Home Safety

Is Lawn Fertilizer Safe For Dogs? All You Want To Know

There are several methods you can use to fertilize your lawn. You have the option of purchasing pre-mixed solutions or organic or synthetic fertilizers. However, a frequent query is whether or not dogs can use lawn fertilizer.

Typically, fertilizers for lawns contain vital nutrients for plant development. However, if consumed in large doses, these same nutrients can be poisonous to dogs.

Is Dog Fertilizer Safe For Lawns?

How can you tell though if your dog can safely use your lawn fertilizer? What exactly are those dangerous components in dog fertilizers? What sources exist for pet-safe lawn fertilizers?

For more information, continue reading.

Is Lawn Fertilizer Safe For Dogs? 

Dogs should not be used with conventional lawn fertilizers because they contain chemicals and synthetic ingredients that could endanger your family and pets. Fertilizers are often combined with weedkillers (herbicides), pesticides, fungicides, insecticides, and snail bait. Because of these elements, fertilizers are dangerous and toxic to dogs and other pets if consumed or inhaled. For instance, pesticides, which are meant to kill insects and other animals, are poisonous by nature. The three main categories of fertilizers are granular, liquid, and solid. None of these fertilizer types should be consumed or inhaled.

Is Fertilizer Bad For Dogs?

Some lawn fertilizers can be harmful to dogs, which you might not expect. Along with common nutrients found in large quantities or in high concentrations in organic fertilizers, such as nitrogen, iron, and potassium, cocoa mulch and rose fertilizer can be extremely harmful.

Despite being made of dog-lethal cocoa bean shells, cocoa mulch is a popular garden additive because it enriches soil with tons of benefits and nutrients. Dogs are more likely to eat cocoa mulch because of how appealing the smell is to them, leading to an illness resembling chocolate poisoning.

You should be aware of the distinction between the common and legal definitions of fertilizer before we examine these five fertilizer substitutes.

The broad definition of fertilizer is basically any substance added to soil to increase its fertility and availability of nutrients. Fertilizers sold on the market must meet minimum standards for nitrogen, phosphate, and potash according to legal requirements.

Although in no way required, these alternatives will add beneficial and healthy nutrients to your soil.

If your pet eats poisonous fertilizer, call a veterinarian.

See more about Is TruGreen Safe For Dogs?

Are Dogs Harmed By Fertilizers?

Can dogs be harmed by lawn fertilizer? Depending on the components that make up the fertilizer, it can be toxic and dangerous to dogs.

Despite the fact that the active ingredients in chemical fertilizers can be identified by their packaging, many of these packages omit to list the inert ingredients, which may contain harmful substances.

The most prevalent components of fertilizers are broken down below, starting with the most prevalent and inert ones.

Nitrogen, Phosphorus, & Potassium Fertilizers

Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are the three essential nutrients for plant growth. These are typically the main components of fertilizers. Usually, one or more of these components can be found in fertilizers. There are various advantages to each of these for your lawn, and some fertilizers include all three.

The growth of leaves and stems depends on nitrogen, flowering depends on phosphorus and disease resistance and general plant health depends on potassium.

These organic minerals usually cause no harm to our pets if they are used properly. However, if consumed in large amounts, they can seriously harm your dog’s digestive system and result in vomiting and diarrhea.

Other Ingredients

Most commercial lawn fertilizers contain some of the substances listed below, which can give your dog an allergic or toxic reaction, in addition to the three most frequent ingredients mentioned above.

  • Herbicides (i.e., organophosphates)
  • Fungicides
  • Pesticides (i.e., carbamates)
  • Arsenic
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Iron
  • Cadmium
  • Sodium
  • Calcium
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Ammonium (irritates skin and lungs)
  • Disulfoton (responsible for seizures and pancreatitis)
  • Boron
  • Cobalt
  • Disulfoton
  • Manganese

It is advised that your pets avoid the lawn until the fertilizer has been absorbed into the soil to prevent pet poisoning. Dogs may attempt to break into fertilizer bags, so keep them locked away.

Is Lawn Fertilizer Safe For Dogs All You Want To Know
Is Lawn Fertilizer Safe For Dogs? All You Want To Know

Alternatives To Fertilizers That Are Pet-safe

Even though there are many fertilizer substitutes available, very few of them are actually safe for pets.

