Pesticides | Archives | Aggie Horticulture

1. Q. If I apply insecticide to my lawn, will it kill pets and wildlife?

A. It's rare, but possible, to kill animals with lawn chemicals. In reality, if you dilute and apply chemicals correctly, you won't cause a problem. Walking through a yard, the animal won't pick up much because of the footpads.

Birds are more frequently poisoned because they mistake chemical granules for seeds. Eating a grub killed by an insecticide won't cause a problem. Owners often expose their animals to chemicals with flea collars, flea dips and injections. But a lawn care chemical could push the animal over the limit.

Cats are more susceptible than dogs to chemicals because of their grooming habits and because the enzymes in the body don't handle insecticides as well as dogs.

Problems rarely occur from a normal lawn treatment. The only real problems happen with an incorrect dilution which causes run-off into puddles that the animal drinks from.

To avoid animal poisoning:

  • Never apply pesticides if pets are in the yard. Simply refuse.
  • Keep pets out of the yard until the application is dry.
  • Empty and turn over all feeding bowls, water dishes and bird baths.
  • Water in granules thoroughly.
  • Avoid the creation of run-off puddles.
  • Avoid application of insecticides formulations near bird feeders.

You can tell if a pet is poisoned by symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, tearing eyes, constricted pupils, salivation, difficult breathing and uncoordination. Symptoms must occur within 24 hours of a lawn treatment to be related. If a poisoning occurs:

  • Call a vet and/or poison control center. An injectable drug may be necessary.
  • If the vet is not available, and the pet was exposed through the skin, bathe the animal in soap and water immediately. Rinse thoroughly. Be sure to wear protective gloves and an apron.

If the animal ingested the toxin, give it water or milk mixed with one teaspoon to two tablespoons of three percent hydrogen peroxide. Dosage depends on the animal's size. Do not use this treatment in severely depressed animals. Do not use if ingestion is past two hours. You can also give a dog activated charcoal which can be bought over the counter. Always go by the children's dose on the bottle.

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