The British Columbia SPCA advises residents to prevent pets from licking pesticide off their paws after walks this spring and summer.
Pets, like children, are at greater risk from pesticide exposure because they are closer to the ground. Worse, though, is the fact that animals can easily consume the chemicals used in products that kill weeds.
“If your dog or cat steps on grass that's been treated with pesticides, the next time he licks his paws he is ingesting poison," says Geoff Urton. “Or imagine a mother robin pulling a pesticide-covered worm from your lawn and feeding it to her newly-hatched offspring.”
It’s estimated that 25 per cent of B.C. households with a lawn or garden still use cosmetic pesticides. Until a pesticide ban is in place, take precautions to protect the animals in your care:
Pay attention to “keep off grass” and avoid areas where pesticides may have been used.
Wash and wipe your pet’s paws when they come in from outside.
Pay particular attention to between the pads where substances can become trapped in fur, and the undersides of claws, where chemicals can also become embedded.
Of the 30 most commonly used lawn-care pesticides, 19 are linked to cancer in humans, 15 are known for neurological toxicity and 27 are sensitizer/irritants, i.e., they exacerbate allergic reactions in individuals with weakened immune systems.
In addition to curtailing the use of pesticides in your home and lawn, it takes just a moment to wipe away lawn chemicals gathered on daily walks.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
More information about commonly used chemicals that negatively affect our pets, read Polluted Pets, an eye-popping study prepared by the Environmental Working Group.