Spring is here once again–that time of year when at least one smiling, well-spoken young man will come to your door, glance disapprovingly around your yard, and offer you lawn services.
You’ll ask whether the chemicals they use are safe for your beloved furkid, and he’ll say, “Absolutely.”
You might be tempted to think about his offer. You’d love to have a lush lawn. And companies can’t say their products are safe if they aren’t, can it?
Unfortunately, they can.
However, the truth is...
No chemical pesticide or fertilizer is truly safe for pets. Skin exposure can lead to infection, swelling, irritation, and allergic reactions. Ingestion can cause an upset stomach at best and vomiting, seizures, and death at worst.
On top of that, research links some pesticide and fertilizer ingredients to cancer, liver and kidney disease, and nerve damage.
Even minimal exposure can be a problem. Bioaccumulation–toxins accumulated slowly over long periods of time–can make our pets sick.
Grass is not safe just because it’s dry; chemical residue remains. If your pet runs or rolls through the grass, this residue can cling to his paws and fur, allowing him to track it into the house. Eventually, he will lick his paws and ingest it.
So, is there a solution for people who want a beautiful lawn and safe pets?
Start with healthy grass
First and foremost, reduce the need for pesticides by ensuring your lawn’s ecosystem is healthy. Start with a foundation of rich, nutrient-dense, fertile soil. Use hardy, resistant grass for your lawn and native plants for your garden.
Choose natural, safe products
Home remedies like sugar , vinegar, boiling hot water, and salt are actually very effective at killing weeds. In addition, commercial brands like Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed and Grass Killer, Doctor Kirchner Weed Killer, and Dr. Earth FInal Stop are safe and efficient weed killer options.
And of course, there’s always the age-old hand-pulling; therapeutic and satisfying!
Compost and raw manure are always good lawn fertilizer options. But there are also truly natural commercial fertilizers available, like Pet and Kid Safe Lawn Fertilizer, Jobe’s Organic Fertilizer (be careful with stake variety; dogs have been known to dig them up and eat them), and Just Scentsational Soil Conditioning Granules.
Although these weed and fertilizer remedies are non-toxic, your pet should still not be allowed to consume them. So, be sure to follow directions.
Lawns don’t have to be shining jewels of perfection. They’re ever-changing ecosystems brimming with life. If you can let go of the ideal and love your lawn for its unique character, you can have a healthier yard–and a healthier pet.
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