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What is Fertilizers Poisoning?

When our canine family members come in contact with fertilizer products, the effects can range from mild to severe. Depending on the length of time of contact and how the fertilizer poisoning occurred, complications can include oral burns and stomach irritation. The accidental ingestion of fertilizer by your dog means that they have eaten a product that can possibly contain harmful substances (herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides) in addition to the compounds (phosphorous, iron, nitrogen) which are toxic when consumed in large amounts. 

Along with vomiting and breathing difficulties, fertilizers can cause ulceration in the gastrointestinal tract and burns on the skin. If you suspect that your dog has eaten fertilizer, or if you have recently used the product in your garden and your little pal is acting ill, take them to the clinic right away.

Fertilizers used in our gardens to enhance the beauty and growth of our plants can be very toxic to our pets when ingested or exposed to the skin and mucous membranes. Quite often, the fertilizers that we use are mixed with substances that are more harmful than the fertilizers themselves. In fact, the ingestion of some products can be fatal.

There is no such thing as a one hundred percent pet safe lawn weed killer and fertilizer. If you feel that you must treat your lawn, keep your dog safely inside as you do so.

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Fertilizers Poisoning Average Cost

From 48 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,000

Average Cost

$600

Symptoms of Fertilizers Poisoning in Dogs

A case of mild exposure to fertilizer can result in burns on the pads of the feet if your pet walked through or rolled in your fertilizer application, or irritation to the mouth or eyes after consumption or inhalation of the product you used. Serious complications can become evident if your pet has ingested a large amount. Some pets find fertilizer to be palatable or may eat the product simply because of their curious nature.

  • Dermal effects can be ulcerations and redness on the skin
  • Ocular signs can be tearing and redness of the eyes which should be investigated further
  • Without the addition of herbicides and pesticides, poisoning may cause gastrointestinal upset
  • Vomiting may occur
  • Diarrhea is common
  • Lethargy may be apparent
  • There could be abdominal pain

When there are pesticides and herbicides in the fertilizer, the effects can be very serious. For example, if iron is present, in addition to bloody diarrhea there can be liver damage, kidney damage, and heart problems. Additional signs of distress due to fertilizer poisoning containing pesticides and herbicides can include:

  • Salivation
  • Fever
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Urination
  • Defecation
  • Lack of coordination
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Blue or brown mucous membranes
  • Seizures
  • Death

Types

Fertilizer typically comes in three forms which are solid, liquid, and granular. While none of these types of fertilizer should be ingested or inhaled, there are some products labeled as "lawn fertilizer safe for pets". This means your pet can go back on the grass after a delayed period of time. Follow the manufacturer's directions exactly. In some cases, you should walk your dog on the street as opposed to playtime in the yard for a few days after applying the lawn product. 

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Causes of Fertilizers Poisoning in Dogs

A dog can be exposed to fertilizer by simply walking across a lawn that has been treated. Some fertilizer residues can stay in toxic form for days to weeks. Aside from the accidental ingestion of a product that the pet finds palatable, chewing on treated grass or licking the fur and feet after a dermal exposure can cause poisonous effects. Some of the additives that may be present in fertilizer are:

  • Iron
  • Disulfoton (responsible for seizures and pancreatitis)
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorous
  • Ammonium (irritates skin and lungs)
  • Sodium
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
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Diagnosis of Fertilizers Poisoning in Dogs

If you suspect that your pet has come in contact with fertilizer, bring them to the veterinarian to determine the level of toxicosis. In the case of a basic fertilizer exposure, the symptoms are mostly gastrointestinal and often will resolve within a day or two. It’s best to have your pet checked at the clinic and be sure to bring along the container or product leaflet so the veterinarian can verify the ingredients of the product.

If the fertilizer contains herbicides, fungicides, or pesticides the situation may become more urgent because the toxic effects of fertilizer containing these additives are much harsher. The veterinarian will base the diagnosis on clinical signs (vomiting, dermal ulcers) and may want to do additional urinalysis and blood testing to check toxicity levels or to look for signs of secondary illness like pancreatitis, depending on the type of fertilizer. For example:

  • Rose fertilizer can contain disulfoton which can be fatal to canines
  • Blood meal can have toxic levels of iron
  • Bone meal can cause cement-like obstructions in the intestines
  • Fertilizers containing pesticides made with organophosphates can lead to CNS symptoms, seizures, and death
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Treatment of Fertilizers Poisoning in Dogs

Treatment will vary depending on factors such as the type of fertilizer exposure or ingestion, how much of the product was eaten, and how long the fertilizer was on the skin. Treatment for fertilizer poisoning in the case of additional herbicides and pesticides will vary due to the product. Many cases of fertilizer poisoning involve hospitalization, particularly if the poisoning is extensive.

The main therapy involves supportive means to stabilize your dog and control their breathing and heart rate. Other treatment steps could include medication to increase urine output and bowel movements, gastroprotectants for stomach issues, poison absorbents, and topical medicines for skin irritation.

If you plan to use lawn care products, you may be wondering how long your dog should stay off the grass after fertilizing. If you are using a dry fertilizer, keep your dog off the grass until after a rainfall. If using a wet product, the solution must be completely dry or you risk exposing your dog to toxic chemicals again. A second exposure may result in a longer treatment process, with less than favorable results for your furry buddy.

