Protect Pets with Smart, Safe Pesticide Use
Millions of pet owners are eagerly anticipating the warmer days and evenings ahead, especially knowing how much their furry friends enjoy a romp in the backyard or getting out for a longer walk in the park or around the neighborhood. People start thinking about what they will need to keep their pets safe during these and other activities.
This time of the year is also when insects and other pests become more active and bothersome to animals, so our pets need to be protected from the threats posed by fleas, ticks, rodents and stinging insects.
Pet owners especially rely on pesticides both inside and outside their homes to help protect against harmful pests. While pesticide products are beneficial for controlling parasites and other common pet-related dangers, the proper application, use and storage of these products is vital to protecting the health of dogs, cats and pets of all kinds.
“We rely on pesticide products like insecticides, flea collars and heartworm pills for our pet’s safety almost every day without thinking twice,” says Allen James, president of RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment), a national organization representing the manufacturers, formulators and distributors of pesticide and fertilizer products. “It’s our responsibility to read and follow the label instructions regarding use and storage of all the pesticide products we choose to use so we get the positive benefits they can provide without any unnecessary, avoidable issues.”
By law, all pet, lawn and garden pesticide products must be registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before they can be sold in the United States. This extensive registration process often takes between eight and 10 years, costs hundreds of millions of dollars, and consists of tests evaluating potential short-term and long-term impacts on humans, pets and the environment in which they are meant to be used.
By the time a pesticide or a lawn and garden product makes it to the shelves in local stores, it has been registered, had its label approved by EPA, and is deemed not to pose any unnecessary risks to people, pets or local eco-systems when used according to label directions.
“When it comes to pesticides, it’s important to remember the label is the law,” James says. “These products can provide a world of advantages and protection that would be almost impossible to fathom without them, but they should be used and stored exactly as directed by the product label.”
After applying lawn and garden fertilizers and chemicals, keep pets out of the application area for the amount of time that may be specified on product label directions or until the spray has dried or the dust has settled. Giving them the time they need to dry and work properly can save accidental and costly risks to naturally curious and determined pets. Once these products are applied, it is important to store any remainder in areas inaccessible to pets such as high shelves in closed storage units and garages to avoid improper exposure.
If it is suspected a pet has been overexposed to a lawn and garden product, consult a local veterinarian, contact the manufacturer’s hotline on the product label, or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4335.
“Our yards are places for fun and relaxation with family, friends and our pets,” James says. “With just a little bit of basic knowledge, care and attention to directions, pet owners can ensure that their healthy lawn is also a healthy environment for all.”
1/2/2009 12:00:00 AM