In today’s Daily Telegraph, Helen Yemm the gardening correspondent answers an interesting question – is Roundup (glyphosate) safe around pets?
Roundup (Glyphosate) has been stated to be non-toxic to mammals, but the surfactants that are in the formulations are irritants, and can cause gastro-intestinal upset if eaten while wet. They might also cause skin irritation if the product contacts the skin while still wet. Once dry, these surfactants will no longer cause irritation, so in most cases, the most important task is to keep pets away until the weeds have fully dried .
It’s sometimes said that wilting plants are more appealing to animals, and so might increase the palatability of poisonous plants once they have been killed by a weedkiller. This is more of an issue for herbivores (rabbits, guinea pigs, sheep, cattle, goats) who are likely to eat large quantities of plants. Dogs nibbling at a few leaves aren’t likely to have any problems unless the plants themselves are highly toxic (such as Lily of the Valley).
One extra tip: apart from fear of toxicity, if a pet walks on areas that are wet with Roundup, they may then walk all over your lovely lawn, killing the grass in their footsteps (literally)
There is a longer term issue, by the way: Roundup may soon be banned in the EU because of long term fears of possible carcinogenicity in humans. Irish farmers are incensed – it is one of the most widely used herbicides and it would have a serious impact on their livelihood if this happened. British farmers perhaps don’t need to worry now, thanks to Brexit.