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I don’t know if the cold weather is finally done with us or not, but I could tell from the line at the register in Lowe’s garden center on Saturday that people are done with the cold weather!

If you’ll recall, we got hit with a late frost last year that did a lot of damage to annuals. I lost quite a few plants that I had just put in; the dogs hadn’t even gotten a chance trample them yet! I’ll be more careful with my timing this season but there’s not much I can do about the possible trampling …

Anyway, as I stood in that very long line at the garden center last weekend, there was a couple in front of me with a small dog in the cart along with a few bags of weed killer/fertilizer for the lawn.  It made me cringe a bit; I had to turn my attention to something else.

I can only hope that the bags were for the front lawn and that the dog only goes out in a chemical free area somewhere else. I would love to have a thick, green lawn that’s free of bare spots, pests and weeds; but I love my pets and all the wild creatures that visit much more.

There are products available that claim to be organic and pet safe but it’s best to really do your research before you apply them. Most of them want you to allow the lawn to dry after the application before you let the kids and the dogs out on it. Personally, it still makes me nervous. If you have pets that are prone to licking their paws or eating the grass, I’m hard pressed to believe that there are no dangers.

If you’re really set on having a great looking lawn but want your pets to be safe, you simply cannot treat your lawn with the popular liquids or bags of fertilizers and weed control products. For that you will have to read labels carefully, research the claims made by the producers of “pet safe” treatments and reapply those safe compounds more often.

Yellow or bare spots in the grass are another big issue for dog owners. I’ve never found anything that really prevents this from happening other than training your dog to go elsewhere to relieve her/himself.

Again there are lots of products for sale that claim to prevent or treat the spots, including dietary supplements that work by reducing harmful chemicals in a dog’s digestive system…that goes a little too far for my comfort level as well. Check with your veterinarian before using anything that you’re putting in your dog’s system.

Mulch is something else that you need to be careful with if you’re using it in areas your pets have access to.  Some mulch contains weed control chemicals and others include materials such as cocoa shell which is highly toxic to dogs. Pet safe commercial mulch is actually safest for your animals as it has been heat treated rather than chemically to kill toxins.

All creatures great and small, wild and domestic, will benefit from lessening the use of chemicals on our lawns. In the grand scheme of things, is it more important to you that you have a beautiful lawn or a healthy pet and planet?

Shelter needs: Canned dog food, Breeder’s Edge milk replacer for kittens, hot dogs, string cheese, canned tuna, paper towels, and gift cards for grocery and pet supply outlets.

Shelter events: (Finally! Something to do!) The annual, well, usually annual Plant/Yard/Bake Sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 8 at the shelter.

If you have items to donate for the yard sale, please drop them off between May 5 and 7 because the shelter’s storage space is limited. Also, the shelter can’t accept books, clothing or VHS tapes.

The shelter is at 1244 N. Delsea Drive in Vineland.

To submit an adoption form for one of the Pets of the Week or another animal at the shelter, visit

Source: South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter: Are your lawn care products safe for your pets?

Posted in 2021, SJRAS Articles