You might not be the type of person to spray your lawn and garden with Roundup weed killer … but that doesn’t mean your dog
Roundup is everywhere. It’s in your dog’s food, in his water and on the ground. Since your dog is exposed to it daily, the million-dollar question is … is Roundup safe for dogs?
Research shows it’s not …
What Is Roundup?
Roundup is a herbicide. It’s available in a bottle for home application and it’s also widely used by farmers and by cities for weed control. Its primary ingredient is glyphosate. But it also contains surfactants to help the glyphosate cling to the plants.
Glyphosate is one of the most widely used herbicides in the United States. It’s used in agriculture, on your neighbor’s lawns and gardens, in forestry and even for aquatic weed control.
How Does Glyphosate Work?
Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide. This means it kills almost all plants. It does this by stopping an enzyme pathway called the Shikimate pathway. Plants, algae, fungi and bacteria all use this metabolic route to manufacture essential amino acids such as tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylalanine.
Dogs harbor up to a whopping 30 times more glyphosate than humans.
The herbicide also chelates or blocks the plant’s access to vital nutrients including calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron, copper, nickel, cobalt, boron, molybdenum, selenium and potassium. Glyphosate basically gives the plant AIDS … it takes away its nutrients and weakens its immune system.
And it’s doing the same to your dog …
How Likely Is Your Dog To Be Exposed To Roundup Or Glyphosate?
Researchers tested 50 people in California between 1993-1996 and 2014-2016. They found that the number of people who tested positive for the presence of glyphosate increased … as did the amount of glyphosate.
A lab at University California San Francisco reports that a whopping 93% of humans have glyphosate in their urine. The average sample tested at 3.096 parts per billion (PPB) with children having the highest levels. People living in the midwest and the west had the highest levels. Children’s levels are so high that US legislation has even been introduced to try and limit the exposure.
And this is a major issue. In fact, a new study found that Glyphosate increases the risk of cancer to those exposed to it by 41%. But the amount of glyphosate in humans is much lower than it is in our pets … A pilot study by HRI Labs found that the glyphosate levels in dogs are 30 times higher than in humans.
So what does that mean for their health?
Roundup And Lawn Chemicals Are Linked To Cancer In Dogs
Roughly half of dogs today get cancer … and that percentage is skyrocketing. And glyphosate exposure could be a big part of this.
A 6 year study at Tufts University linked lawn chemicals to a 70% increase in the risk of lymphoma.
A growing body of research shows Roundup is an endocrine disruptor, kills beneficial gut bacteria and damages DNA.
Lawn chemicals have also been shown to increase the risk of bladder cancer in a 2013 study. The researchers also found glyphosate in the urine of dogs living in homes that
Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. Cancer researchers unanimously voted for it. In 2017, California listed glyphosate as a known human carcinogen under its Proposition 65 law. Ironically, the US government is much more tolerant of glyphosate.
The EPA continues to insist the chemical isn’t harmful as currently used. And US Food and Drug Administration 2009-2015 Commissioner Margaret Hamberg tried to make us feel better about glyphosate’s link to cancer:
“Sure, you could say that glyphosate causes cancer, of course it does … but only when swallowed in small amounts over a long period of time.”
Yeah, Margaret … that only applies to EVERYBODY!
Is Roundup Safe For Dogs?
That would be a big old no.
In the last 20 years, scientists have documented the health consequences of Roundup and glyphosate and they’ve found that people who are sick have higher levels of glyphosate than people who are healthy.
A growing body of research shows Roundup is an endocrine disruptor, kills beneficial gut bacteria and damages DNA.
