Can Lawn Fertilizer Hurt My Pet? Tips to Keep Your Furry Friends Safe

Maintaining a lush, green lawn is a top priority for many homeowners. Lawn fertilizers are a common tool used to achieve this goal. However, with the increasing awareness of pet safety, pet owners are asking the question, “Can lawn fertilizer hurt my pet?” 

The answer is Yes. Some fertilizers contain chemicals that can harm pets, but with proper application and precautions, you can keep your furry friends safe.

In this article, we will provide valuable information on how lawn fertilizers can be harmful to your pets and the steps you can take to ensure your pet’s safety.

Can Lawn Fertilizer Hurt My Pet? Here’s What You Need to Know:

There are a few potential hazards of lawn fertilizer that can harm your pets:

1. Chemicals in Lawn Fertilizers

Lawn fertilizers contain various chemicals, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which promote plant growth. While these chemicals are beneficial for plants, they can be harmful to pets if ingested or absorbed through their paws.

Here are some common chemicals found in lawn fertilizers that can be harmful to pets:

  • Nitrogen: Excessive nitrogen can cause gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases, methemoglobinemia, a condition that reduces oxygen-carrying capacity in the blood.
  • Phosphorus: High levels of phosphorus can cause kidney damage and can be lethal to pets.
  • Potassium: Excessive potassium can cause electrolyte imbalances in pets, leading to weakness, lethargy, and cardiac issues.

2. Dangers of Ingesting Fertilizer

Pets may accidentally ingest lawn fertilizers while playing on the grass or drinking from puddles or ponds.

 Ingestion can lead to a range of symptoms, including:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Excessive drooling
  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Seizures and tremors

If you suspect that your pet has ingested fertilizer, seek veterinary care immediately.

3. Paw Exposure to Fertilizer

Pets may also be exposed to fertilizer through their paws when they walk on recently fertilized grass. The fertilizer may irritate the paw pads, causing them to become red and inflamed.

Pets may also lick their paws, leading to ingestion of the fertilizer. To prevent paw exposure, keep your pets off the grass for at least 24 hours after fertilizer application.

4. Chemical Burns

Lawn fertilizers contain chemicals that can cause chemical burns if they come into contact with your pet’s skin.

5. Respiratory Problems:

The dust from lawn fertilizer can cause respiratory problems if inhaled by your pets.

How to Keep Your Furry Friends Safe from Lawn Fertilizer?

Here are some tips to help keep your pets safe while maintaining a healthy and green lawn:

Use Pet-Friendly Fertilizers: Opt for fertilizers that are labeled as pet-friendly or organic, which contain fewer harmful chemicals. Alternatively, consider using natural fertilizers, such as compost or manure.

Follow the Application Instructions: Read and follow the application instructions on the fertilizer package carefully. Avoid over-application, which can increase the risk of harm to pets.

Water the Grass After Application: Water the grass immediately after applying fertilizer to help dilute the chemicals and prevent paw exposure.

Should I Water after Applying Liquid Fertilizer?

Keep Pets Off the Grass: Keep your pets off the grass for at least 24 hours after applying fertilizer. You can also consider fencing off the treated area to prevent pet access.

Store Fertilizer Safely: Keep fertilizer containers tightly sealed and out of reach of pets. Dispose of empty containers appropriately.


Maintaining a lush, green lawn is a priority for many homeowners, but not at the risk of our furry friends’ health. It’s important to be aware of the potential hazards of lawn fertilizer and take steps to protect our pets.

By choosing pet-friendly lawn fertilizers, keeping our pets indoors during the application, watering our lawns after application, keeping our pets off the lawn for at least 24-48 hours, and storing fertilizer safely, we can keep our pets safe and maintain a beautiful lawn at the same time. So, Can Lawn Fertilizer Hurt My Pet? Yes, but with proper precautions, we can minimize the risks and enjoy a healthy, happy lawn with our furry friends.


Can lawn fertilizer cause death in pets?

Ingesting large amounts of lawn fertilizer can be toxic to pets and can cause death. Symptoms of toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and difficulty breathing.

What happens if a cat eats fertilizer?

If a cat eats fertilizer, it can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. The severity of the symptoms can vary depending on the type and amount of fertilizer ingested.

Is lawn fertilizer toxic?

Some lawn fertilizers can be toxic to pets if ingested in large quantities. They contain chemicals such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as herbicides and pesticides, which can be harmful if ingested.

What fertilizer is pet friendly?

Pet-friendly fertilizers include organic and natural fertilizers such as compost, bone meal, and blood meal. These types of fertilizers are generally safe for pets and do not contain harmful chemicals.
However, it’s still important to follow safe handling and application practices to prevent accidental ingestion by pets.

Can fertilizer hurt dog paws?

Fertilizers can potentially hurt dog paws if they contain harsh chemicals that irritate or burn the skin.
It’s important to keep pets off of treated lawns until the fertilizer has been watered in and the lawn is dry to prevent accidental contact with their paws.

Additional Questions

How long should I wait after fertilizing my lawn before it’s safe for my pets to be on it?

Once you’ve fertilized your lawn, it’s crucial to bar your pets from using it for ideally 24-72 hours. **This is a safety measure** not only for your pets but also for your home, as tracking particles inside could also pose harmful risks.

Can lawn fertilizer harm my pets?

Absolutely, lawn fertilizers pose a potential risk to pets, especially dogs. These products contain toxic substances that, if ingested, can lead to adverse health effects. The severity of these effects might range from **allergic reactions to fatal toxicity** if consumed in large quantities. Hence, it’s essential to keep pets away from lawn areas treated with fertilizers.

Is it safe to let my pets on the lawn immediately after using Scotts lawn fertilizer?

In the case of Scotts® Turf Builder® Lawn Food, it’s generally safe for your pets to roam freely on the lawn directly following its application. However, if you opt to water the lawn right after fertilizing, wait until the lawn dries before allowing your pets back on it. **This helps prevent tracking fertilizer particles** into your home.

What should I do if my dog comes into contact with fertilized grass?

If you suspect that your dog has been exposed to a fertilized lawn, it’s important to seek veterinary attention immediately. Although the symptoms due to contamination from basic fertilizers are mostly gastrointestinal and clear up within a couple of days, consulting the veterinarian should always be your first course of action. **A quick medical intervention would help determine the level of toxicity** and avoid potential harm to your dog.