Pets and Pesticides

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Posted on February 6th, 2012 by Kelly Lowery in Consumers

Today’s guest blogger is Kelly Over, our Education Program Assistant. All animals featured in the photos belong to our staff members and we were told that no animals were injured while posing for photos!

When discussing family members, many of us undoubtedly include our furry additions-pets! How often do we involve pets as part of the annual family Christmas photo? Or take them to the groomers more often than we frequent the hair dresser?

Hunter checking out the products under the sink.

We’ve done previous posts about protecting your family—proper storage, signal words, and poison prevention—but wanted to dedicate this blog to our furry family members. This two-part feature will begin with safe household practices and poison help for your pet and the second part (in a future blog) will focus on flea and tick applications, as well as recognizing counterfeit pet pesticides.

Household Pesticide Products and Your Pets
Similar to the principles that apply to young children, the same practices can be applied to pets.

  • Make sure products are stored out of reach of your pets, especially in areas where a pet can noticeably access, i.e., garden sheds, garages, basements, or back rooms of your home.
  • Remove your pet’s food bowls, water dishes, bedding, toys, and other belongings before using a pesticide product in the area these items may be located.
  • After application, ensure the space is well ventilated and confirm the product has properly dried before allowing your pet to reenter the area. This includes outside areas as well.
  • Use caution when placing bait stations around the house to ensure that pets cannot access them.
  • Always READ the LABEL for more specific instructions on pesticide safety around your pet!

The Pesticide Education Program emphasizes the importance of keeping products in their original containers for the safety of humans so keep this in mind for your pet as well!

Hunter looking at a cleaning product bottle.

While your pet might not be able to unscrew a bottle cap, a product stored in an alternative container with a loose fitting lid or even no lid could allow the product to easily spill.  The original container, with its normal tight fitting lid or cap, could prevent your pet from a potential chemical  exposure.  Be sure to keep your pets out of the area if you do have to clean up a product spill.

Pesticide Exposure Symptoms of Pets
A pet’s eyes, nose, and mouth are potential routes for “pesticides to be absorbed into your pet’s bloodstream through their mucous membranes.”(1) If you are concerned that your pet was exposed to a pesticide, watch for the symptoms listed below or other uncharacteristic behaviors.

  • Lethargy
  • Increased Salivation
  • Tremors, Convulsions, or Seizures
  • Losing Consciousness
  • Difficulty Breathing

Where to Find Help

If your animal is exhibiting extremely adverse symptoms, immediately take your pet to an emergency veterinarian clinic or to your veterinarian with the suspected poisoning product/label. If the symptoms seem less severe, call your veterinarian. In either case, be sure to share your observed symptoms, the product’s label, and your animal’s characteristics (breed, age, weight, etc.). Keep your veterinarian’s number accessible or even add the number to your contact list in your mobile device.

You can also call the National Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. Poison Centers will do their best to offer pet assistance; if they are not able to help, you will often be referred to the Animal Poison Control Center hotline at 1-888-426-4435. There is a consultation fee associated with this service; please visit Animal Poison Control Center for more information.

Perhaps the best advice is BE AWARE and USE CAUTION. Just like you would with your other family members, use common sense to be aware of where products are being stored, what product is being used, and where the product is being applied. Many of us treat our pets as family members….be sure to execute the same care when it comes to using pesticides around your pets.

Remember, Happy Pets Make for Happy Homes!

Kathy's Cat, Coco, stretching out on the couch!

Garo's dog, Nittany, begging for some good snacks!

Julie's dog, Hunter, and son, Nate, taking a rest from playing!

Until Next Time,
Be Safe!


  1. Fishel, Frederick M. “Protecting Your Pet from Pesticides.” University of Florida.
  2. Read the Label First: Protect Your Pets.” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  3. Animal Poison Control FAQ.” American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.