Check out these 5 notable alternatives to see how they can help you grow your garden and protect your pets.


Compost has a wide range of advantages, but one of the best ways to improve soil fertility and feed plants is by incorporating compost into it. Additionally, compost reduces plant diseases and pests and helps the soil retain moisture. The nutrients in compost can be accessed by plants gradually over time, as opposed to all at once as with traditional fertilizers, as they are regarded as slow-release fertilizers. Read this comprehensive guide to make the most of compost in your garden.

Due to its non-harmful nature, compost is a safer fertilizer alternative for animals. In addition, the levels of phosphorus, nitrogen, and iron are lower. However, take caution to prevent your dog from eating compost. Your compost may contain dangerous mycotoxins, which are toxic fungi spores that are dangerous to eat.

Pro tip: Compost isn’t just for adding to soil; it can also be used as mulch, to revitalize your lawn, and to boost new plantings or spring flowers. Check out this useful guide for even more ideas on how to use compost.


It’s safe for dogs and fantastic for your garden to use seaweed fertilizer, also known as kelp meal fertilizer. The fact that kelp meal has a high nitrogen content, which is difficult to achieve in other fertilizer substitutes like compost, is one of its main advantages.

Seaweed fertilizer comes in a variety of forms, including granulated into a meal or powder, liquid form, either concentrated or not. The concentrated form should be avoided in case your pet accidentally consumes it, even though any version is ideal for your garden.

For even more fertilizing power, combine seaweed and fish meal.

Fish Meal Or Emulsion

A tried-and-true method for boosting plant growth is the addition of fish meal to kelp meal as fertilizer. Indigenous groups showed English settlers in Jamestown, Virginia how to catch fish and bury them in the garden to release nutrients for their plants. This granular fertilizer is safe for your pet to handle, but if it has a strong smell, take caution as your dog might be drawn to it and dig up your garden.

Fish emulsion is the right choice if you want to give your plants a quick boost without having to worry about harmful synthetic fertilizer. Before you spray this liquid fertilizer directly onto your plants, it needs to be diluted, typically with 1 tablespoon to 1 gallon of water. Dogs may be drawn to the smell of this fertilizer even though it is safe for them. It shouldn’t take more than an hour or so for the smell to go away, so try to keep them away from your garden during that time.

Lomi Dirt

With the help of the electric countertop composter Lomi, food scraps can quickly become nutrient-rich soil. Lomi dirt is a quick and efficient substitute for fertilizer because the finished product is safe for pets and fantastic for your garden. Lomi uses heat, abrasion, and oxygen to break down food scraps and produce a product that is ready to be added to your lawn or garden once you add food waste to it and activate its grow mode with a button press.

One of the most common ways to use lomi dirt is this simple, inexpensive method. For more information on using Lomi dirt in your home and garden, read what others are saying about it and this blog.

Slow Release Meal Fertilizer

When you are planting in your garden, it is a good idea to mix slow release meal fertilizers with the potting soil because they will gradually release nutrients over time, giving your plants a long-lasting food source.

It’s not difficult to locate dog-safe meal fertilizers. Your pets won’t get hurt if they come into contact with or consume bone meal, blood meal, or even feather meal.

After you’re done in the garden, keep any remaining meal fertilizers in a container that is tightly sealed and out of the reach of your dog.

What’s In Fertilizer?

The majority of lawn fertilizers are made up of natural elements (like nitrogen, potash, and phosphorous) and are frequently expressed as numbers like 10:0:40. Fortunately, most of these substances are non-toxic. Additionally, insecticides for grubs, snails, and other pests may be present in fertilizers. that generally result in mild gastrointestinal signs (e.g., drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.) when ingested directly from the bag.

Although it is uncommon for a dog to consume grass that has had fertilizer applied to it and experience severe poisoning, more severe symptoms can appear when the product is consumed directly (i.e., right out of the bag). Tremors and seizures might occur if you eat something straight out of the bag.

Keep your pets inside while you apply these products to the lawn in order to prevent any risk of poisoning to them. Pets should not be allowed on the lawn until the substance has been absorbed by the soil, for example., when the product dries if it’s a spray-on product, or after it rains if it is a pelleted product). These substances usually wash into the soil after a rainstorm when applied or diluted properly, posing little risk to dogs.

