Environmental Poisons

Environmental Poisons

You may be poisoning your animal and not even know it.

Animal lovers never want to hurt their animals, so it always comes as a shock to learn that everyday items in and around the home may be slowing killing their companions. We find that warmer weather months can cause our pets to have a higher level of exposure than usual. Along with the common chemicals that Fido and Fluffy are exposed to, summertime brings an increase in the application of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and even flea and tick preventatives.

Beware of These Environmental Poisons and Your Pets

You may be poisoning your animal and not even know it.

Animal lovers never want to hurt their animals, so it always comes as a shock to learn that everyday items in and around the home may be slowing killing their companions. We find that warmer weather months can cause our pets to have a higher level of exposure than usual. Along with the common chemicals that Fido and Fluffy are exposed to, summertime brings an increase in the application of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and even flea and tick preventatives. 

Common Household Toxins

Even if you make a conscious effort to use safe products in your home, with your pets, and on your yard, your neighbors may not. Our top three toxins to be aware of are lawn pesticides, flea and tick medicines, and heartworm preventatives.

Lawn Pesticides

First on the list of environmental toxins is lawn pesticides. A study conducted over a six-year period by Tufts University showed that exposure to lawn pesticides raised the risk of Canine Malignant Lymphoma by as much as 70 percent. Another study indicated that exposure to herbicide-treated lawns has been associated with a significantly higher risk of bladder cancer in dogs.

Even if you opt out of a monthly visit from Scott’s Lawn Service, keep in mind that the wind can carry the chemicals sprayed by a neighbor (up to 50 feet!) on to your untreated property. It's also important to be aware of dead and dying plant matter, which does not absorb sprayed chemicals and as such, may retain such chemicals on their surface. In the event that an excessive amount of chemicals are sprayed, the capacity for any plant to ‘take up’ the compound is overwhelmed, leaving behind toxic residue as a result.

Since our dogs (and those cats that enjoy an outdoor visit) run ‘barefoot’ outside, they are very susceptible to absorbing residual chemicals. There are also the ‘grazers’ to keep in mind, that enjoy a green snack when outside, and the dogs that love to roll and dig in the grass. Dogs can even bring the chemicals into the household with them, making their cat and human siblings susceptible to exposure.

Fleas and Tick Medicines

Flea and tick preventative pills and ‘spot on’ treatments are also not without a long list of side effects.

Most companies that make these products claim that the chemicals included in those small tubes you squeeze between your dog or cat’s shoulder blades will only stay within the oil glands of the skin. However, this is not true. Dr. Dobozy of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Pesticide Division has found that the active ingredient in Frontline, a common flea and tick ‘preventative,’ remains in your pet’s system with the potential for nervous system and thyroid toxicity. Research done on lab animals proved that the chemical ‘Fipronil’ caused thyroid cancer, altered thyroid hormones, liver and kidney toxicity, reduced fertility, and caused convulsions.

In addition, a long list of adverse reactions has been documented from the administering of flea and tick medications, including:

  • Red skin with itching, hair loss, sores, and ulcers
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, and salivation
  • Lethargy
  • Nervousness
  • Problems with movement (ataxia)
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Death

What goes on your pet will also go INTO your pet, not only by being absorbed through the skin, but also ingested when the animal grooms itself. Unfortunately, many medications that are supposed to help our pets end up doing the exact opposite. When you expose your animal to a load of toxic chemicals, especially directly on to their skin, you compromise their liver and immune system. As a result, this actually makes the animal MORE likely to host the same parasites that you are trying to ward off. Once the Frontline or Advantix wears off, your pooch or feline is fair game. As each application is made throughout the year, a downward spiral begins, resulting in the decline of your pet's health.

Heartworm Prevention

Another common preventive with negative health effects is 'Ivermectin,' the main ingredient in most heartworm medications. This chemical is also used to treat other parasite related conditions, such as ear mites and mange. Ivermectin works by inflicting neurological damage to certain parasites, which results in paralysis and death. If given to a dog that already has heartworms, the reaction can be fatal. Side effects range from those that are mild, such as vomiting and diarrhea, to much more severe issues like damage to the central nervous system and in some cases, death.

How to Keep Your Animal Safe and Healthy

Thankfully, you have some control over the chemical burden that befalls your beloved furry family member! Our top tip for keeping your animal safe and healthy is to provide them with a biologically appropriate, high-quality diet, as this alone is a proactive choice toward a healthy life. Other surefire ways to protect your pet are to build their immune system and use a natural flea and tick repellent.

Support and Build that Immune System!

By strengthening the immune system, you help your pet fight off opportunistic offenders and also support organs like the liver in flushing out toxins. Consider using supplements like:

Despite what others may say, you can add fresh garlic to your pet’s cuisine as a way to prevent internal and external parasites, if they are willing to eat it. 

Use a Natural Flea and Tick Repellent

There are many ways to naturally prevent fleas and ticks. Consider these options:  

Other tips to keep your pet as toxin-free as possible:

  • More and more organic lawn care companies are popping up. See if one services the area you live in.
  • Purchase or craft a natural pesticide deterrent for use in your garden and yard space. Diatomaceous earth or an essential oil spray will work wonders in place of a dangerous, toxic application.  
  • Make sure you keep an eye on your pet when they are outside. When on walks, keep them off of yards that have been freshly sprayed, or away from lawns that you know have routine chemicals applied. Once home, give your pet’s paws a quick wipe to remove anything that could have been stepped in while out and about.

REMEMBER: A healthy, vital animal is not a good host for parasites and will be less susceptible to illness from toxin overload!

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