Is Lawn Fertilizer With Weed Control Poisonous to Dogs?

by Lisa McQuerrey
    Look for pet-safe fertilizers and weed killers.

    Look for pet-safe fertilizers and weed killers.

    Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    Many different types of chemicals that homeowners use on their yards have the potential to make their dogs sick. Fertilizers, weed-controlling agents and bug sprays all have the potential to give your dog gastrointestinal upset. There are ways, however, to minimize the toxic impact, allowing you to maintain a nice yard as well as protect your dog’s health and well-being.

    Lawn Fertilizer

    If you’re having your yard professionally landscaped or fertilized, ask about whether the products are safe for pets. Many landscape companies will recommend a waiting period before allowing your dog or cat on the grass after fertilization. According to the ASPCA, while the weed-killing agent in fertilizer can upset your dog’s stomach, eating the fertilizer itself can lead to more serious problems, such as bowel obstruction.

    Chemical-Soaked Bugs

    Your dog has the potential to get sick from eating bugs that have eaten weed-killer-soaked fertilizer. While it typically takes ingesting a large volume to have a serious impact, if your pup has a sensitive stomach, he could have digestive upset from even a few chemical-soaked bugs. If you have low areas of your yard that collect rainwater, these too can be laced with runoff from chemicals used to treat your lawn, so steer away your pup or drain the pools to guard against drinking.

    Toxic Plants

    Some pet owners mistakenly think their dog becomes sick from weed-killing agents used in fertilizer, when in reality, their dog has ingested a toxic plant that recently was fertilized. According to the ASPCA, several plant varieties are toxic to household pets. These include azalea, rhododendron, oleander, lily of the valley, foxglove, rosebay, sago palm and kalanchoe, as well as cocoa mulch. For a full list of pet-toxic plants, visit the ASPCA website.

    Signs of Toxic Ingestion

    If your dog starts to foam at the mouth, has difficulty breathing or develops a rash after coming into contact with weed killers or other chemicals like insecticides, contact your vet. If you fear your dog has ingested a toxic plant, take your pup to a medical professional and bring a piece of the plant.

    Chemical Alternatives

    There are a variety of natural and pet-safe products on the market that allow you to maintain your yard while minimizing the potential negative impact on your pet. Keep in mind that dogs can be impacted in a variety of ways from chemicals. They can ingest chemicals, roll in fertilizer and get chemicals on their fur and skin, as well as absorb toxins through the pads of their feet.

    Photo Credits

    • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

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