Dog on grass with text: Can your pet read pesticide warning signs?


  • Pets spend more time running on, rolling around on—and occasionally nibbling on—grass than people. Dogs and cats who play on lawns treated with synthetic chemicals later ingest them while grooming. Their behavioral patterns make them more susceptible to pesticide exposure and their smaller bodies make them more susceptible to poisoning.1  
  • Pets can’t read pesticide warning signs and labels! Outdoor cats, especially, are at risk of pesticide exposure by wandering onto properties that are treated with chemicals.
  • Pet exposure to Malathion, a common pesticide used in ornamental trees and shrubs, can affect the function of the immune system, and cause chest pains, difficult breathing, and endocrine disruption (affects hormones).2
  • Exposure to lawn pesticides increases the risk of bladder cancer by four to seven times in Scottish Terriers, according to a study by Purdue University.3
  • A 1995 study found a “statistically significant” increase in the risk of canine malignant lymphoma in dogs when exposed to herbicides, particularly 2,4-D, commonly used on lawns and in “weed and feed” products.4
  • 15,000 calls to the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center in 2015 involved insecticides.5
  • Dogs and cats are at danger from secondary poisonings from eating rodents exposed to rodenticides. More than 8,100 calls to the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center in 2014 involved rodenticides.5
  • Pesticide residues are brought inside on your pet’s coat. Because pesticides break down fastest when exposed to sunlight and water, they can linger and acquire higher concentrations than if left outdoors. This creates opportunity for daily exposure to pesticides (for you, your kids, and your pets!) for years.

1. Beyond Pesticides, "Pesticides and Pets."

2. Alabama Cooperative Extension System, "Dogs and Pesticide Use."

3. Glickman et al., "Herbicide exposure and the risk of transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder in Scottish Terriers." April 2004. Journal of the American Veterinary Medicine Association.

4. Hayes HM., RE. Tarone, KP. Cantor. 1995. "On the association between canine malignant lymphoma and opportunity for exposure to 2,4-dichlorophenoxyaceicacid." Environmental Research 70: 119–125.

5. ASPCA, "Ten Most Common Pet Toxins of 2015."