Lush green experts recommend fertilizing garden lawns at least twice a year. But can lawn fertilizer be dangerous for dogs? Yes – but there are good alternatives. We provide tips on how to fertilize your lawn without endangering your pet.
Is Lawn Manure Toxic to Dogs?
What causes the grass to sprout can harm dogs – as well as children and cats. Unfortunately, instinct does not help our four-legged friends – some even tend to eat lawn fertilizer. Therefore, make sure that lawn manure is stored dog-safe. Even small amounts are dangerous for dogs that are poisonous. This can be picked up by a small four-legged friend if it repeatedly fetched a drooled plush toy from the meadow. Dog owners should better avoid the following lawn fertilizers:
Lawn fertilizer with weed killer
Weedkiller “cleans” the lawn from dicotyledon weeds like dandelions. You should water the lawn thoroughly around two days after application. Only then are dogs, cats, and children allowed to go back onto the lawn. It is safer not to strive for an English lawn and to tolerate a little variety in the green grass.
Lawn fertilizer with moss destroyer
These lawn fertilizers often contain iron sulphate, which in combination with water – including saliva – releases acid. Dogs should not be in treated areas for around ten to 14 days. Before doing this, you should rake off the dead moss and water the lawn thoroughly.
Toxic for dogs: castor meal
Castor meal comes from Rizinus communis, a popular ornamental plant that contains toxic ricin. Castor meal has to be heated for around 15 minutes at 80 degrees Celsius to render the poison harmless – afterward, it can be used as organic fertilizer or even cattle feed.
Castor meal as fertilizer made negative headlines a few years ago: Because it was not sufficiently heated in some fertilizers. Several dogs died after eating from it. Most well-known brands have since stopped using castor meals. But with no-name manufacturers, you should take a closer look at the ingredients. In Switzerland, castor meal has been banned as a fertilizer since 2014 due to the risks it poses to animals.
Long-term mineral fertilizers
Mineral lawn fertilizer contains nitrogen compounds or potassium chloride components, which can be dangerous for dogs. Blue fertilizers such as “blue grain” are also included. Watering the lawn well after applying mineral fertilizer reduces the risk. The pellets then lie tightly on the surface. Nevertheless, keep an eye on your dog for the first few days. Young dogs in particular tend to sniff out the pellets between the stalks. It is even safer if you work the fertilizer into the lawn. Experienced gardeners do not use mineral fertilizers for lawns, because they impoverish the soil fauna. Anyone who fertilizes potted plants with blue grain and Co. should make sure that dogs do not drink from the accompanying saucer.
Symptoms of Manure Poisoning in Dog
When poisoned with lawn fertilizer, different symptoms can occur. Young and small dogs are particularly at risk because even small amounts can be dangerous for them. Possible symptoms of poisoning with lawn fertilizer in dogs are:
- Profuse salivation
- Staggering and imbalance
If you observe these symptoms in your four-legged friend, contact a veterinarian immediately. This also applies if the dog appears apathetic or listless.
In the case of poisoning, every minute counts!
If you suspect lawn manure poisoning, provide the vet with the name of the product.
Recommended for Dog Owners: Organic Lawn Fertilizer
Dog owners do not want to take any risks for their four-legged companions. That is why you should rely on organic fertilizers for the lawn. It consists exclusively of natural “ingredients” such as flour made from horns, bones, or feathers. In rare cases, castor meal is found in organic lawn fertilizers – you should avoid these.
Many manufacturers such as Compo or Plantura offer organic lawn fertilizers that are ideal for pet owners. Even nature lovers without their own four-legged friends will make a good choice. Because organic lawn fertilizer helps to avoid over-fertilization, to maintain a healthy microclimate, and thus to keep the garden in ecological balance. In such a garden, not only dogs but also earthworms and insects feel comfortable.