Weeds in a yard can mar an otherwise lovely bit of landscaping, but they can do more than that if you have pets. Whether you have a cat, dog, or both, if you have weeds in your yard your precious pets are at risk. Here's what you need to know about the dangers weeds pose to pets and what you can do about it.
One of the potentially problematic types of weeds are burrs. Burrs tend to develop as part of many different varieties of weeds. The issue with them is that they can become lodged in your pet's skin, creating irritation and potential infection. Unfortunately, a cat or dog's first instinct might be to grab the burr with their mouth and to yank, which will instead get it stuck to their mouth. While burrs are typically safe to consume, they can cause irritation and potential infection wherever they touch, so it's better to keep your pets away from them as much as possible.
If burrs are a nuisance, foxtails are a threat. Foxtails are the tall sticky weeds that look like, well, a fox's tail.
The problem with foxtails is that they can actually become lodged in a pet's skin and will continue to burrow in whenever your pet moves. This can lead to severe infections and abscesses. If that weren't enough, foxtails can be inhaled by dogs and penetrate through the wall of their lungs or esophagus, creating infections and making it extremely hard to breathe. When this happens, the only solution is to surgically extract the foxtail, which is a long and difficult process, and very expensive too.
Lastly, it's worth noting that some pets are allergic to weeds. It might seem contrary considering that cats and dogs both have a tendency to sniff everything that they come across. But the reality is, pets can have allergies just like people can. Sneezing, wheezing, eye discharge and nose discharge are all possible just from being in the presence of certain types of weeds. In fact, your pet might not even need to go out to develop an allergic reaction to them. If you come inside the house and track in weed particles on your pants or shoes, it may be enough to cause an allergic reaction in your pet.
For these reasons, it's best to hire weed control services to come out and to destroy your weeds for you. Work with a contractor that can do it ecologically so that it's still safe for your pet to go outside. But most importantly, keep up a regular schedule with them to ensure that the weeds don't come back and start the process all over again.