As dog walkers in Milwaukee, Kenosha, Racine and Brookfield, we are seeing a lot of these warming flags popping up all over. Note-please heed their warnings-THEY ARE DANGEROUS FOR YOUR DOGS.

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Common lawn care products contain chemicals that are harmful to cats and dogs.  Care should be taken to limit exposure.  Reasons why lawn pesticides are toxic to pets include:


1.  Long-lasting activity and chemical drift


Lawn pesticides are formulated for long-lasting activity and many chemicals will remain active for extended periods lasting for months to over a year.  Pets may be allowed onto previously treated lawns with owners unaware of lingering toxicities.


Another concern is chemical drift.  Wind can cause chemicals on treated lawns to travel up to 50 feet away from the original application site.  Most people are not aware of industry standards concerning application with regard to wind speed and do not follow the proper precautions.  Homeowners who use lawn pesticides may be affecting other areas in their neighborhood unintentionally.  Pets are at risk of inhaling toxic pesticides as they travel through the air.


2.  Increased risk of exposure


Pets are at an increased risk of exposure to lawn pesticides for several reasons.  Animals do not wear any protective clothing or shoes, therefore they are more likely to absorb lawn pesticides through their feet and skin.  Cats and dogs don’t simply walk across the grass, they also spend a lot of time rolling around, digging, and laying on it.  This gives them more opportunity to inhale and absorb the toxins.  Cats and dogs will also nibble on grass while they are outside, putting them at risk of pesticide ingestion.


After rolling around outside, pets carry residue on their coats and paws inside the home.  Residual pesticide dust falls onto the carpet and areas where pets rest.  Lawn pesticides break down quicker when they are exposed to water and sunlight, so can linger inside for extended periods.  Due to build up, indoor concentrations of pesticides can be even higher than outside concentrations.


3.  Long term effects


Although there hasn’t been too much research about the long term effects of lawn pesticides, they have been linked to the development of bladder cancer and malignant lymphoma in dogs.


Immediate effects of pesticide toxicity includes symptoms such as skin rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, dilated pupils, lack of coordination, and respiratory difficulty.  Longer term effects can be measured in pets through lingering pesticide concentrations in urine and a higher incidence of certain health conditions.


Precautions should be taken to limit lawn pesticide exposure in pets.  Where possible, use natural lawn treatment products and wipe down animal coats and paw pads after being outdoors.