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Your Dog Around Pesticides

By Chris Williams on December 9, 2015.

Your pet’s most likely and most obvious exposure to pesticides is when he is treated for fleas or heartworm. You also need to be mindful of your pet’s presence and his habits when you (or a professional exterminator) treat around your home or yard. You know your dog, you know what tweaks his interest and what he’s likely to get into – take precautions.

1. Mixing and filling sprayers or spreaders – Keep your dog in a safe place while you mix pesticides. Make sure you wipe up any drips or spills before you start application.

2. Remove your dog and his dishes & toys – Pick up pet bowls, chew toys, bedding, and any other items that your dog plays with or sleeps on that could be exposed to the pesticide. Don’t let your dog run around in the treatment area while you or the exterminator are applying pesticide.

3. Use of pesticide baits – Be especially careful when using granular pesticides or granular baits outside for pests such as ants, crickets, snails, or slugs. Granule pesticide baits can look a lot like your dog’s dry food and they often contain food ingredients that could be attractive to a dog. Place baits where you are sure the dog can’t reach them or in tamper-resistant bait stations.

4. Use of baits for mice or rats – Under federal law, you can no longer buy loose rodent bait pellets because of the risk of poisoning. And all mouse baits are sold inside a tamper-resistant station (see Loose Mouse Bait Has Been Banned by EPA). If you have old bait on hand, don’t use rodent pellet bait that resembles pet food and never put it in an open plastic “bait tray” because it looks too much like a pet dish. Always place rodent bait where your dog can’t reach it and in a tamper-resistant bait station.

5. Don’t tempt your dog to dig – Don’t assume that burying a pesticide that you are using for moles or voles will keep it from your pet. Your dog may see digging up that hidden treat as a game. Place outdoor baits for moles, voles, or other animals where dogs cannot reach them. Alternatively, you can place most baits inside a tamper-resistant bait station.

6. Pay attention to re-entry times – Keep your dog away from treated areas (indoors or outdoors) until the pesticide is completely dry. The label should tell you approximately how long that should take and when pets and people can safely re-enter the area. Dogs that lay in or walk through damp pesticide-treated areas can absorb the toxin or ingest it when they groom themselves. Wipe off your dog’s feet after it has been in a pesticide-treated area and before it enters the house.

7. Store pesticides safely – Keep pesticide containers out of the reach of your dog (if you have kids you should be doing this anyway). A squishy plastic container with a nice paper label could be seen as a chew toy by a puppy.

8. Know the signs and symptoms of pesticide poisoning – If you believe your dog may have been exposed to pesticide and he is having difficulty breathing, or has bleeding, tremors, seizures, convulsions, or is unconscious, contact your veterinarian or an animal poison control center immediately. The number for the National Animal Poison Control Center is 1-888-426-4435. For questions about pets and pesticides, call the National Pesticide Information Center at 1-800-858-7378.

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