If you're like us, your lawn and yard are where your pup spends a lot of their outside time - they play there, fetch there, poo there and some even want to eat grass there. That's why it's so important to make sure that your lawn and your yard are free from chemicals, pesticides, insecticides and herbicides; because those things have been proven to be very dangerous for dogs and other pets.
Here are a few articles to bone up on the importance of going green with your lawn and yard:
Even though you may see lots of advertising that those commercial lawn care chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and insecticides that millions of people put on their lawn throughout the year are perfectly safe for dogs and other pets; the fact is, these chemicals have been linked to grave illnesses in dogs. Just think, if they kill bugs and weeds, what are they doing to children and pets? And secondly, they are not good for the environment.
A respected report and DVD "The Truth About Cats, Dogs and Lawn Chemicals," funded by Newman’s Own Foundation, has a lot of information for you to learn about the dangers and effects of lawn chemicals on your pets.
In addition, BeyondPesticides.org has facts and figures that relate to the use and affects of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and insecticides on humans, pets and children. Their studies find that dogs exposed to herbicide-treated lawns and gardens can double their chance of developing canine lymphoma. And these dangerous chemicals may also increase the risk of bladder cancer in certain breeds by four to seven times. (xvii)
But there is hope for a beautiful, safe lawn for you and your dog. And having an organic lawn is really a lot easier and inexpensive than you may think. Here are our top tips to keep a healthy, organic lawn?
- Adjust the your soil pH through amendments (like acidifiers, lime, or kelp, that are organic, natural and safe for your dog
- Utilize an organic fertilizer
- Overseed and mow high to choke out weeds
There's also a great book on safe landscaping with your dog in mind. We know Tom Barthel (the author). Tom is a Master Gardner and has lots of great tips on keeping your lawn and yard safe. He was even kind enough to include us in his new book, ""Dogscaping, Creating the Perfect Backyard & Garden for You and Your Dog."
So, how do you get started this Spring? Here are our top tips for getting your lawn in tip top, safe shape to enjoy throughout the year:
- Clean up all the poo after the spring thaw.
- Rake up any leaves and debris.
- Mow if needed.
- Wait for a good rain, and then pull any unnecessary weeds.
- Overseed with a good non-coated grass seed (like K9 Yard Patch) appropriate for your area.
- Wait a few days and then spread a good organic fertilizer, like spray Fish Emulsion, or Worm Poo (these fertilizers won't hamper the growth of new grass seed). We like sprays because they are not as attractive to dogs once they have been on the lawn for a few hours. You can also look into a good organic fertilizer that's pellet based, like Lawn Restore, or Espoma Brand organic foods. We don't use these because Gracie likes to sniff them so much, she gets a runny nose. Even if they are perfectly safe for her, we don't want her to have a runny nose :) There is also a product called 'corn gluten' that is safe around pets that helps to prevent weeds in your lawn. If you use it, however, we would recommend that you water in the pellets completely before letting your pet in that area. Dogs are very attracted to eating corn gluten and although not poisonous, in large quantities can upset tummys.
- Continue to pull unwanted weeds after each good rain (they are much easier to pull, and you can be sure to get the entire root if the soil is moist.)
- If your lawn is in very poor shape, continue to reseed until the hot parts of summer and fertilize with a safe organic fertilizer every 6-8 weeks.
- To keep crawling insects at bay in and outside your home, like ants, fleas, rolly poly bugs, spiders and more, sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth in the area (inside or out). We use it a lot. Just be sure to have your pets out of the area and wear a mask when spreading. But once settled it's a very safe form of pest control for humans and pets.
- If you have insects (like aphids) that like to eat your plants try some safe eco-friendly dish washing soap, mixed with water and spray on the bugs and plants.
Here are some additional resources: