Is Pest Control Safe for My Family and Pets?

Is Pest Control Safe for My Family and Pets?

Modern pest control techniques are designed to attack pests, not pets or children. With the latest in Integrated Pest Management technology, pest control specialists are able to provide targeted applications that minimize the potential of humans or pets coming into contact with any pesticide products. Nonetheless, in order to drop the already tiny risk even further, it only makes sense to follow a few simple precautions. Here are the things you should consider when hiring a pest management service.

Pest Control

Balance the risks

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America found that 90% of allergy specialists have referred a patient with allergies to a pest management company because of the allergens carried by household pests. Insects and other pests are also known carriers of bacteria and diseases. Weigh the risks of allowing pests into your home against the slight risks of professional pest management.

Tell your pest control technician

When you call to schedule your service appointment, let the office know if you have kids or pets in the house. While all reputable pest control services make a habit of using products and treatment methods that are relatively safe, you might receive additional instructions for protecting your child or pet. You might also be asked to crate pets to avoid them getting too close to the technician during pesticide application.

Be sure to tell the technician who arrives to complete your service as well. While good companies strive to make sure that everyone has all the information they need, some things occasionally slip through the cracks. Ask the tech what to do with your pets and children while he or she works, and how long you will need to keep them away.

Get written information

Ask for the MSDS (material safety data sheets) for all the products that your technician will use. These documents provide a great deal of scientific and technical data about the product, including its active ingredients and safe handling practices. Also ask your technician to provide a written copy of any instructions he or she gives you to ensure that you do not forget anything.

If you do not understand how to read the MSDS, ask your technician. Most pest control techs are experts in the products they use, and will be glad to explain anything that is confusing. If you have any concerns, speak with your doctor about the chemicals listed on the MSDS.

Discuss options

In many cases, multiple products can achieve the same or similar effects. One distribution method might be better than another for your family’s unique concerns. A good pest control company will have informed employees who understand the products and services they sell. If the person you talk to seems uninformed or uninterested in spending time with you, consider it a red flag. One poorly informed employee could be an anomaly, but two or more often demonstrate a lack of adequate training standards. Proceed cautiously and consider choosing a different company instead.

Never allow a technician to begin work until you feel entirely comfortable. You might find yourself responsible for paying the bill for a service that makes you nervous. Of course, you should never sign a contract for future work, especially continuing service over time, unless you feel absolutely certain about what will happen.

Call your vet

Pest control technicians come into frequent contact with average, healthy, cats and dogs. They may have less experience with young kittens or puppies, more exotic pets, and animals with health problems. Birds in particular are susceptible to respiratory problems, and fish tanks provide an open route for particles to settle. A quick call to the vet with the MSDS and proposed application method in hand can give you tremendous peace of mind and help you decide how to proceed.

Call your doctor

If you are pregnant, have a newborn baby, or have any health concerns that make you reluctant to seek pest control, call your doctor for advice. In most cases, the risk of illness from an untreated pest problem is vastly higher than the risk from exposure to the heavily targeted products and applications used by professional pest control services. Nonetheless, pest control technicians are not doctors and cannot give you medical advice. It is always best to seek the opinion of your health care provider if you feel uncomfortable.

Stay away

If a pest control product will be applied in an open area, your technician will tell you how long to avoid the area, which is typically the length of time that the product takes to dry. But every product, application, and personal situation is different, and different instructions might apply to crawling babies or pets. For example, your dog might dig up buried pest control products, or your cat might decide to eat a mouse that was killed by pesticide. Before your technician leaves, confirm his or her instructions and ask if there are any areas that you should keep your kids or pets out of for a longer period of time.

Although it is not usually necessary, some people feel most comfortable taking their kids and pets out of the house during the actual treatment process. If this is the case, arrange to meet your tech afterwards or call the office to ask any last-minute questions. A good pest control company will be patient and understanding. Remember, it is your money, your home, and your family, and you always have the right to do what you feel is best.

