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Can Plant Fertilizer Hurt Dogs or Cats?

December 05, 2022 3 min read

Fertilizer and Pets

A few things you didn’t know that could be harming your pet.


What is Plant Fertilizer? 


Plant Fertilizer is a natural or in some cases artificial substance that contains chemical elements that improve the growth and productiveness of plants. Fertilizers also enhance the natural fertility of the soil or replace chemical elements taken from the soil by previous crops. There is such a thing as modern chemical fertilizers which include one or more of the three elements that are most important in plant nutrition: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Of secondary importance are the elements sulfur, magnesium, and calcium. 


There is also such a thing as organic fertilizer which has the use of manure and compost as fertilizers. It is probably almost as old as agriculture. Many traditional farming systems still rely on these sustainable fertilizers, and their use is vital to the productivity of certified organic farms, in which synthetic fertilizers are not permitted. There are many different types of fertilizers to choose from, each with varying levels of nutrients and ingredients.


Most fertilizers these days are manufactured in a special way to make sure they’re not exceedingly harmful to pets when ingested. However, homeowners often use a combination of both fertilizers and pesticides on lawns to keep them clean and pest-free.


 

Cats and plants

Can Plant Fertilizer Hurt Dogs or Cats?


Many homeowners use fertilizers to provide extra nutrients to their lawn and garden to keep their plants looking healthy without realizing that those same fertilizers that help their plants can also be affecting their pets, for they contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs and cats. Pet owners must take precautions before using any fertilizer on their lawns or gardens to ensure the safety of their dogs and/or cats. 


Dogs can accidentally consume these chemicals when they are sprinkled on the lawn or garden just by running and playing outside and then grooming themselves. Even small amounts can cause issues for pets, so one should want to keep their pet away from fertilizers altogether. If a pet consumes a large amount of fertilizer, like the big bags they’d find in storage, it can become a life-threatening situation. There are signs that pets have consumed fertilizer that you should look out for if you are suspicious that there is a chance your pet has found the bags in your garage. Some signs include: drooling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing as well as tremors and seizures. While organic fertilizers can sound safe, surprisingly many of them are more dangerous than one would think. Organic or “natural” fertilizers often contain various “meal” leftovers from the farming or meat industries, and these products (such as bone meal, blood meal, feather meal and fish meal and more) are attractive to dogs but are unhealthy for their digestive systems. Some signs of this are vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal obstruction and severe pancreatitis (inflamed pancreas). 


The bottom line is to always check the labels of any fertilizers you use on your plants. Your lawn could look beautiful with a few added nutrients, sure but is it worth risking the health of your pet? No, not really. 



Are There Plants That are Harmful to Pets? 

According to petMD, there are common plants that are poisonous to pets such as Lilies, Daffodils, Tulips, Autumn Crocus, and more. Something else that is harmful to pets if ingested can be mushrooms, particularly mushrooms a part of the Amanita family. This family includes the “death cap” and gives off a fishy odor, making them tempting to dogs. Other dangerous mushrooms include the Lepiota and Galerina families. 


It is often recommended that if you see any mushrooms you should get rid of them just to be safe, even if there is a chance that they could be perfectly fine for your cat or dog if ingested. It is important to make sure you supervise your pets whenever they are outside, particularly dogs, to make sure they are not ingesting or even sniffing around plants or plant fertilizer that can hurt them. If your pet does happen to ingest a harmful toxin while in the garden or just outdoors, seek immediate emergency veterinary care. Whenever possible, bring a sample of the substance with you to show the vet. 

Plant Fertilizer and Pets

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