The Whole Nine Yards: How to Keep Your Pet Safe Outside

Pets who roam around on recently treated lawns or in landscaping that’s just been sprayed can bring those chemicals back inside on their fur and their paws, which they often then lick clean. That means that, in addition to skin irritation, pesticides and herbicides can cause gastrointestinal upset. Some signs that your pet has ingested harmful lawn chemicals include vomiting and diarrhea.

Long-term exposure to herbicides and pesticides can damage your pet’s respiratory system and has been linked to lymphoma as well.

So, if you must use herbicides and pesticides, be careful when allowing your pet outside and make sure that the chemicals have fully dried before allowing your pets on treated surfaces. After your animal companions have spent time romping around the yard, clean their paws and fur.

When it comes to your pet’s safety, what you plant in your yard is just as important as what you spray it with. Common staples of suburban landscaping like lily of the valley, oleander, rhododendron, azalea, foxglove, yew, holly, crocus, tulip (the bulbs, in particular), and delphinium are all poisonous to pets and can cause varying levels of damage to their health. Particularly toxic to cats are lilies. It only takes eating a couple leaves or petals of a lily to send a cat into kidney failure.

And finally, a bit of buzz about bees. It’s worth noting that a perfect green lawn, as pretty as it might be, has nothing to offer a honeybee in search of food. Bees depend on diverse plants and flowers to survive, and we depend on bees to pollinate our food supply, so you might even consider letting your yard go a little wild for a change – your pets & the honeybees will thank you!

In the event your pet comes in contact with a toxic substance or encounters a bee sting, please give us a call at (703) 327-0909 to speak with one of our veterinarians. For emergency situations, please call Dulles South Animal Emergency & Referral Hospital at 703) 327-0871.