If you share your home with a four-legged friend, you've probably questioned the safety of lawn and yard products. The good news is that there are plenty of animal-friendly alternatives to standard outdoor chemicals. Here's a quick guide.
There are a variety of common household substances that can double as effective insect and weed killers. To help stave off or eliminate these outdoor nuisances, try using:
If you use a standard pesticide: Avoid products that contain metaldehyde. Found in many slug, snail, ant, and mouse baits, this chemical is particularly poisonous to pets. By law, products that contain metaldehyde must include an explicit label about its dangers.
Most professional lawn care companies state that their fertilizers, used in compliance with strict codes, don't pose significant hazards to children or pets. While this may be true, pet owners might consider these other general options:
If you use a standard fertilizer: Beware of inert ingredients, those that serve as fillers or binders. Common examples include carbon tetrachloride and chloroform, which can be highly toxic to pets.
When it comes to melting products and pet safety, the main concern is injury to paws. The basic offending ingredient in these products is sodium chloride, otherwise known as table salt (or rock salt). Salt contains a corrosive element that can irritate pets' tender toes. Some of today's melts also contain a substance called calcium chloride, which heats up as it works and can cause burns. In addition, because pets have a tendency to lick their paws, any exposure to products containing chemicals may be injurious to your pet's health.
Fortunately, there are countless products on the market specially formulated for pet safety. (Look for telltale words like "paws" and "pets" in the products' names.) These generally contain no salt, although some may contain lesser amounts or less corrosive forms. The active ingredient in most of these products is a biodegradable chemical compound called urea, which is considered non-hazardous to pets.
If you use a standard melting product: Steer clear of products containing calcium chloride. Be sure to wash off your pet's paws after winter walks.
You have a right to know what's in the products you buy. If ever in doubt, request a MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) from the manufacturer; a reputable company should be ready to provide one. Your veterinarian can also advise you on what's best. No matter the season, you can take good, safe care of both your property and your pets.
Have a question?
We want to hear it.
Want to share Electric Insurance with a friend or family member? Send us their email address and a quick message and we'll take care of the rest.