogs exposed to professionally applied pesticides are at a 70% higher risk of developing canine malignant lymphoma (CML).
Although the herbicides used in the vicinity of your home could be beneficial, they have the potential to harm your pets if not used and stored in a proper manner. Often, cats and dogs are curious enough and they try to get into places where their owner cannot reach. They eat stuff that people would not and can ingest chemicals while grooming their fur and paw after they roll over or dig in the yard. Pets even get exposed to herbicides when they eat grass treated with the chemicals or while walking on recently treated lawns. Therefore, it is important to ensure the safety of your pets while applying any type of herbicide in your yard.
Signs and Symptoms of Herbicide Poisoning in Pets
Pets can easily be exposed to the herbicide called Roundup, that contains glyphosate as an active ingredient. Pets that have been exposed to high amounts of glyphosate develop symptoms such as weakness, salivation, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, drowsiness, and dilated pupils. These signs appear within about 30 minutes to 2 hours of ingestion of the chemical. However, the signs and symptoms of herbicide poisoning may vary and can be hard to detect in some pets. Severe respiratory distress may occur in cats exposed to glyphosate, which can be fatal.
What can you do to reduce the risk of your pets being exposed?
The pets should not be allowed into the treated areas until it dries out completely. It is always better to control weeds without using any chemicals. You may reduce your pet’s risk of herbicide exposure by following these methods of weed control:
- Provide water and fertilizers to your lawn properly.
- Adjust the height of your lawn mower a little higher as it decreases the weeds by removing out new weed sprouts.
- Plant different types of turf grasses as it will reduce the growth of some weeds.
- Pull out weeds by hand or with the help of a tool or use a natural herbicide that does not pose any risks.
How do you keep your pets safe?
Your pets need to be safe around herbicides, as these animals share your lives and home and do rely on you for protection. Read the label carefully before you buy any herbicide product. Here are the tips to be followed to keep your pets safe:
- Follow the instructions and precautions mentioned in the product label that contains information on how to use the product correctly and safely. Labels do contain first aid instructions and contact numbers for help in case of emergency.
- Store the herbicide product in containers with tight-fitting lids away from your pet’s food or water dish and in a place that is out of reach of pets.
- Keep the herbicide in its original container itself. Avoid storing it in food or beverage containers.
- Be watchful and avoid exposure to pets after having sprayed the herbicide: You need to keep pets away from the treated areas for 24 hours or until the area is dry. In case of a spill, keep your pet away from the areas until it is cleaned.
Most people believe that only humans can get poisoned after being exposed to herbicides. “Studies have shown that certain herbicides can be incredibly toxic to humans if they are exposed to them” says Gregory A. Cade, principal attorney at Environmental Litigation Group, a law firm that also handles toxic exposure cases. “Unfortunately, people who use these herbicides forget to think about their pets, thinking that only their family members are in danger. Our pets are part of our families, so we must ensure that they are taken care of and they do not come in contact with these toxic substances.”