Alzheimer’s Disease: glyphosate causes the same oxidative stress observed in Alzheimer patients
Autism: researchers believe the link may be gut dysbiosis
Birth Defects: glyphosate can block the vitamin A pathways that are crucial for normal development
Brain Cancer: the risk of brain cancer increases with exposure
Cancer: cancer rates are much higher in areas where Roundup is used
Heart Disease: a disruption of biosynthesis of amino acids is linked to heart disease
Liver Disease: even very low doses of Roundup show a disruption of liver cell function
Kidney Disease: Scientists have concluded that an increase in kidney failure among agricultural workers in Central America, Sri Lanka and India is likely due to glyphosate
Reproductive Problems: glyphosate can impact sperm production and decrease testosterone levels at puberty
Leaky Gut: glyphosate can cause severe tryptophan deficiency, which leads to inflammatory bowel disease and inability to absorb nutrients
Roundup Is Everywhere
Your dog isn’t just exposed to Roundup when he walks on treated grass. Dogs are exposed to glyphosate every day. It’s in their food, it’s in their urine, in the air, and in water.
With the introduction of genetically modified (GMO) foods, Roundup is now everywhere. It’s estimated we use 20 billion pounds of glyphosate globally … which is 15 times more than when Roundup Ready crops were introduced in 1996. Nearly 75% of all glyphosate used on crops has been used in the last 10 years.
The first crops to become Roundup Ready were cotton, corn and soybeans. Since 1996, more and more foods are becoming genetically engineered. Here are the top 4:
- Corn: 88% of corn grown in the US is GMO or Roundup Ready.
- Soy: 93% of soy is GMO. Soy can appear on labels as lecithin, tocopherols (vitamin E supplement) oils and proteins.
- Cottonseed: 94% is GMO and is used for vegetable oils
- Alfalfa: Nearly all alfalfa in the US is GMO. Alfalfa is found in animal feeds and will accumulate in the tissues of the meats your dog eats.
Apples have recently been genetically modified as well as potatoes, squash, rice, plums, flax, tomatoes, beets and more. Every year, more and more foods will be Roundup Ready. It’s estimated nearly 70% of processed human foods contain GMO ingredients … and percentages for pet foods are likely much higher.
But glyphosate isn’t just in GMO foods …
Roundup is often used on non GMO crops like wheat, barley, oats, beans, peas, flax, rye, buckwheat, millet, beets, potatoes and other crops before harvesting. Roundup is sprayed on these crops to dry them and speed up harvesting. This is called desiccating or pre-harvesting.
Even organic crops may be desiccated with Roundup. So even if your food label claims it’s
Roundup In Pet Foods
Glyphosate researchers Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff tested a small sample of pet foods for the presence of glyphosate. Every sample they tested contained glyphosate.
Kibble is more than 100 times higher in glyphosate than any commercial raw dog food. But even if you’re raw feeding your dog (whether homemade or pre-made) … you still have to worry about glyphosate in meat and bones. You may not think of these foods as having glyphosate … but remember what the cows and other animals are eating. It’s usually corn and soy. Even grass-fed animals may graze in corn stubble fields where glyphosate was used.
So if you’re not feeding organic, grass-fed meats, they’ll expose your dog to glyphosate. This happens for two reasons. Glyphosate mimics glycine, so it can replace this amino acid in the body. And because glyphosate bonds with calcium, it’s absorbed by the bones too.
The EPA’s tolerance level for meat and meat byproducts if 5 ppm (parts per million), and HRI Labs testing shows this is the level of glyphosate in most commercial raw foods … but kibble ranges from 200 to 660 ppm.
So it’s safest for your dog to feed a raw diet, and try to give your dog grass-fed bones and meat if you can.
Roundup Safety: The Microbiome
Remember that Shikimate pathway that glyphosate destroys?
While your dog might not rely on the Shikimate pathway for his energy, the bacteria in his microbiome do. Your dog’s immune system is formed of trillions of little microorganisms that live on his skin, in his digestive tract and on his body. Collectively, these little communities of bacteria and bugs are called the microbiome. The microbiome is so critical to your dog’s health, it can even communicate with his brain.
Glyphosate destroys these critical bacteria by disabling their Shikimate pathway. Intestinal bacteria produce your dog’s vitamins and short chain fatty acids. They crowd out harmful bacteria and viruses by competing for nutrients. Destroying these friendly bugs can cripple your dog’s immune system … and his health.
