Are Treated Lawns Dangerous to Dogs?

by Lori Lapierre
    Dog owners must be cautious when using chemicals to treat a lawn.

    Dog owners must be cautious when using chemicals to treat a lawn.

    Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    Lawns treated with a variety of chemicals and fertilizers may be beautiful to behold, but can be a concern for dog owners. While some products are not toxic once they dry, or are considered nontoxic in small doses, it is beneficial to know what symptoms your pet may exhibit if he shows signs of poisoning. Always call your veterinarian if you think your dog has been exposed to something harmful.

    2,4d Dangers

    Usually mixed with other chemicals to form an herbicide, 2,4d can be an acid, salt or ester (a created chemical compound). It can be purchased in granules, liquid or a dust for use on lawns, as it kills broadleaf weeds but not grasses. Studies have shown dogs may be more sensitive than other pets to its toxicity. Contact can be made if the dog's paws or fur touch grass that is still wet, if it is inhaled or touches his eyes or if he licks newly treated grass. Symptoms of 2,4d poisoning include diarrhea or vomiting, loss of appetite, excessive drooling or lethargy. An exposed dog also may stagger or experience convulsions.

    Glyphosate Concerns

    Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide that kills anything, so it is typically not used over an entire lawn. However, it could be used to spot treat weeds within the yard or around flowerbeds. Eye and skin irritations may occur from contact, or he could wheeze and cough from inhaling newly sprayed glyphosate. Symptoms of poisoning appear within a half hour, and include vomiting, diarrhea and excessive salivation. Your dog could exhibit signs of convulsions, as well. Eye and skin irritations may occur from contact.

    Pesticide Worries

    If a lawn is treated with a pesticide, dogs can be poisoned by inhaling or ingesting the product. Lawn treatments for ticks, fleas, grubs and other insects use a variety of chemicals, all of which can cause toxicity. Symptoms are typical of poisoning; fever, vomiting, diarrhea, trembling, falling over and even seizures. Long-term exposure can cause weight loss.

    Fertilizer Surprises

    Commercial fertilizers contain a mixture of nitrogen, phosphorous and potash, along with a number of other minerals to improve the lawn that can be harmful in large doses. Additionally, some products contain herbicides or pesticides to work on the lawn in more than one way when applied. If your dog comes into contact with a fertilizer, he may have difficulty breathing, begin to vomit or have diarrhea or walk in an odd manner due to abdominal pain. His gums also may be a "muddy" color rather than their proper pink.

    Photo Credits

    • Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Lori Lapierre holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science in public relations/communications. For 17 years, she worked for a Fortune 500 company before purchasing a business and starting a family. She is a regular freelancer for "Living Light News," an award-winning national publication. Her past writing experience includes school news reporting, church drama, in-house business articles and a self-published mystery, "Duty Free Murder."

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