Help! My Dog Ate Fertilizer! Here’s What You Need to Know

Chemical fertilizer on soil background

Whether you’ve just fertilized your lawn or watered your beloved plants, your furry friend may find their way to this common household product. But is fertilizer safe for dogs? Should you be concerned if your dog ingests fertilizer? Let’s dive into the world of plant-boosting products and find out.

Why Do Dogs Find Fertilizer Irresistible?

For some dogs, eating things they shouldn’t is a never-ending adventure. Others may suffer from a medical disorder called pica. Regardless, there’s a good chance that your pooch will indulge in something they shouldn’t at some point. Dogs can be enticed by fertilizer if they walk through it and then lick it off their paws. Many fertilizers, especially organic ones, contain ingredients like blood or fish, which are tempting for dogs. Additionally, some fertilizers are mixed with a corn cob base, making them even more attractive to our canine companions.

Dog in soil in the street

Potential Risks of Fertilizer for Dogs

Fertilizers can be toxic to dogs, but the level of toxicity depends on the type of fertilizer. Most fertilizers contain a combination of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. They may also include other minerals such as copper, manganese, and iron. The major toxic compounds in standard garden fertilizers are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and iron. Fortunately, these compounds are poorly absorbed and typically cause gastric upset, including drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. However, if a large amount of fertilizer is ingested, impaction, constipation, and bowel obstruction can occur. Fertilizers mixed with insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, or other additives pose greater danger to pets, as some of these ingredients can be extremely toxic, even fatal.

Mold contamination is another concern, especially in open bags of fertilizer that have been stored for a while. Moldy fertilizer can contain mycotoxins, which are hazardous to dogs. If your dog has consumed fertilizer, it’s important to check for signs of mold before seeking veterinary assistance.

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How Much Fertilizer is Harmful to Dogs?

The toxic dose of fertilizer for dogs depends on the type of fertilizer and the dog’s size. As a general guideline, if a dog ingests approximately 0.5g of fertilizer per 2lb of body weight, it is cause for concern. For example, if you have a 20lb dog that consumes just a teaspoon of fertilizer, it is advisable to consult a vet. The same calculation applies to liquid fertilizers – if your dog consumes 5ml of liquid fertilizer, it’s best to seek professional advice.

Curious dog watching when working with a pitchfork in the garden

Recognizing Fertilizer Poisoning Symptoms in Dogs

The initial signs of fertilizer toxicity in dogs usually manifest as gastrointestinal upset. Vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and nausea are common early symptoms. In more severe cases or with larger ingestions, abdominal pain, stiffness, weakness, or seizures may occur. If your dog exhibits abnormal-colored gums, seizures, or difficulty breathing, immediate veterinary attention is necessary.

My Dog Ate Fertilizer – What Should I Do?

The appropriate course of action when a dog consumes fertilizer depends on the type of fertilizer and the specific circumstances. In some cases, no treatment may be necessary, especially if a young, large dog ingests a small amount of natural fertilizer. However, it’s crucial to consult a veterinarian and avoid making such decisions independently.

For dogs that require veterinarian intervention, the treatment plan will be determined based on when the fertilizer was ingested and the symptoms exhibited. If ingestion occurred within the last few hours, the vet may induce vomiting to eliminate the fertilizer from the dog’s system. If symptoms of fertilizer poisoning are already apparent, there is no specific antidote, and the vet will focus on managing the symptoms. This may involve administering medications to control vomiting and diarrhea, protecting the gastrointestinal tract, providing fluids to prevent dehydration, and offering pain relief if necessary. In rare cases, surgery may be required to address bowel obstruction caused by a significant ingestion of fertilizer.

Further reading:  A Guide to Watering Your Lawn After Fertilizing

Siberian husky lying on the ground eating grass

FAQs: What to Do if Your Dog Eats Fertilizer

How long after fertilizing can I let my dog outside?
Always refer to the instructions on your fertilizer package. Once liquid fertilizer has dried, it is generally safe for dogs. Allowing 72 hours after application should ensure it has fully dried. For granular fertilizers, it’s recommended to wait until the fertilizer has been rained into the soil or water it after application to facilitate distribution. Waiting at least 24 hours after substantial watering should be sufficient.

Can citrus fertilizer harm dogs?
Citrus fertilizers vary in composition, but they typically contain nitrogen, potash, phosphorus, and other ingredients like iron and manganese. While citrus fertilizer is generally no more dangerous than other fertilizers, if your dog consumes it, it’s advisable to contact your veterinarian or a pet poison helpline to seek guidance.

What happens if my dog eats blood and bone fertilizer?
Blood and bone fertilizer is an organic type that includes dried blood, ground-up bones, and sometimes dried fish. Although it may cause gastric upset, it is generally safer for dogs to consume. However, if you suspect your dog has ingested more than a tablespoon or is experiencing symptoms, it’s best to contact your vet or a pet poison helpline for professional advice.

What happens if my dog eats Miracle-Gro?
Miracle-Gro is a brand that produces various fertilizer formulations, including granules and liquids. Due to the wide range of products, it’s recommended to contact poison control or your veterinarian if your dog ingests Miracle-Gro.

What happens if my dog eats chicken manure fertilizer?
Chicken manure fertilizer is often considered safer for dogs compared to other fertilizers. While it may cause gastric upset, additional complications are unlikely unless there are other added ingredients or mold contamination. Monitor your dog for signs of stomach issues and consult your vet or a pet poison helpline if necessary.

Further reading:  The Magic of Organic Fertilizers: Unlocking the Secrets to a Thriving Garden

My dog ate tomato fertilizer – what should I do?
Tomato fertilizer typically contains potassium and other nutrients such as magnesium. The level of toxicity is similar to that of other fertilizers. Assess the amount ingested by your dog and reach out to your veterinarian or a pet poison helpline for guidance.

Will Scotts fertilizer harm dogs?
Scotts is a well-known brand that offers a wide range of fertilizers. As with any fertilizer, there are potential risks. To ensure appropriate guidance, contact a pet poison helpline or consult your veterinarian.

My dog ate rose fertilizer – will he be okay?
Rose fertilizer contains potassium and other minerals like molybdenum, lead, and zinc. It poses slightly higher risks compared to other fertilizers. If your dog consumes rose fertilizer, it’s crucial to contact a pet poison control center or consult your veterinarian for advice.

My dog ate potting soil with fertilizer – is it safe?
The amount of fertilizer in potting soil is typically minimal. However, the presence of soil complicates matters, as it increases the risk of impaction, constipation, and bowel obstruction. If your dog consumes potting soil with fertilizer, it’s recommended to contact your veterinarian to discuss the appropriate course of action.

My dog ate azalea fertilizer – will he be okay?
Azalea fertilizer, designed for acid-loving plants, contains specific ingredients to thrive in acidic conditions. These fertilizers are considered more dangerous for pets due to the presence of micronutrients, including iron. If your dog ingests azalea fertilizer, contact a pet poison control center for immediate assistance.

Dog eating grass

Remember, if you suspect your dog has consumed fertilizer or is showing any unusual symptoms, it’s important to seek veterinary advice. By being proactive and informed, you can keep your furry friend safe and healthy while maintaining a beautiful garden.

Ames Farm Center can provide further guidance and products to ensure your pet’s well-being.