The most crucial thing is to make sure the fertilizer doesn’t contain any more hazardous ingredients; some varieties may contain iron, which can cause iron poisoning; other, less popular varieties may contain extremely hazardous insecticides like carbamates or organophosphates. Thankfully, the EPA has restricted the availability of these latter, riskier types of products. Carbamates and organophosphates can result in more serious, life-threatening clinical signs such as:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Severe lethargy/collapse
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive tearing
  • Urination
  • Abnormal heart rates
  • Difficulty breathing (due to bronchoconstriction)
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Death

When in doubt, lock the garage door and keep these fertilizers out of reach even though these more hazardous varieties aren’t commonly found on the market these days.

Symptoms Of Fertilizer Poisoning In Dogs

Here are some signs that your dog may exhibit if it has consumed or inhaled fertilizer.

  • Ulceration in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Redness on the skin
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Tearing and redness of the eyes
  • Excessive blinking
  • Vomiting
  • Burns on the pads (if your pet walked through in your fertilizer application)
  • Licking or chewing on feet
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy and sleepiness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing

Which Turf Fertilizer Is Safe For Dogs?

Which lawn fertilizer is safe for dogs to use?

While some lawn and garden products contain chemicals that pose a risk to our four-legged companions, many brands offer products that are 100% pet-safe. A pet-safe fertilizer’s all-natural composition is made up of non-toxic ingredients to help ensure that you never have to choose between a lovely green space and your pet’s safety. Your pets won’t be exposed to harmful chemicals by using a fertilizer that is safe for them. Additionally, using pet-friendly fertilizers is a great choice that will undoubtedly shorten the time it takes to allow your pet to run free on your lawn.

One easy way to determine whether a particular lawn fertilizer is likely to be safe is to look for “signal” words on the label, such as “pet-safe,” “non-toxic,” and “EPA” certified when you choose lawn products.

Nevertheless, just because a product is “pet-friendly” does not mean it won’t cause harm to your pets. Even though the drying and absorption processes will go more quickly, you should still keep your pet away from the area during and after the application to minimize risks. Before letting your pet into the treated area, be sure to read the instructions on the package.

If you are hesitant or afraid of using lawn chemicals, think about letting your lawn grow naturally instead. Compost or bone meal are examples of natural fertilizers, and corn gluten can be used to control weed growth.

Where Can I Purchase Pet-safe Lawn Fertilizer?

The internet is the best resource for finding pet-safe lawn fertilizer. To find the product that best suits your needs, read the reviews of our top pet-safe grass fertilizers up top.

We looked in Home Depot and Lowe’s for pet-friendly lawn fertilizers, but there weren’t many options, and some didn’t even mention pets on the label, so we decided against them.

When it comes to lawn fertilizer, a lot of products on the market assert that they are safe for pets. Before using any product on your lawn, though, it’s important to conduct some research.

Can Dogs Use Organic Lawn Fertilizer?

Additionally, organic fertilizers need to be applied with care. Although many people believe that organic products are more natural and therefore safer for humans and animals, it is still important to use fertilizer with caution.

This is especially true of organic fertilizers. Dogs especially will be attracted to the smell of organic fertilizer since they are made from plants or animal byproducts like manure, guano, dried and powdered blood, ground bone, crushed shells, finely pulverized fish, phosphate rock, and wood.

Even though these products might be safe for plants, if dogs consume them, they could be dangerous. You could spend a lot of money treating your dog’s bowel obstruction or digestive irritation if it consumes too much of this product.

To ensure the safety of your dog, handle, use, and store organic fertilizers with the same caution as inorganic fertilizers.

Is Dog Slow-release Fertilizer Safe?

A type of fertilizer called slow-release fertilizer is made to release its nutrients gradually over time. This could be advantageous for plants because it could lower the chance of nutrient burn and encourage even growth.

However, some slow-release fertilizers contain chemicals that, if consumed by dogs, could be harmful. For instance, some types of slow-release fertilizer have prills or pellets that have urea-formaldehyde coatings. The EPA claims that formaldehyde has been linked to cancer in animals.[4] Other slow-release fertilizers are covered in polymers made of sulfur or plastic resin. All of these substances have the potential to be toxic to dogs in large quantities, and if they come into contact with their skin, they can irritate and burn them. Because of this, it’s crucial to use slow-release fertilizer around dogs with caution and keep them away from the area where it’s being applied.

