Posts Tagged ‘lawn chemicals’

A HEALTHY PET OR A GREEN LAWN?: Avoid Environmental toxins !

Do you want a green lawn or a healthy pet?    That is the question.    How important is it for you to have the most picturesque lawn in the neighborhood if by doing so you are actually jeopardizing the health of your pet and your family.     Consider the facts presented in the following paragraphs and then decide whether chemical pesticides and herbicides are something you still want to use on your lawn.   I am sure you will all agree that the yard and lawn should be a safe place for children, pets, and bare feet.

We and our pets  live in a highly toxic world.       But our pets are even more exposed to these toxins than we are because they live closer to the ground and explore the world with their nose and mouth. They are certainly more likely to inhale or consume environmental toxins that have been intentionally placed on the lawn where they play or on the lawn of their neighbors.    Pets eat grass, sniff the dirt, walk on the ground in bare feet, roll on the lawn,  lick their feet and coat, drink from puddles on the ground, and chase wet balls that are rolled across the grass while playing fetch.

If you place synthetic herbicides and pesticides on your grass you can be assured that you will be exposing both your family and pet to toxins that have been implicated as  causes  of cancer, birth defects, reproductive defects,  neurological  defects, as well as kidney and liver damage.   Furthermore, these toxins irritate the skin and can cause an immune system  imbalance.     Studies have shown that dogs exposed to herbicides have increased rates of lymphoma and bladder cancer.  It is a disturbing fact that the city of Grosse Point, MI, a very prosperous city where beautifully manicured green lawns are highly prized has the highest incidence of breast cancer in the United States.   It is a fact that American home owners use more pesticides per acre than farmers.

In my clinic I often see what I believe to be acute pesticide or herbicide toxicity.    Every year, especially in the spring, I see pets that are brought in because they started vomiting a few days after the application of pesticides or herbicides to the lawn of their caregiver or that of their neighbor.     The spraying of trees is certainly another associated risk factor that has been implicated in the sudden illness of pets.

Don’t make a serious mistake by believing what your commercial grass care company tells you “ that once herbicides and pesticides have dried on the lawn that they are no longer a threat to pets and people. “      Once these chemicals have dried they form a residue on the grass and plants that can irritate skin when touched or can rub off onto the coats of pets playing in the grass.   In very hot weather these dried chemicals can vaporize and be inhaled.    The chemicals may be consumed when the dog chews on the grass.    When the dog enters the house after walking on and rolling in the grass he/she brings these toxins into the house where the both adults and children are exposed when the dog is hugged or licks the caregiver.    If the pet gets up on your furniture or sleeps in your bed or that of your child  toxins are deposited there.    If he or she shakes,  the toxins are flung into the air to be breathed by everyone in the house.

Please be aware that pesticides and herbicides do not remain where they are placed.   They can drift on wind currents and enter our homes.   Or can be carried in to the house on our shoes or on our pet’s paws and coat.    They often runoff from our yards and enter the waterways that then pollute underground wells and surrounding lakes.

Unfortunately, despite 60 years of commercial availability there remain significant data gaps on the health and environmental effects of many herbicides.     Many more studies have been done on the effects of these chemicals on humans than on dogs and cats.  So in the case of these lawn chemicals we must use the humans as the guinea pig to determine the dangers  these chemicals may have on dogs and cats.    That is,  if we can use dogs as research animals in drug trials to determine their safety and side effects  in humans then we should certainly be able to use human studies on pesticide and herbicides dangers to determine their dangers for pets.

Please understand that you do not have to choose between a healthy pet and a beautiful yard.   It is relatively easy to grow and maintain a green, weed and pest free lawn without using toxic chemicals.  Here are some simple, safe tips for maintaining a beautiful, green, pesticide and herbicide free lawn.

Mow high ( 3 inches)

Don’t  mow the grass when wet

Leave the grass clipping in the lawn

Overseed bare areas with fescue

Top dress the lawn with organic fertilizer

Prevent weeds in your established lawn with corn-gluten meal.

Definitely avoid the following lawn chemicals:  2,4-d;  Carbaryl;    Malathion;  Imidocloprid;   Pendi Methalin;   Atrazine;  Mecoprop;   Dicamba

Finally,   we live in a very toxic world where the air, water and food we eat and  breathe contains dangerous disease causing agents.     We cannot escape all these toxins but we can do our best to limit our family and our pets’ exposure .     Consequently, the question you must answer is do you hold the beauty of your lawn more dear than the health of your family and your pet.    So learn everything you can about natural lawn care and have the best of both worlds.


Woodside Animal Clinic is a unique personal, one doctor practice where, for over 35 years, Dr. Simon has been healing dogs, cats, bird, rabbits, rodents, and reptiles with both conventional and alternative medicine.  Dr. Simon is the author of 4 pet health care boodks and regularly writes articles for Natural Awakening magazine.


Woodside Animal Clinic is a unique, very personal, one doctor practice where, for over 35 years, Dr. Simon has been healing dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, ferrets rodents, and reptiles with both conventional andalternative medicine. Dr. Simon is certified in Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Stem cell therapy. He is the author of 4 pet care books, a past president of the Oakland County Veterinary Medical Association and past board member of the  American Holistic Veterinary Association.   Visit us at

Woodside Animal Clinic sees pets from all over Michigan but primarily from the greater Detroit area including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Washtenaw counties. Cities in these counties including Royal Oak, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Detroit, Redford, Livonia, Hazel Park, Madison Heights, Warren, Centerline, Clawson, Troy, Sterling Heights, Southfield, Birmingham, Lathrup Village, Bingham Farms,  Franklin, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Novi, Northville,Wixom, Brighton, Livonia, Plymouth, Commerce, Ann Arbor, Ortonville, Clarkston, Waterford, Union Lake, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Utica, White Lake, Grosse Pointe, Romeo, Swartz Creek,  Shelby township, Washington,  Flint, Hartland, Lansing, Okemos, Howell, Brighton, White Lake, Romeo, Saline, South Lyon, Battle Creek, Saginaw, Windsor Canada, Toledo Ohio