70% of U.S. households have a pet. This is a significant fraction of the residential market, indicating that, to find and keep customers, pet safety will need to become a priority for many pest control and landscaping businesses. While strides have been made to make insecticides less harmful for both humans and pets, it’s still an industry-wide challenge to provide both highly effective and pet-friendly pest control. Pet owners can also feel the effects of this challenge, as keeping their pets safe and their homes and gardens pest-free can require time, effort, and in some cases money. This guide can help both businesses and private residents do the most to protect their pets during necessary pest control. 

What Should You Know About Pest Control Near Pets?

When it comes to pest control and pets, it can be helpful to keep this rule of thumb in mind; if it’s toxic to humans, then it’s toxic for your pets. Pets can be even more vulnerable to pesticides, as they can absorb pesticides through their feet, not just their mouth and nose. Smaller pets will also have a lower threshold before certain chemicals become toxic. 

Over the years, strides have been made to create safer pest control options for pets. For example, natural pesticides like white vinegar or cayenne pepper are non-toxic to pets — though they may cause intestinal distress if directly ingested. Some companies are even implementing natural fly-repellent tactics in pest control. These are great options if you’re looking for a DIY answer to your pest problems. There are also pet-friendly synthetic pesticides and pest control services that you can invest in if you want a more professional solution. 

How to Find a Pet-Friendly Pest Control Company

Pet-friendly pest control companies can give you the peace of mind of a professional addressing your problem, without having to put your furry family members in danger. These companies are also a good option if you don’t have the time or money to board your pets during pest control treatments, as they use pet-safe compounds. 

Businesses can also benefit from pet-friendly pest control. By using these services, especially if you’re a pet-centric or pet-friendly business, you can be assured that you won’t be causing indirect harm to your clients. This can protect your business and your clients. The pest control businesses available in your area will largely depend on where you live, however, there are ways that you can find professional pet-friendly pest control, even if the business isn’t directly marketed as such. 

Questions to Ask Before Hiring Them

Before hiring any service people who will work closely with your home or family, it’s important to vet them. This way, you can ensure that you’re making an informed choice for everyone’s safety and well-being. When looking at pest control companies, particularly if you have concerns about your pets during treatment, you should ask the following questions:

  • Are you bonded and insured? This is a good question to ask of any pest control company. Each state regulates licenses differently, so you’ll want to make sure the company you’re considering hiring is following your state regulations. Additionally, being bonded and insured means that the pest control company is liable for any damages they may cause to your home or pets. 
  • What chemicals do you use? This should be one of the first questions you ask if you’re looking for a pet-friendly pest control company. Some pesticides, such as Carbamate insecticides and pyrethrins or pyrethroids, are more harmful to pets than others. You can ask your vet about which pesticides you need to steer clear of during pest control. You can then cross-reference with chemicals listed on their mobile app or website. 
  • We will have to vacate the premises? This is another important question for pet owners, as it will determine if they need to find care for their pets. This question can also help you decide what to do with your pet’s belongings. You don’t want any pesticides that may be dangerous to your animals settling on their beds, toys, or food dishes, as this can increase their chance of exposure.
  • What is the half-life of your chemicals? Knowing this can help you determine when it’s safe — or safer — to leave your dog unattended in treated spaces. The half-life of a chemical is when it is half-gone, or only at half-strength. Letting your dog in treated spaces after the half-life has passed can severely lower their risk of exposure. 

These questions should help you find the right pest control company for you and your pet’s safety. These businesses should be able to answer these questions over the phone, during a quote request, or they may even have an FAQ section you can reference. 

Tips for Keeping Pets Safe During Pest Control Treatments

There are several ways you can keep your pets safe, both as a pet owner and a pet-friendly business. Keeping pets safe during pest control treatments, even those that use pet-friendly pesticides, is incredibly important, as pets can’t acutely communicate when something is wrong with themselves or their surroundings. There are things that you can do before, during, and after treatment to ensure the safety of your pets. 

For Businesses

  • Disinfect any direct-contact surfaces: After treatment, you should disinfect any direct-contact surfaces. This includes counters, tables, door handles, and anywhere that food or drink would be prepped. This is important for both pet and human safety. If you are a pet-friendly business, this should also include any pet bowls and treat containers as well as your pet tools.
  • Schedule around customers with pets: If you are a pet-centric business, such as a vet, groomer, or trainer, you may want to schedule your clients around treatment times. If you can close your offices during treatment, this can be more efficient for the exterminators, as well as safer for your clients. You can do this by scheduling a work order during off-hours or free time, as well as sending rescheduled requests to clients directly. 
  • Send a notification to staff members regarding treatment: Whenever you get work done at your place of business, whether it be pest control or other hands-on work, you should send a memo to your employees. This message should detail the nature of the work, the times, as well as any hazards that may be present — such as harmful chemicals or pesticides. If you’re a pet-friendly office, this notification can help employees plan when to leave their pet at home to avoid exposure. 

For Pet Owners

There are several ways pet owners can prepare for pest control services at their homes. These may be necessary for your pet’s safety, as well as your own, depending on the nature of the services. These preparations can include: 

  • Boarding Your Pet: If you’re getting your home treated for pests during the workweek, you may need to board your pet while you’re at work. Many boarding places for pets offer day rates, as well as overnight services depending on your needs. 
  • Planning a day trip: If you’re not working or otherwise committed during treatment hours, this could be a great opportunity to plan a day trip with your pet. This can be cheaper than boarding, and create some fun bonding experiences.
  • Wash all soft surfaces: After treatment, you should launder all soft surfaces. This includes things like blankets, bedding, and soft toys. Because these are considered direct contact services, it’s important to ensure they’re free of all chemicals before your pet comes in contact with them. 
  • Disinfect all hard surfaces: Similar to soft surfaces, direct contact hard surfaces should be disinfected. This includes food and water bowls and hard toys. 
  • Know the signs of insecticide poisoning: It’s important to know the signs of insecticide poisoning, so you can react accordingly. Toxicity symptoms can vary between cats and dogs, so it’s important to be informed based on your pet type. If your pet is showing any of these symptoms, get to the vet immediately or contact animal poison control.  

Pets are often more than just companions, they’re part of the family. This is why it’s so important for owners to know that their pets are safe and protected in their homes. Partnering with the right pest control service, as well as taking necessary preparation steps, are two ways you can keep your furry family members safe during pest control treatments.

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Paula joined the Marketing team at WorkWave in April 2019. She is currently the Director Product Marketing - Pest, managing all aspects of the product marketing life cycle including campaign development, messaging, promotions, and market research for PestPac, Coalmarch and WorkWave Marketing products. She is dedicated to working closely with the Product, Sales, and other Marketing team members to ensure go-to-market plans and product adoption.