National Pesticide Information Center



Pesticides and Animal Health

Animals come into contact with pesticides in many ways:

  • Pets may be exposed when we use pesticides in and around our homes and gardens.
  • Pesticides are used on pets and livestock to get rid of fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.
  • Animals may eat mice and rats that were poisoned by pesticides.
  • Animals may eat pesticides that smell attractive, such as a rodent, gopher, or slug baits.
  • Livestock and honeybees may be exposed to pesticides from direct application, applications to barns and pastures, or drift from nearby agricultural crops.
  • Wildlife may also be unintentionally exposed to pesticides by eating poisoned animals or application of forestry pesticides.

All pesticides have some level of toxicity. Even the least-toxic products can cause health problems if an animal is exposed to enough of it. The risk of health problems depends not only on how toxic the ingredients are, but also on the amount of exposure to the product.

Some animals may be more sensitive than others to the effects of certain pesticides. For more information on the health risks of a given pesticide to animals, contact NPIC for assistance.

To learn more about animals and pesticides, choose from the following topics:

If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Last updated April 1, 2014