Break out the sunglasses and sandals because spring is right around the corner! While the extra sunshine and warmth mean lots of fun outdoor activities for you and your pet, spring can also bring some hidden dangers with it as well.  This season (more than any other) is marked by lush green grass and perfectly manicured lawns.  And while that may seem like an ideal playground for both pets and humans, lurking beneath that picturesque scene are harmful substances that can wreak havoc on your pet. No, we’re not talking about environmental allergens (although those can be a springtime nuisance as well)…we’re talking about lawn chemicals!

Lawn chemicals, such as pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides, are in full force come spring. These products are used to protect plants and keep them healthy and beautiful. But using these chemicals to get a pristine lawn or garden doesn’t come without its drawbacks.  Pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides are all potential springtime hazards for your cat or dog. This is because these products generally contain substances that are toxic to pets.

Side effects from lawn chemicals can vary in severity depending upon the chemical your pet has come into contact with. Here are some common signs of chemical poisoning to watch out for in your pet:

  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Excessive urination

While your first instinct may be to wrap your pet in bubble wrap every time it leaves the house, the reality is your pet is susceptible to hazardous lawn chemicals whether outside or in. Your pet can be exposed to pesticides and other dangerous lawn chemicals in a variety of ways, not just by direct exposure with the outdoors. In fact, many pet owners unknowingly carry chemical residue into their homes since these lawn care substances tend to stick to clothes and shoes.

Not to worry! There are steps pet owners can take to ensure the safety of their pets and keep their lawns in tip-top shape.

Choose Your Lawn Products Carefully

While a majority of lawn care products pose a danger to pets, there are a few products that are pet friendly and made specifically with your pet’s health in mind. When choosing lawn care products, consider a pet friendly one instead, or use organic, natural alternatives that are generally safer for pets.

Remember to Rinse

After applying the chemical to your lawn or garden, be sure to rinse it with water afterwards to wash away any lingering chemicals. If the product is required to dry out, wait to enter the area until the chemical has dried completely and keep your pet away as well.  For extra precaution, wipe down your pet’s paws after any outdoor adventures and take off your shoes before entering your home. Chemicals love to cling to anything they can!

Consult a Veterinarian

If you’re unsure whether your lawn care product is safe for your pet or not, don’t hesitate to call us at Hillside Animal Hospital. Our trained team of animal caregivers will be able to advise you on chemicals to avoid and provide further prevention tips. Finally, if you suspect your pet may be suffering from chemical poisoning, we offer pet emergency services for those occasions when time is of the essence.