Pets-ticides – the 5 products to avoid

Updated On

We may collect a share of sales from items linked to on this page. Learn more.

Our four-legged friends are part of the family. They share our homes, explore the garden and live life the way that we do. But what few of us realize, is that the chemical products we use in our homes and gardens are affecting the soil, water and air, as well as our pets, sometimes even leading to the unthinkable.


The issues

Dog and Cat on Floor

Insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and many synthetic fertilisers on the market can be extremely harmful to the environment, and your pets.

Being so close to the surfaces we clean, mop, polish or wax, their paws and pelts get coated in these chemicals. They also ingest almost everything we use, walking or sleeping on cleaned floors and carpets and then licking their paws and body.

It makes sense that our pets would be susceptible to the poisons in our homes and environment as they are the closest and most intimate with the chemical debris in the air, soil, and water.


Household horrors

We tend to think of chemicals as bubbling flasks in laboratories, and less so as the active ingredients in everyday products. But what we have invented to save us time and energy has the potential to cause significant environmental damage and some serious harm to our pets. Meet the Big Five.


1. Insecticides

Cats in Tree

Many of these synthetic products work by interfering with a pest’s nervous system. Even though insecticides kill insects, they usually won’t kill your pets, but they can have a detrimental effect on their brain, nervous and immune system, and an even greater impact on the environment as they do not just target the pests, but all other forms of bugs and beasties.

Top tip: Use biological control instead of chemical products to tackle garden pests.

Eco Rating: 4/5

Difficulty Rating: May require a bit of extra effort

Cost Rating: Prices range from £5 to £25 depending on predatory species


2 & 3. Herbicides and fungicides

Dog eating grass

These two plant and fungi killers are believed to be associated with malignant lymphoma, cause genetic damage in the livers and kidneys, affect the brain and nervous system and cause digestive problems. And these are just the medical conditions seen in our pets after exposure. The total environmental damage caused by these products entering into water sources and ecosystems outside of our homes and gardens has never been calculated.

Top tip: Use products made from naturally occurring ingredients wherever possible, both inside the house and in the garden.

Eco Rating: 3/5

Difficulty Rating: Simple – may require a bit of extra effort

Cost Rating: Prices are similar to conventional chemical products


4. Synthetic fertilisers

Dog on Lawn

Even though fertilisers are usually safer than pesticides when it comes to your animals and the environment as a whole, many synthetic products use materials that contain excessive amounts of heavy metals that can cause various types of cancer. You need to carefully study the ingredients of anything you apply to your lawn to avoid hurting your pets, and contributing to environmental pollution rates. If fertilisers get into water bodies, they can cause toxic algal blooms, which have devastating effects on all life that lives in or near them.

Top tip: If you have to use chemical products, keep your pets away from these areas for as long as possible to avoid unnecessary exposure.

Eco Rating: 1/5

Difficulty Rating: Simple

Cost Rating: Free


5. Inert ingredients

Dog at Table

Look out for the materials that aren’t regulated by law. Some of these include cadmium, toluene and hydrocarbons, so some people do not know that they are even in the product. Many of these “inert ingredients” have adverse health effects on both animals and humans, with unknown detrimental environmental consequences.

Top tip: Support initiatives that are trying to regulate what is going into household products.

Eco Rating: 2/5

Difficulty Rating: May require a bit of extra effort

Cost Rating: Free


Paw-fect products

Paw and Hand

With the alarming growth of cancer and other incurables in our furry friends, they are acting as modern day canaries in a coal mine, showing us what we are doing to our own health and the environment with the widespread use of everyday chemicals.

By giving your home and garden a green makeover, the environment benefits greatly and you can make it a safer, cleaner living space for your family and pets.

  • green24

    green24 is an online, members-only portal offering advice and information for individuals wishing to lead greener lifestyles or SMEs wanting to improve their environmental performance.

What do you think? Leave a comment!