dog in garden sticking tongue out

Dog ate weed killer? Handling herbicide poisoning in dogs

Lawn chemicals and herbicides can be dangerous for our dogs, especially during the summer months when we’re all spending more time out in the garden.

Many popular weed killers contain a product called glyphosate, which can have a nasty impact on our dogs’ health.

When choosing a weed killer this summer, we advise that you read the labels carefully before making any decisions.

Let’s have a closer look at herbicide poisoning in dogs and what to do if your dog eats grass that’s contaminated with potentially harmful weed killer.

What is glyphosate?

Glyphosate is a popular herbicide and is used on gardens all around the world to keep weeds at bay. It works by targeting actively growing plants only and is generally very effective. Sadly, when dogs ingest glyphosate – which usually occurs when they sniff or snack on grass that’s been sprayed with it – there can be some nasty consequences, including:

  • Heart rate problems
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Convulsions

Dog ate weed killer that contains glyphosate? Keep an eye on them and be prepared to contact your vet if you spot any symptoms.

Which other weed killer ingredients should I avoid?

As a general rule, when looking for weed killing agents, keep clear of these ingredients if you have pets:

  • Disulfoton
  • Sodium Arsenite
  • Metaldehyde
  • Ammonium Sulfamate
  • Borax

Sounds like a lot of ingredients, right? Don’t worry, most reputable dog-friendly garden products will be clearly advertised and if you’re in doubt, your vet will be able to advise.

dog in garden hiding face

Symptoms of weed killer poisoning in dogs

If your dog displays any of the symptoms below, there’s a good chance they’ve ingested weed killer. Contact your vet if you notice:

  • Burns or sores around their mouth, nose or paws
  • A rash or itchy skin
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Strained breathing
  • Restlessness or abnormal behaviour
  • Fits or seizures
  • Excessive drooling

Note: these symptoms can belong to other conditions but if you’ve recently applied a weed killing agent to your lawn and your dog was fine until shortly afterwards, you probably know what the cause is!

What to do?

If you have any concerns, contact your vet right away. You may need to bring the chemical bottle with you so the vet can look closer at its ingredients. It’s also helpful if you know how much contaminated grass your dog has eaten and when they ate it. Also – did they have a brief nibble or did they not stop eating grass until you told them to stop?

As ever though, prevention is better than cure!

When using any weed killing agents, make sure you follow the instructions on the back of the bottle very carefully. As you apply the chemical, keep your dog somewhere safe – preferably indoors – and give the treated area a chance to dry before letting your dog onto it.

Treatments

The seriousness of weed killer poisoning in dogs will depend on the amount of contaminated grass the dog has eaten. In much the same way, the treatment required will depend on how serious the dog’s symptoms are. The important thing is to be cautious and to contact your vet if you notice any of the symptoms listed above.

Need more info?

There are plenty of methods of keeping both your garden and your dog protected! For further information about weed killer poisoning or any aspect of your dog’s welfare, have a chat with your vet. To find your nearest vet, use our handy Find a Vet page.