University Termite & Pest Control Inc. has served the Tucson area for more than 40 years. Give us a call today at 520-886-4146 (Tucson) or at 800-887-4146 (toll-free) to schedule your free, no-obligation inspection.


Erin Emanuel


  1. It’s important to be safe when it comes to pest control. The substance they use may be dangerous, but pest control companies can inform you how to use pest control safely. That way you can get rid of the pests, but at no cost to your family’s health.

  2. Having safe and effective pest control seems really important to keep my family and pets safe. Lately, I’ve been seeing a few rodents and other bugs scurrying around my home, so I need a pest control company to do something about it. Telling my technician if I have kids and pets at home seems like great advice so that I can be sure that they use products that will be safe around my home. That way, I can be sure that the pests in my home will be eradicated while keeping my children and dogs safe. Thanks for the tips!

  3. This question come up a lot. Glad that you explain it in detail to educate others on the potential risks and preventative measures. Thanks!

  4. I like the suggestion to be careful in balancing the risks. Pests have been an issue for a while now, but my wife doesn’t necessarily feel comfortable letting someone in to professionally deal with them. I’m hoping to convince her otherwise, and this post was a great example of the precautions you can take to make sure you’re protected before any work gets done. Definitely passing it on to her.

  5. I find this very interesting. I would have never thought that allergies would be caused or increased because of pest. I would much rather risk professional pest management over having pests in my house. Like you talked about, I think there are new advancements in the way pest are managed that help to minimize the negative effects of if any of pest management.

  6. You make a great point that many pests can actually increase the number of allergens or other triggers like bacteria into homes and businesses for people that have asthma. It can be a really good idea to talk to your exterminator about any potential health risks that your family might have and which treatment options will be most effective and safe. I’ll pass this article on to my sister. She has a son that has mild asthma.

  7. Its an important topic of discussion, pest control products may be harmful to pest or children. Yes it is correct before taking service from any pest control company we need to talk with them, which kind of products they are using, how much they are effective, whether harmful to pets or human etc.. But if we try to take herbal pest control service then it will be better to stay away from all pest and also not harmful

  8. We had a bed bug outbreak in our home. It was a disaster, and needed to be addressed immediately. It is good advice to consult your pest control company about what is safe. In our case we just stayed away for a time.

  9. I have raccoons that have made a home underneath my deck. I just worry about getting a pest control service. Because I have two cats that also love to hang down there. I just wonder if it’s safe to get pest control. Thanks for the precautions to follow.

  10. What sort of questions would you ask your vet about pest control? We discovered termites in our attic and we want to be able to get rid of them soon. I am worried about our pets so I want to follow your tip about talking with a vet. Any advice would be much appreciated, thanks!

  11. The best way is to do safely and correctly the use pesticides. Keep your pets and children away from areas where pesticides have been applied.

  12. Aside from informing the pest control company that you have kids and/or pets in the house, you should also ask them what you should do before and after they do the pest control methods.

  13. Certain animals are definitely a lot more susceptible to health problems related to pesticides, but taking the proper precautions and asking appropriate questions should result in a successful spraying without putting your pets at risk. Thanks for sharing!

  14. I think the best way to keep pests out of your home is to take preventive measures to make sure your home isn’t a conducive environment for them. That being said, the advice you give to keeping your home clean as the first measure of keeping pests out was very helpful. I definitely agree that keeping your home clean will eliminate any harboring environments for pests. Plus, this is probably the easiest, simplest and cheapest way to keep them out, too. Thank you for sharing!

  15. Thank you for the suggestion to ask for the MSDS (material safety data sheets). This is something I don’t think most people would think to ask for. Do you know if it would be posted online somewhere? Great information. Thank you for sharing!

  16. Thanks for pointing out that we must ask the expert regarding what we should do with our pets when they come to fix the termite problem that we have. As you said, this will keep them safe. We just have termites in our garage, and our dogs might be affected by the chemical that they might use since their sense of smell is strong.

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