Are lawn treatments safe for pets?

By | 24/05/2013
Two dogs on a lawn

I am often asked if my lawn care treatments are safe for pets. The answer is generally yes, however there are some special cases for some small animals where a few lawn care treatments may become an issue and care should be taken to ensure safety.

Cats, dogs and lawn care

The most common pets, cats and dogs, are at very little risk from fertilisation and weed control treatments. The only thing that I advise for most treatments is that the lawn is allowed to dry before letting them back on the lawn.

This is for a couple of reasons. Firstly once a herbicide has dried onto a leaf then it won’t be picked up onto the fur of the pet and possibly licked. Although the risk of illness is extremely small due to the very tiny amounts of herbicide used in professional treatments, it is best to avoid any possibility of this occurring. Secondly, for treatments which contain soluble iron such as some moss treatments, then allowing the treatment to dry will prevent any possibility of the product being walked into your house on paws, as doing this could stain wooden floors and surfaces.

Rabbits, guinea pigs and tortoises

For small animals which actually graze on grass, such as rabbits, guinea pigs and tortoises, then I advise a slightly different approach. It is not advisable for these small animals to eat grass which has recently been treated with a systemic herbicide or fungicide. Again, any risk would be very low, but as these animals are very small, and the quantity of grass in their diet can be quite high, it is advised that small grazing animals should not go on a lawn for at least six weeks after treating. This gives enough time for any chemical residues to grow out of the grass.

Keeping your pets safe

For these reasons, it is important to discuss any pets with your lawn care technician. Your schedule of treatments to be applied can be easily modified. This will ensure great results, while also taking the safety of your beloved animals thoroughly into account.

If you are considering lawn care, but are worried about the affect of any treatments on your pets, then get in touch and I will happily, and honestly, discuss your situation and advise.

Kris Lord

Main image credit: CC Image by Janet Tarbox on Flickr

4 thoughts on “Are lawn treatments safe for pets?

  1. Tony

    I have a 10 year old African spurfied tortoise
    Is there a lawn feed I am able to use thats safe as he main diet is the grass.

    1. Kris Lord Post author

      I would stick to Organic feed only for a tortoise. Organic gromore, blood fish and bone, hoof and horn or Chicken pellets would all be suitable as a base grass fertiliser. Avoid anything containing any Pesticides or Moss controls (e.g. any “4 in 1” or similar). Also keep your lawn aerated and mow high. That will bring lovely healthy grass for your tortoise friend.

  2. Shirley Holloway

    Our lawn is being taken over with clover, we have a rabbit that has freedom of the garden, is there anything that is safe to treat the lawn and keep our rabbit safe.

    1. Kris Lord Post author

      It would be okay to feed the lawn with an organic fertiliser, but I would not apply any herbicides or fungicides if there is a small animal regularly grazing the grass, just to be on the safe side.
      Clover isn’t really a problem, and can actually feed the lawn Nitrogen.


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