Dogs can be inquisitive creatures, wanting to smell, taste, roll around, and chew everything in sight. This includes your lawn and everything in it – even lawn fertilizer. If your dog has ingested or has been exposed to trace amounts of lawn fertilizer, an upset stomach will be the worst thing to expect, but large amounts of it can be harmful.
Lawn fertilizer can be harmful for your dog, depending on the type of fertilizer and the degree and type of exposure (prolonged skin contact, ingestion, or inhalation). There are treatments and preventative measures you can take to keep fertilizer from harming your dog.
If your canine chewed on a bit of fertilizer, don’t worry. There are ways to prevent it from happening again and, of course, tips for managing your pet’s side effects. We are here to help you both and suggest alternatives to commercial lawn fertilizers.
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What To Do About Fertilizer Poisoning?
If you think your dog has ingested fertilizer, do not panic. Instead, call your vet if you do not know how much was ingested. The alternative is to call ASPCA (888) 426-4435 or Pet Poison Control at (800) 213-6680 directly.
In many cases, you may not be aware that your pet has been exposed to or has ingested fertilizer. But, according to Wag!, you will notice the following symptoms if:
- Irritation and redness on the skin
- Watery and red eyes
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Abdominal pain
These symptoms can range from mild to severe. Call your vet or the ASPCA or Pet Poison Control (numbers listed above) if your dog is exhibiting severe symptoms, such as collapse or severe vomiting or diarrhea, call your vet or the ASPCA or Pet Poison Control (numbers listed above).
In most mild cases, home-based and over-the-counter treatments will take care of the problem and you will not need to make an emergency call to your vet or a hotline. The type of treatment you should use will depend on the symptoms. The treatments below apply to mild cases. However, you cannot go wrong by contacting your vet.
In these mild cases, you may be advised to induce vomiting so that you get the toxins out of the system by giving your dog small doses of hydrogen peroxide. If the fertilizer is on your dog’s skin or coat, you should bathe it and keep rinsing until it has thoroughly rinsed off.
What Types of Fertilizer Are Less Harmful to Your Dog?
Not all fertilizers are the same. They have varying amounts of chemicals, which means that some are more toxic than others – to pets and humans. Lawn fertilizers have three ingredients in common: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which act as nutrients for soil and plants. The high nitrogen content in some fertilizers can be toxic to pets and children.
At many home improvement stores, you will find four types of fertilizers:
- Liquid/water soluble
These fertilizers can be either synthetic or organic. Most commercial fertilizers are synthetic and fast-acting and composed of inorganic matter. In recent years, organic fertilizers have seen increased popularity since their damage to the environment is minimal in comparison.
There are lawn fertilizers that are organic and less harmful to your dog and other pets. While organic fertilizers are less harmless, they are not completely hazard-free for your dog. If by chance, they are ingested in large amounts, they can be harmful.
Bone Meal Fertilizers Are Less Toxic Than Conventional Fertilizers
Bone meal fertilizer is an organic fertilizer rich in phosphorus, calcium, and nitrogen. According to Gardener’s Path, it is a staple item on the shelves of garden centers. It is made from meat bone waste that is processed through steam and pulverized into powder.
Despite being touted as organic, pet, and child-friendly, meal bone fertilizer can still be toxic compared to conventional fertilizers. You should take the necessary precautions to keep your dog out of it.
Grass-Clippings Are an All-Natural Option
Yes, the plain old grass from your lawn. After mowing, you can recycle the grass clippings – preferably clippings that are an inch or longer. Overall, they reduce the need for fertilizer. Ensure that the clippings remain dry and free of herbicides.
Seaweed Is a Great Alternative Fertilizer
Seaweed is another alternative to conventional fertilizers, a nuisance to some and a “gift from Poseidon” to others. It can improve the porosity and structure of your soil. When tilled and turned, seaweed’s nutritional properties stimulate the soil’s bacteria, making it effective for plant growth.
If you live near a beach, seaweed can be purchased online, in powder form or as a spray-on liquid (please note that, if you do live near a beach, collecting fresh seaweed may be prohibited in some places). Seaweed should be dried out and mixed into compost piles or pulverized down to powder.
Organic fertilizers have fewer chemicals and fewer toxins. Overall, this makes them safer for your pets. However, the fertilizers we have described are byproducts of meat, various food scraps, and plants, making them as tempting as steak for your dog.
How to Keep Your Dog Away from Fertilizer?
Whether you use a conventional or an organic, DIY fertilizer for your lawn, the best thing you can do is to keep your dog away from the supply. Different types of lawn fertilizers can be harmful to your dog, so it is a good idea to take a few precautions – especially basic ones.
The first thing you should do to keep your dog safe is straightforward: follow the instructions.
To keep your dog away from fertilizer, follow the waiting period. There is a waiting period after applying fertilizer to your lawn. Keep your dog off your lawn during that specified time–per instructions. If you used a dry fertilizer, it is recommended that you wait until after the next rainfall.
The same applies to liquid-spray fertilizer:
- Follow instructions
- Allow drying for one day
- Wait until after rainfall
Your dog will be free to run, roll, and frolic – with great abandon – once again. But there is more to prevention than just following the instructions that come with your preferred fertilizer brand. Another key aspect is storage and location. While a dog can be exposed to fertilizer by rolling around in it, you do not want your pet to find its way into the fertilizer bag.
Conventional lawn fertilizers should be stored in their original bags and in a cool, dry, and dark location. It is important to keep moisture and sunlight out. You may want to add another layer of protection by storing the bag in a tightly sealed container – one that your doggo cannot chew its way through!
The main suggestion is to keep your dog away from the source and minimize exposure to the chemicals in fertilizers, particularly commercial ones.
Fertilizers Will Not Harm Your Dog
The truth is that even the most organic and “all-natural” fertilizers can be harmful. Your dog will most likely be exposed to it by rolling around lawn. But you do not need to choose between a well-maintained lawn and the health and safety of your pet. If you carefully follow the instructions of your fertilizer, store it away in a safe and unreachable place, and minimize chances of exposure, your dog will be safe.
“Fertilizer Poisoning in Dogs.” Wag! – https://wagwalking.com/condition/fertilizers-poisoning
“How to Treat a Poisoned Dog or Cat.” Pet Meds. – https://www.1800petmeds.com/education/treatment-poisoned-dog-cat-10.html