May 11, 2019 6 min read
When I walk my dogs we pass by "chemical lawns" and "safe lawns".
"Chemical lawns" are the perfect green lawns that have little signs posted once a month warning you to stay off the lawn "until it is dry".
"Safe lawns" usually have more weeds and dandelions but those are the lawns I want my dogs to "do their business" on!
My dogs have gotten used to me saying "No, that is a chemical lawn" and are pretty good at trying to hold it until we get to a "safe lawn".
I'm sure there are lawns out there like my own that are the exception to this rule. Our lawn is organic and safe but isn't full of weeds. We use organic lawn care on our lawn with herbicidal vinegar and corn ethanol on weeds as they pop up.
Sadly, there are a lot more chemical lawns than there are safe lawns in my neighborhood.
Yet, the scientific evidence of the dangers of lawn care treatments is mounting and irrefutable.
When my own dog was diagnosed with penile cancer in 2010, I started doing research on lawn treatments.
With tears in my eyes as I write these words, I admit, I had been guilty of trusting when I shouldn't and not being the advocate for my dogs that I should have been.
Over the past 20 years there has been mounting scientific evidence that shows a clear link between lawn treatments and cancer in dogs.
A study from back in 1991 identified a link between canine malignant lymphoma and the use if 2,4 - Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid herbicides.
A 1999 study measured the amount of 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid tracked into the house after a yard was treated (yes - after the lawn was dry it was still tracked into the house). The study, conducted by the EPA found before the lawn treatment there was 0.5 μg/m2 2,4-D bulk dust on the floor. After the lawn treatment the dust level of 2,4-D in the living room was 6 μg/m2, with a range of 1−228 μg/m2 on all carpeted floors. The warning was of course that 2,4-D was being found inside the house from a treatment done outdoors that doesn't "dry" and stay outdoors, as is routinely claimed.
A 2011 study called "Animal Sentinels for Environmental and Public Health" reviewed findings relating cancers in animals to environmental toxins and how they are an indicator of what is happening in human cancer linkages. Not a new concept. In the early 1900s birds and mice were used in mines to detect carbon monoxide dangers.
In 2012, a six-year study from Tufts University linked the chemicals used on lawns and flea and tick treatments with canine malignant lymphoma (CML). The study said the risk of CML was 70% higher.
In 2013, just a year before Henry Clay died after his third cancer diagnosis, I read a study that found herbicides in the urine of dogs after lawns were treated and in 1/2 of the dogs where the pet parent's lawn wasn't treated.
Another 2013 study concluded that 2,4-D herbicides and other lawn chemicals significantly increase the risk of canine bladder cancer. If a breed is genetically susceptible to bladder cancer the risk is higher. Beagles, Scottish Terriers, Shetland Sheepdogs, West Highland White Terriers, and Wire Hair Fox Terriers are all known to a genetic predisposition to bladder cancer.
The bottom line is our dogs are dying from cancer in alarming rates.
Nearly 50% of dogs over the age of 2 will die from cancer.
I don't want you to lose your dog to cancer before you realize your actions (like mine) contributed to your dogs cancer. We have to be willing to give up things or methods that are convenient for us if they are causing health problems for our pets.
Another easy way to reduce your dog's exposure to environmental toxins is by using organic dog shampoo. 4-Legger's USDA certified organic dog shampoo is safe and non-toxic, posing no health risks to your dog or you!
Giving your dog's a quick leg wash with 4-Legger when you get home from your walk will reduce their exposure to environmental toxins. Remember, your dog does lick their legs - so whatever is on them will get in them!
Wiping your dog's legs off is a small thing but an important step you can take to begin reducing toxins in your dog’s environment.
Big change always starts with small steps and our dog’s lives are worth our best effort.
We've compiled the scientific journals and articles that identify toxicity of lawn treatments and the links to canine cancer. PLEASE help us to spread the word about the dangers of lawn treatments.