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How can I protect my pets when using pesticides around them?

There are several things you can do to protect your pets. Keep in mind that your animal companions are naturally curious and will follow or track your scent to see where you've been. This activity increases the risk that they will walk through pesticide residues. They may even check to see if it may be food and taste what you've applied.

So, before applying a pesticide, indoor or outdoor, think about how you will protect your pets from being exposed.

Before applying a pesticide

  • First, consider whether using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) may be a more appropriate way to deal with your pest problem.
  • If you choose to use a pesticide, read, understand and follow all label instructions that come with the pesticide product. The label often provides specific information about how to keep your pets from being exposed.
  • Remove pets from the area before you begin applying pesticides. Remove all toys, chew bones, food bowls, and bedding.
  • Keep pets away from treated areas until the pesticide is completely dry and the area has been well ventilated.
  • Granular lawn products may require keeping pets off the treated area for 24 hours or longer while the granules dissolve and the treated area dries.
  • Cover or remove fish tanks to prevent liquid and vapors from entering the tank. If you use foggers (bug bombs), turn off fish tank pumps during the application. Consider similar precautions for reptiles, birds, and other small pets.
  • If you use rat, mouse, or gopher baits or baits for slugs and snails, place the baits in locations where your pet cannot reach them. Pets often dig up baits that were buried.
  • Pets can also be poisoned by eating poisoned animals. Consider selecting a bait product with lower potential for secondary poisoning.
  • When possible, keep your pet in a closed room, garage, kennel, or pet carrier away from the application. If you plan to leave the house, you could also use this time to go for a walk or on a trip with your pets.

Other tips to consider

  • If you hire a pest control company or lawn service, talk to them about the products they are using and the potential risk to your pets. Tell your pest control professional what pets you have, where will they be, and if they need to take any precautions.
  • Consider calling your veterinarian for advice on whether or not to keep your pets away from home during the treatment.
  • Always store pesticides safely out of reach of children and pets. The label includes important instructions regarding proper use and storage of a pesticide product.
  • If you think your pet was exposed to a pesticide, contact your veterinarian or an animal emergency resource, immediately.

If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Last updated April 13, 2017

Related Topics:

What are pests?

Learn about a pest

Identify a pest

Control a pest

Integrated Pest Management

What are pesticides?





Natural and Biological Pesticides



Other types of pesticides

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