Springtime, Dogs, Public Areas, and Herbicides

My stick, MY GRASS!

With the arrival of spring in the Upper Valley (FINALLY) - however late it may have been - some potential dog health issues crop up. 

We've indeed entered tick season, I'm so tired of pulling them off and running to find the rubbing alcohol into which I drop them, but public and even semi-private areas are also an issue right now. Spring is seeding time, and many landscaping companies use those that contain herbicides or pesticides.

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For instance - and this one makes me FRUSTRATED -

According to our condo community, we are responsible for any grass damage upkeep behind our condo. It doesn't make sense as the association mows and does the rest of the landscaping but when we bought our home last July, it came with a HUGE patch of ruined grass and dirt from the previous tenants refusing to pick up their dog poop. So we began to fix it. 

Over the course of the past year, we have spent $80 on these tiny containers - the only size they come in, of course - of dog-safe grass seed so as not to harm our dogs or our neighbor's. And we have slowly but steadily fixed the space. This spring's seeding on the final large spot brought baby grass perking up almost everywhere. YES!

And then the landscapers came. After their first mow of the season, (a few weeks ago now, perhaps they will return?) they came through and seeded everywhere with the blue herbicide grass seed. Our baby grass is growing up between these little blue balls and my dogs, who love to chew on the grass, lay outside, play, rub their faces around, are now doing so in substantial amounts of chemicals. 

According to vippets.net, "A chemical known as 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, or 2,4-D, was developed by the US military and used in Agent Orange, the notorious defoliant employed during the Vietnam War. This particular chemical is a known carcinogen and has been revealed to cause a wide range of other health problems in humans and animals, including [congenital disabilities], psychological issues, and tumors. In modern times, while widely used in professional landscaping, you can find 2,4-D in these herbicides in:

  • Bayer Advanced All-in-One Lawn Weed and Crabgrass Killer
  • Ortho Weed-B-Gon Max
  • Scotts Liquid Turf Builder
  • Sta-Green Phosphorus-Free Weed & Feed
  • Scotts Snap Pac Weed & Feed

Pesticides, which are equally hazardous, seem to be used less often than herbicides in public spaces, unless in gardens (please correct me if I am wrong.)

Another thing you should be watching out for is cocoa mulch. Cocoa mulch is made from the hulls of the cocoa bean, and it smells quite good to dogs (and humans!) This type of mulch contains a small amount of theobromine, the active ingredient in chocolate that causes chocolate toxicity in dogs. However, rain, sun, and hot weather make the smell of chocolate dissipate over the course time and chances of dogs trying to eat it lessens.

All of this means, ENJOY THE WARM WEATHER WITH YOUR DOG, please be careful where you let your dog roll, rub their face, or eat grass, at least until the herbicide grass seeds have sunk.



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