Can Dogs Use Nitrogen Fertilizer?

Canine harm from nitrogen lawn fertilizer? Nitrogen is present in the majority of lawn fertilizers. If used properly, these organic substances typically don’t harm dogs. However, if consumed in large amounts, they can seriously harm your dog’s digestive system and result in vomiting and diarrhea.

Additionally, dogs may be sensitive to the smell of nitrogen fertilizer, so it’s important to keep them away from the area while it’s being applied. Second, your dog may experience gastrointestinal distress if he consumes some fertilizer.

Are Puppies Safe To Use Lawn Fertilizer?

Puppies are poisoned by the majority of commercial lawn fertilizers. Make sure your puppy is not exposed to them, even if they are not technically allergic to your puppy. Puppies may still be more vulnerable to fertilizer poisoning than adult dogs because of their immature immune systems, even though the majority of lawn fertilizers claim to be safe once they are dry. Be especially careful not to expose your puppy to fertilizers because puppies are more likely to eat or lick anything on the grass.

Breeds Prone To Fertilizer Allergies

Allergies to fertilizer are more common in certain breeds.

  • Beagles
  • Scottish Terriers
  • Shetland Sheepdogs
  • West Highland White Terriers
  • Wirehair Terriers

Frequently Asked Questions

For dog owners, we’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about fertilizers and canine safety.

Are Dogs Safe To Use Scott’s Lawn Fertilizer?

Dogs are welcome around Scotts Turf Builder fertilizer. Scotts Turf Builder won’t hurt your dog, other pets, or family members if you use it according to the instructions on the bag. Products that only contain fertilizer, like Turf Builder, don’t endanger your pet because they contain non-toxic ingredients. To control or eliminate weeds, some Scotts products, however, combine fertilizers and herbicides. These products might be harmful to your pet’s health. If you use a blend of fertilizer and herbicide, it’s crucial to watch out for your pet because these products have the potential to be extremely toxic.

Is Dog Safe Liquid Lawn Fertilizer?

The majority of liquid lawn fertilizers have a different answer depending on the ingredients. The three elements nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are used to make the majority of liquid fertilizers. Even though these are necessary nutrients for plants, large doses can be harmful to dogs. Fortunately, some liquid fertilizers are made specifically to be pet-safe. So pick a product for pet-friendly yards if you want to apply liquid fertilizer to your lawn without being concerned for your dog’s safety.

The quicker absorption rates of liquid lawn fertilizers compared to solid or granular fertilizers are a huge advantage. This implies that after application, pets can return to your lawn more quickly.

Do Dogs Safely Consume Vigoro Fertilizer?

Since there was no mention of Vigoro fertilizer being pet-friendly on the label, it is safe to assume that Vigoro fertilizer is not suitable for dogs. Animals should be removed from the area before using the Vigoro Weed & Feed Florida lawn fertilizer, according to the manufacturer. Until the product is watered in and given time to dry, keep pets off the lawn.

Do Dogs Safely Consume Milorganite?

When used as recommended and kept out of reach, microorganite is safe for kids and pets. The manufacturer, however, warns that there’s a chance your dog could experience varying degrees of discomfort or become ill if it ingests the product.

Is Trugreen Lawn Care Safe For Pets?

All of the products that TruGreen uses have U.S. registration for use. Health, safety, and environmental considerations all play a role in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s selection process. Prior to allowing their families and pets to resume enjoying their lawns, TruGreen advises customers to wait until the fertilizer application has dried. The drying process typically takes between one and two hours, depending on the weather.

Final Words

While lawns and gardens make wonderful play and relaxation areas for dogs, it’s important to keep in mind that they can also contain dangers like chemical fertilizers and pesticides. In particular if you have dogs, keep in mind that your lawn is an extension of your home. This open area of grass ought to be a secure area where your pets can run free and where your children can play without feeling uncomfortable.

If you can, hire a pro to apply lawn fertilizer. Reading the label carefully, adhering to the instructions, being aware of the effects of exposure, and not overapplying are all important when using lawn chemicals on your own lawn. Wear personal protective equipment when using lawn chemicals because repeated exposure and improper handling can make them dangerous. The label will state when it is safe for dogs to re-enter the area after the product has been applied.

To reduce all risks related to fertilizing your lawn, we highly advise using pet-safe lawn fertilizers.

Thank you for reading.