While it’s common to see beautiful, manicured lawns in the Connecticut Shoreline, professional pet sitters, often see something different. Because we care for pets, we tend to see toxin exposure in pets from grass. We also see the risk these toxins represent to our pets’ health. Today, we’re digging deep (pun intended) into how to make grass more pet-friendly. And, we’re sharing tips on how to mitigate potential risks from hidden toxins such as pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, etc.
Breaking Down Hidden Toxins in Grass
Toxins in grass include pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, fungi, mold, bacteria, and chemicals from runoff, among other things. Many of these toxins are known carcinogens, endocrine disrupters, and environmental allergens. For our pets, who are so close to the ground, walking on, sniffing and, oftentimes, eating grass, these toxins present a more significant danger than they would, say, to adults wearing shoes and sitting in chairs outdoors. Like our pets, young children are more vulnerable to these toxins because they have too tend to have a greater interaction with grass.
Exposure to these toxins, even in small quantities, can affect our pets’ overall health and well-being. Exposure to high levels can lead to loss of consciousness and, potentially, death.
Pets with environmental allergies can suffer greatly. Allergen symptoms in pets include itchy skin, sneezing, runny nose, upper respiratory infections, compulsive licking, hot spots, and more. Long-term studies in companion animals are limited, but it’s safe to say that these toxins may accumulate in their bodies and shorten their lives as they have been shown to do for humans.
If you’re reading this thinking that artificial turf is a better choice, do your research. While it’s better for your water bill, it too comes with challenges.
Avoiding Toxin Exposure in Pets from Grass
Avoiding 100% of toxins 100% of the time is impossible. The best approach to toxin exposure for the whole family is to do our best to avoid toxins whenever possible.
To begin with, take a look at your yard and try to find ways to reduce your use of grass-related toxins like pesticides and herbicides. If you can’t stand weeds, consider pulling them or using a pet-safe weed killer in place of toxic commercial formulations. When it comes to pesticides, opt for essential oil based formulas that are created with pets in mind. Wondercide and Cedarcide both make a yard spray that works well, although it does require regular use to be effective.
When shopping for fertilizers, look at the ingredients and try to keep things as close to nature as possible. Making sure your lawn care products are safe for pets is becoming easier and easier now that major retailers such as Amazon and Lowes have products available that are considered pet-safe.
The most important thing when avoiding toxins from lawn care products is to avoid areas that are being treated or have been recently treated. If you live in an apartment or condo community, ensure that their contractors are posting signage before treating. If you have contractors that you manage, have them make a habit of knocking on your door before starting. The last thing you want is to walk your dog or cat into a section of grass that has just been treated or leave your pet in your yard as the treatment is sprayed. Most chemical treatments are considered “safe” after they dry, which is why techs who apply these treatments are usually wearing masks and other protective gear.
Mitigating Toxin Exposure in Pets from Grass
As pet parents, our job is to provide the best possible life to those in our care by mitigating toxins whenever and wherever we can.
The best way to mitigate toxin exposure in pets, whether it be from grass or other sources, is to feed our pets the best possible quality food. Because they eat this food daily, it’s important to invest in our pets’ food. When in doubt, purchase the highest quality food you can afford and check out Dog Food Advisor or the Truth About Pet Food’s annual list.
In addition, consider adding milk thistle to your pet’s diet. Milk thistle is a safe and well-tolerated herb that supports liver function in dogs and cats and helps pets recover from illness or toxicity. There are many pet-specific milk thistle products on the market. Adored Beast makes a formulation that is safe for both cats and dogs.
Finally, getting your pet groomed and washing their paws is a great way to wash toxic residues off. We recently discovered a TikTok-famous tool by DandyLion that conveniently washes paws. We love that it’s no-rinse, non-toxic, and has a reusable design.
At Shoreline Happy Paws, we stay on top of latest pet-related news and alerts. Follow our blog for more informative and helpful pet care tips. And, check out some of our most recent blogs if you’re interested in learning about other ways our pets are exposed to toxins in chews, toys, and beds too.
Shoreline Happy Paws offers professional in-home dog walking and pet sitting services in the following Connecticut Shoreline areas:
- Old Saybrook
- Essex, Ivoryton & Centerbrook
- Deep River
- Old Lyme
- East Lyme
Certain Areas and Limited Service Hours in:
- Lyme and Madison
- Waterford, New London, Groton
- Uncasville, Gales Ferry, Mystic, Noank