THE HEALTH OF COMPANION ANIMALS










A Note on Terminology

This website follows the new convention of use of the term companion animal rather than the older term "pet." The newer term recognizes that an animal can be our companion and we can be theirs, but just as we cannot actually "own" a child, nor can we "own" an animal.

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Companion Animals


Introduction

Keys To Good Health is a resource addressing itself principally to the health of human beings. However, many human beings share their lives or a part therein with one or more companion animals, and indeed through personal experience as well as scientific research results we know that these animals, themselves, contribute to the good health of their owners. And, of course, as compassionate beings we wish to help ensure the health and well-being of these animals as we can, apart from their desirability to, or utility for, humans.

Thus, I've included this page on the health of companion animals (formerly called "pets").


Human vs. Non-Human Animals

Interestingly, non-human animals whether dogs, cats, or elephants, are very similar to we human animals in most, if not all aspects of health, in its general contours. For example, poor-quality food will fail to provide an animal sufficient nutrients for proper growth; an animal can feel stress and will be harmed by it; and exposure to pesticides and other toxic chemicals will injure an animal just as a human being. Thus, this pet page will contain some of the same guidelines for animals as my home page does for humans, albeit researched and presented more specifically for companion animals (formerly called "pets").


Canine Health

Indeed, some of my keys to good health can unlock the doors to good health of your pet, now that we understand, for example, the definite link between use of lawn pesticide and canine malignant lymphoma, canine bladder cancer, canine liver problems, pupil dilation, lethargy, and tremors.

Specifically, studies have found that dogs exposed to the lawn chemical 2,4-D are twice as likely to develop canine malignant lymphoma, and Scottish Terriers are at far greater risk of bladder cancer through herbicide exposure. We're talking here about chronic exposure to tiny amounts of these chemicals, not a major poisoning incident (a major poisoning will likely result in the immediate death of your animal).

Indeed, the latest EPA assessment of 2,4-D acknowledges the susceptibility of dogs to poisoning by this chemical. BeyondPesticides.com states:

"Numerous studies have documented the risk of pesticides to pets over the years. A 1991 National Cancer Institute study, finds that dogs whose owners’ lawns were treated with 2,4-D, four or more times per year, are twice as likely to contract canine malignant lymphoma than dogs whose owners do not use the herbicide. Exposure to herbicide-treated lawns and gardens increases the risk of bladder cancer by four to seven times in Scottish Terriers, according to a study by Purdue University veterinary researchers...."

Suggested Links

"Veterinarians Asked to Report Pesticide Poisoning Incidents"

"Pet Products May Harm Both Pets and Humans"


Do You Know What's Being Applied to Your Lawn?

Do you pay a lawncare service to apply pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or similar chemicals to your lawn and shrubs, or do you apply them yourself? Do you know what is in these products?

The fact is, even if they don't contain 2,4-D it really doesn't matter, because if you're using synthetic lawn chemicals, which almost all lawn services do and almost do-it-yourself products contain, the following remains true:

  1. These lawn care products contain various other chemicals that are either proven harmful to companion animals (and humans, of course), or have simply not been adequately tested, or in some cases tested at all, and

  2. If you determine that TruGreen/ChemLawn (or whatever lawn service you use) is not using a 2,4-D product on your property, this can change, since TruGreen/ChemLawn regularly changes its products and formulations; in other words, every season they're using products whose component ingredients or their distribution in a given product is different than the season before. This makes it difficult to track what their products contain; the fact that this company refuses to list any of their chemicals at their website or elsewhere compounds the problem.

    Moreover, if you instruct that no 2,4-D product ever be used on your lawn, will the company strictly follow your instruction, and will it remember your instruction for next season and all seasons after that? Recall that every N.J. TruGreen/ChemLawn branch has numerous Better Business Bureau complaints against it, and the Upper Saddle River branch that services Northern New Jersey has had its membership in the BBB terminated.

Lawn care companies other than TruGreen/ChemLawn may not be as questionable in their practices, but will certainly be using the same dangerous kinds of lawn chemicals. As with humans, the only way to ASSURE the health of your companion animal is to elect for organic lawn care products and treatments, discussed extensively at this website.

After reading this page, please carefully read our assessment of TruGreen/ChemLawn.


Herbicides

Do you think pesticides are the only problem? Standard chemical herbicides are not off the hook, either:

“I can think of numerous cases over the years of abnormal neurologic signs in dogs after exposure to ‘benign’ herbicides..." states an ER vet in California..."


Feline Health

Pesticide exposure has been linked to hyperthyroidism and contact dermatitis in cats. More to come specifically on feline health.







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