And glyphosate can also directly impact your dog. Just as it binds to nutrients and minerals in plants, it will do the same in your dog.
And the worst part is, glyphosate will accumulate in your dog’s kidneys and prevent him from detoxifying. And kidney disease is the second leading cause of death in dogs today.
How To Minimize The Damage
As I said earlier, you can’t avoid glyphosate. And neither can your dog.
But there’s research that shows you may be able to repair some of the harm it does to your dog’s microbiome.
2014 research by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Germany’s Leipzig University, successfully reversed some of the toxic effects of glyphosate in cows. They studied 380 dairy cows with chronic botulism caused by GMO feeds containing glyphosate.
The cows received three supplements for several weeks …
- Sauerkraut juice
- Humic acid
After the 6 month study period, the cows were healthier and had significantly reduced levels of glyphosate in their urine.
Several articles cite bentonite clay and fulvic acid as other supplements that help reduce glyphosate damage.
Another study at the University of Caen, France, used herbal formulas to help detoxify glyphosate in human liver cells. These formulas included …
- Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis)
- Burdock Root (Arctium Lappa)
- Milk Thistle (Carduus marianus)
- Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)
- Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus)
So … adding some of these supplements to your dog’s diet may repair some of the harm Roundup does to his microbiome.
That’s what I’m doing for my dogs. However hard you try, you can’t get away from glyphosate. But you can take some steps to minimize the damage.
Print out this Free Guide and share it with your
Mills PJ et al. Excretion of the Herbicide Glyphosate in Older Adults Between 1993 and 2016. JAMA. 2017;318(16):1610–1611.
Luoping Zhang et al. Exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides and risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma: A meta-analysis and supporting evidence, Mutation Research/Reviews in Mutation Research, Volume 781, 2019
Takashima-Uebelhoer BB et al. Household chemical exposures and the risk of canine malignant lymphoma, a model for human non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Environ Res. 2012;112:171-176.
Knapp DW et al. Detection of herbicides in the urine of pet dogs following home lawn chemical application. Sci Total Environ. 2013 Jul 1;456-457:34-41.
Krüger M, Schledorn P, Schrödl W, Hoppe HW, Lutz W, et al. (2014) Detection of Glyphosate Residues in Animals and Humans. J Environ Anal Toxicol 4: 210.
Daiane Cattani et al. Mechanisms Underlying The Neurotoxicity Induced By Glyphosate-Based Herbicide In Immature Rat Hippocampus: Involvement Of Glutamate Excitotoxicity. Toxicology. 2014 Mar 14
Samsel ! and Seneff S. Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases. Entropy, 2013, 15, 1416-1463
Garry VF et al. Birth defects, season of conception, and sex of children born to pesticide applicators living in the Red River Valley of Minnesota, USA. Environ Health Perspect. 2002;110 Suppl 3(Suppl 3):441-449.
Shim YK, et al. Parental exposure to pesticides and childhood brain cancer: U.S. Atlantic coast childhood brain cancer study. Environ Health Perspect. 2009;117(6):1002-1006.
Céline Gasnier et al.Glyphosate-based herbicides are toxic and endocrine disruptors in human cell lines. Toxicology, Volume 262, Issue 3, 2009, Pages 184-191.
Krüger M, Shehata AA, Schrödl W, Rodloff A. Glyphosate suppresses the antagonistic effect of Enterococcus spp. on Clostridium botulinum. Anaerobe. 2013 Apr;20:74-8.
Gasnier C, et al. Defined plant extracts can protect human cells against combined xenobiotic effects. J Occup Med Toxicol. 2011 Jan 20;6(1):3.
Gasnier C, Benachour N, Clair E, et al. Dig1 protects against cell death provoked by glyphosate-based herbicides in human liver cell lines. J Occup Med Toxicol. 2010;5:29. Published 2010 Oct 27. doi:10.1186/1745-6673-5-29