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Weed Killers, Pesticides, and Dogs: What You Need to Know

Weed Killers, Pesticides, and Dogs: What You Need to Know

Collaborative Post by James Shore, Founder of and Lisa Tamayo, CEO of Scollar

Summer tends to be a time when lawn maintenance goes in overdrive. This may mean using weed killers and pesticides to help lawns look vibrant and lush. However, the chemicals used in these products are dangerously toxic to a dog's health. Good thing you don't have to compromise! Read on to learn some simple safety guidelines to help protect your pets this summer - without sacrificing your grass.

Two Beagle dogs with noses in the grass eating grass

What Does The Research Say?

Research done by University of North Carolina and Purdue University shows how much dogs' urine was concentrated with lawn chemicals. In a study to evaluate how pesticides and weed killers can increase the chances of bladder cancer in Scottish Terriers, 19 of 25 dogs' urine was concentrated with lawn chemicals after the lawn received treatment. These chemicals were also found in 4 out of 8 dogs' urine whose owners did not get their garden treated.

Pet Exposure And Possible Risks

After lawn chemicals are applied, it takes about 48 hours for them to be absorbed into the grass and soil. Your pets are breathing, walking, playing and eating in the treated grass. The treated lawn grass rubs their legs and bellies, the spots which they tend to lick. Pets that have their water bowls placed outdoors near or in the grass often spill it and drink it and, therefore, are exposed to toxic chemicals.

Another hazard: chemicals can get transferred from chemically treated lawns to untreated lawns through wind or run-off water. They then contaminate our pets that pass nearby or through the treated yard. And then from the pets, the chemicals get transferred to people or other pets. The risks of exposure are huge.

Golden retriever puppy in grass with head down

Exposure causes pets and people to become vulnerable to a range of diseases from bladder or thyroid cancers to diarrhea, dehydration, nausea, dermatitis, anorexia, breathing problems, hyperexcitability, depression, unconsciousness, and perhaps even death. And these are only a few of the health issues people and pets may face after exposure to chemicals.

Preventive Measures To Help Protect Your Pets

You can take following preventive measures to save your pets and family from exposure to yard chemicals:
  • Keep your pets away from treated lawns.
  • When you treat your lawn with chemicals, keep your pets and children away from the garden for about two days or until it has been completely absorbed.
  • Choose pet safe weed killers 
  • Always wash the pet's lower body (the belly and legs area), assuming it came in contact with the treated grass.
  • Place the pet's water bowl, food bowl, and toys away from the grass area.
  • Eliminate fleas at the same time to prevent other illnesses
  • Avoid products that have carcinogenic chemicals in them.
  • You can also increase the growth of grass by using a slow-release, organic fertilizer
white furry doggy in garden behind pots staring at the camera

Symptoms of Toxicity in DOGS

It's important to know and recognize the symptoms of toxicity that chemicals in pesticides and weed killers cause in dogs. After ingesting these toxic chemicals, the dog will immediately start vomiting, panting, shivering, and breathing heavily. Your dog may feel stomach discomfort and pain or may suffer from diarrhea.

Dog owners who believe in feeding raw food to their dogs may have an unexpected advantage. Due to a greater immunity built by less-processed raw foods, dogs can recover more easily from toxicity if you take them to the vet in time.

Young Asian girl holding husky puppy in a field of grass

Symptoms of Toxicity in CATS

Symptoms of ingesting weed killers are similar in cats. These include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, difficulty breathing, lethargy or weakness, loss of appetite, excessive thirst, blood in vomit, saliva or stools and pale gums.

In case of toxicity, take your pet to the nearest vet as soon as possible.And be sure to take the chemicals your pet might have been exposed to, as knowing the source of the toxicity will help with more effective treatment.



James is a part-time dog trainer and dog behavior consultant, and the man behind He is interested in finding out fun ways to handle dog behaviors, specifically, Labradors, to help dog owners enjoy their companions at all times.