There are an estimated 74.1 million cats, and approximately 70 million dogs living in homes in the United States. People keep domesticated animals for a variety of reasons; protection, company, or simply because they are cute and lovable. Companion animals play an integral role in our society, not only as pets but as working animals too.
Most owners care a great deal about their pets and want to keep them safe and healthy. One of the risks facing pet owners is something that they may not even be aware of. Nearly 80 million households in the U.S. use home and garden pesticides. Surprisingly, cosmetic lawn pesticides are used at ten times the amount per acre by homeowners than in agriculture.
Like children, pets are more vulnerable to pesticide exposure. This is because of their smaller size, and behavior patterns including hunting, sniffing, and eating grass or other plants. Risks include acute poisoning, cancer and more.
What can pet owners do to reduce these risks? First, using a natural approach to lawn care is best. Use traps for rodents instead of poison baits. These can poison our pets through direct contact and by secondary exposures which also effect wild predators like hawks, foxes and owls too. Keep any pesticides, even organic ones out of areas your pet may frequent. Make sure to read labels and follow directions on any flea and tick prevention, and choose the least toxic option available.
The Truth About Cats, Dogs and Lawn Chemicals is a short film dedicated to this topic.