Pets and Pesticides


With 70% more households having more dogs or cats than children, it is important to consider the effects of pesticides on pet health. Similarly to children, pets can be exposed to pesticides while playing outside on lawns. Additionally, just like people, dogs can get illnesses such as cancer and they can actually help to inform ourselves of health risks.

In a study by EWG, dogs and cats were exposed to 48 out of 70 harmful chemicals tested. And, 43 of these chemicals were found in much higher levels than in humans. Dogs and cats roll around outside on lawns coated in pesticides and after doing so they often lick themselves clean. This means they can be exposed to pesticides through both their skin and mouth. Even indoor pets that eat food off the floor can be exposed to pesticides that get tracked inside the home. Their exposure levels are very similar to those of infants and toddlers who often play on the floor and stick many things in their mouths.

These pesticides (and even flea repellents) have been proven to cause many different types of cancers in dogs.  Pesticides can sometimes have endocrine disrupting chemicals which means they can disrupt hormone system and contribute to the development of disease. Hormones are our body's messengers, and when these chemicals get into our body, they mimic these messengers, causing unwanted reactions. With shorter lifespans and smaller windows of vulnerability, they develop health problems at much faster rates.

Overall, pets are much more vulnerable to pesticides than people, and therefore can, unfortunately, demonstrate the harmful effects of pesticides. Some types of pesticides can have harmful chemicals so switching to organic brands can help both your pets and your own health in the long run.

By Sara Frawley

melanie gabrell