Organic alternatives to products are popping up everywhere and for a good reason. Natural lawn fertilizers are an excellent alternative for those wanting to avoid using dangerous pesticides, insecticides, and chemicals on their lawns, especially if you have kids or pets. But are they safe?
Natural lawn fertilizers are safer to use than non-organic alternatives but can still pose some risks to pets. Many natural lawn fertilizers contain ingredients like bone and blood meal, which can cause poisoning if consumed. Safe, pet-friendly natural lawn fertilizers are also available to use.
In the rest of this article, I’ll go through the reasons why natural lawn fertilizers can be harmful to pets, signs of fertilizing poisoning, and how to keep your pet safe from ingesting dangerous materials while still using natural lawn fertilizers.
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What Is a Natural Lawn Fertilizer?
Natural lawn fertilizers don’t use any of the harmful chemicals found in toxic fertilizers and are designed to encourage your lawn to be healthy and strong. There are many different types of natural lawn fertilizers and most aim to treat lawns with organic solutions.
These solutions include introducing natural insect-control methods like nematodes, promoting diversity within your lawn’s ecosystem, and using fertilizers that aim for long-term, sustainable growth through organic means.
Some of the common ingredients used in Natural Lawn Fertilizers include:
Can a Natural Lawn Fertilizer Make My Pet Sick?
Natural lawn fertilizer can make your pet sick. While the ingredients in natural lawn fertilizers may look pet-friendly at first glance, their organic origins make them even more tempting for many pets to consume, especially dogs and cats.
For example, the smell and taste of blood and bone meal, fish pellets, and manure can make it very difficult for pets to resist consuming these products. Because pets cannot ingest these ingredients, it can be hard and sometimes impossible to digest them fully, potentially causing internal blockages.
Two of the ways that you can continue to use these specific natural lawn fertilizers safely include following application instructions as directed and keeping any leftover product out of your pets’ reach.
Not every natural lawn fertilizer will make your pet sick, but by avoiding the products with ingredients that may tempt curious eaters, you can ensure that your lawn stays pet-friendly.
Symptoms of Fertilizer Poisoning in Pets
If you suspect that your pet has consumed lawn fertilizer, whether it is natural or toxic, take a note of how much you believe they ate and if they are displaying any symptoms. If your pet is small, even consuming a small amount of fertilizer can risk them becoming poisoned by the product’s ingredients.
A larger animal, like a big dog, might be okay if they only consume a tiny amount. Regardless, keep an eye on your pet for any symptoms.
Pets that consume natural lawn fertilizers can risk fertilizer poisoning, potentially leading to nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and that may require medication or surgery to treat. Use natural lawn fertilizers that are entirely safe for pets, like those that are odorless, made out of seaweed, created from grass, or certified pet-friendly.
The symptoms listed below are those that might be experienced specifically by dogs. If you suspect your cat or other animal has consumed fertilizer and they are refusing to eat, acting lethargic, or displaying any of the symptoms below, be sure to call your vet.
Symptoms of Toxic Lawn Fertilizer Poisoning
- Muddy-looking gums, discolored gums
- Difficulty breathing
Symptoms of Natural Lawn Fertilizer Poisoning
- Pancreatitis (inflamed pancreas)
- Intestinal Obstruction
Source: Pet Poison Helpline: 24/7 Animal Poison Control Center
If you suspect that fertilizer has poisoned your pet, call your vet immediately. You can also call a Pet Poison Helpline to get immediate pet poisoning information for around a $60 fee.
Treatment for Lawn Fertilizer Poisoning in Pets
The faster you recognize that your pet may have been poisoned, the better care it can receive from a veterinarian. Depending on the type of fertilizer that your pet has eaten, your vet may prescribe things like medications that induce vomiting or diarrhea.
A vet may also give your pet an I.V. to maintain your pet’s fluids while they recover.
There is a greater risk of intestinal obstruction if your pet has consumed natural lawn fertilizers. If your pet ingests a large amount of natural fertilizer, it may require surgery to remove the blockage.
Pet-Friendly Natural Lawn Fertilizers
There are pet-friendly natural lawn fertilizers that will keep your animals safe from fertilizer poisoning. Below is a table that examines different types of pet-friendly natural lawn fertilizers.
|Natural Fertilizer Type||Main Ingredients||How is it Pet-Friendly?|
|GS Plant Foods Organic Liquid Kelp Fertilizer from Amazon||Seaweed||Most pets, such as dogs and cats, can eat seaweed safely. They may be more attracted to the smell, but it is safe for pets.|
|Scotts Natural Lawn Food from Amazon||All-natural Ingredients||It can be used immediately after application and is pet-friendly.|
|Grass Clippings||Grass||Grass from your lawn should be pet-friendly if toxic fertilizers haven’t treated it.|
|Fishnure Odorless Organic Compost from Amazon||Fish Manure||This product is odorless, making it less tempting to pets.|
|Espoma Organic Lawn Booster Fertilizer from Amazon||All-natural Ingredients||Designed to be pet and child-friendly.|
I’ve been using Sunday Lawn Care for the past couple of years. It’s a natural pet-friendly lawn fertilizer customized to your lawn’s needs. You can read my full review here.
Properly Using and Storing Natural Lawn Fertilizers
You can make any natural lawn fertilizer pet-friendly by following the directions on the packaging. These directions may include warnings not to allow any pets onto the lawn directly after application and up to several days.
Even if you decide to use a bone or blood meal, fish, or manure natural lawn fertilizer, you can ensure a pet-friendly yard by properly supervising your pet while it is on the grass to make sure it isn’t consuming any of the fertilizer.
You can also store the natural lawn fertilizer in a safe place, keeping it in a Vivosun Compost Bin like this one from Amazon. A compost bin will secure your fertilizer so that your pets won’t get into it accidentally.
Natural lawn fertilizers are a great way to keep pesticides, insecticides, and harmful chemicals off your lawn. While they may seem more pet-friendly at first, natural lawn fertilizers often contain appealing ingredients to your pets that are dangerous when consumed even in small quantities.
Overall, natural lawn fertilizer can pose similar risks to pets as toxic lawn fertilizer does. However, with proper supervision, storage, and application, natural lawn fertilizer can be safe to use around pets.
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