Dear Daisy Dog
My name is Chickie, and I am a 13-pound Pug. I had a problem after the exterminator visited our house, and I’m writing to warn your readers so they can protect their own pets.
Last year, my home was invaded by carpenter ants. The exterminator assured my human parents that the chemicals were safe enough for day care centers and nursing homes, so they wouldn’t harm pets.
We dogs stayed outdoors while he sprayed inside the house, along the baseboards and doors.
Then we came inside while he sprayed the yard. He said we could go out in two hours, but Mom kept us indoors for five or six hours, to be sure the grass was dry.
Within 24 hours, I could barely walk. I had such poor coordination that my rear end dragged along the floor.
The other family dogs, all larger than I, were unaffected.
My people didn’t immediately connect my loss of coordination to the insecticide, because a previous back injury had left me with weak back legs.
My coordination gradually improved, and several days later, I was back to normal.
When the exterminator returned a month later, the same thing happened.
The third time the exterminator came, my parents kept me away from the house for 24 hours, and the problem did not recur.
Please warn your readers that, while these insecticides are generally safe, they can be dangerous to animals with particular sensitivity.
You did it better than I could, Chickie. Thanks for sharing your story.
We haven’t needed an exterminator, because the five cats in our family catch most of the bugs that invade our house.
So I checked with a veterinarian at the animal poison control center, who told me that side effects to insecticides applied properly are rare.
When side effects occur, they usually affect the nerves, as in your case, or they manifest as anorexia, vomiting or diarrhea.
Once insecticides dry, they generally are not toxic to pets.
Readers, if an exterminator treats your home, ask about potential side effects, and follow the exterminator’s directions about keeping your pets away from the treated areas.
If you see any changes in your pet that concern you, call your veterinarian as soon as possible.