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Recovery of Fertilizers Poisoning in Dogs

Canine patients can recover quite well from a fertilizer poisoning; if the effects and secondary complications were extensive, more recovery time may be needed. Dogs who have consumed a small amount of fertilizer will most often be back to normal in a day or two, but pets who have ingested significant amounts of a fertilizer such as blood meal or rose bush fertilizer where there could be iron, organophosphate, copper, or ammonium for instance, the recovery will be longer. 

In the future, especially if your dog has palatability for fertilizer or a curious nature, be certain to store all garden and household products out of reach. Do not allow your pet on the lawn after treatment until all traces of any gardening product are gone. Always keep the original packaging on hand in case of accidental exposure.

The only pet safe lawn care is to reseed your grass often as opposed to using chemicals. Reseeding can often keep the weeds in the lawn at bay. A healthy and safe canine companion is more important than a pristine and perfect lawn.

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Fertilizers Poisoning Average Cost

From 48 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,000

Average Cost

$600

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Fertilizers Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Mini schauzer

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Nine Years

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

Ingested a small amount of citrus tree fertilizer

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello- Thank you for your question. For potential toxin ingestion my first recommendation would be to call pet poison helpline at 855-764-7661. They will be able to tell you based on the type of fertilizer she consumed and her weight if it is toxic and can make a treatment plan for your veterinarian. Depending on their advice you may need to head to the vet as well. Take care.

Aug. 6, 2020

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Maltipoo

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Twelve Weeks

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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None

Dog ate a few bite of fertilizer before we could stop him. No symptoms yet. It was in neighbors yard and they don’t speak English so we don’t know what kind

Aug. 2, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello For any possible toxin ingestion I recommend that you take him to a veterinarian right away. Are you able to take a picture of the bag or container? Or have the neighbors write down what it is and put the name into Google Translate. Either way, your pet should be seen immediately. Good luck.

Aug. 2, 2020

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Black Mouth Cur

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2.5 years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Itchy, Bumps, Irritated Skin, Hasn'T Urinated In The Last 24 Hours

I put out citrus fertilizer the other night and then watered. My dog likes to play in the water while the hose is on. Is it possible that he had an allergic reaction to the fertilizer? I didn't think it would be an issue as it was old so I am not sure if it will actually fertilize my tree.

Aug. 2, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, It may have caused her to have an allergic reaction. You can try to give her benadryl at 1mg per pound to see if this helps. If not, it would be best for her to see your vet as she may need steroids.

Aug. 2, 2020

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Labrador Retriever

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6 months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

My dog has been throwing up the last two hours. I think he ate a couple balls of fertilizer. Do I need to take him in or see is it passes?

July 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Fertilizer can be quite toxic, depending on the type and the amount that was eaten. If your dog has been vomiting for 2 hours, be best to have him or her seen at an ER right away. They will be able to look at the type of fertilizer, see what might be the best treatment, and help so that your dog feels better. I hope that all goes well.

July 24, 2020

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Border Collie/Great Pyrenees

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Eleven Years

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None Yet

My dog ate one stick of fruit and citrus spikes. Ingredients are feather meal, bone meal, sulfate of potash. Nitrogen 3%, phosphate 5%, soluble potash 5%

July 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, So sorry to hear about your dog. If he ate the whole stick, your vet can cause him to vomit. This would be the best to prevent his body from absorbing all the chemicals. Your dog may start to vomit or have diarrhea because of eating this. My recommendation would be to take him to the vet right away. Good Luck!

July 24, 2020

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Isabelle

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Papillon

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14 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Vomiting
Blood In Stool

We live next to an apartment building, and they must have spread granular fertilizer last night because it smelled strongly when I took my dogs out. Today, our papillon has gotten sick -- vomiting and has bloody diarrhea. I've contacted the complex to see what kind of fertilizer they're using, but this isn't the first time she's had these symptoms. Would this be fertilizer poisoning, or is this something like recurring HGE? We're taking her to the vet regardless, but I want to make sure I'm having them look at everything.

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Goldie

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Labrador Retriever

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10 Months

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy

Today, I took my dog to a park so we can play some fetch. My dog drank some water from a depression on land. Whilst playing, I noticed that fertilizer is spread on grass. I called my veterinarian right away and he told me to administer 4ml Jetepar syrup. He said that it detoxifies the liver and can be administered even if you are not sure about the ingestion. My dog is currently healthy playing in our backyard.

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Drax

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Daniff

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13 Weeks

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Vomiting
Sleepy

My rescue male Great Dane + Mastiff mix tore a bag of organic fertilizer open. He must have ate some.. because he threw up and has been having diarrhea. He seems to be more sleepy, or just being a puppy. However I don’t know what to do. I don’t think it’s necessary to go to the vet, as his breathing appears to be normal. I just need a treatment to help with his tummy ache. He only threw up once last night, when I found out he ate some. We’ve been giving him a lot of water aswell. I’m very worried, do you have advice?

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Ham

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Lhasa Apso

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2 Years

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

No Symptoms

My husband used Greenview weed and feed on our lawn on Sunday morning. It rained all day Monday and half of the day today (Tuesday), I haven’t let my dog on the lawn of fear of poisoning from walking on any of the granules. They have been rained on for two days and the bag said it’s ok to let pet on after dry from a rain. If he picks up a granule on his paw and licks it will he get sick or will it have been long enough with all the rain. I will wash his paws when he comes in. He is a small Lhasa. Any advice would help. I feel like a never want to let him on the lawn until I don’t see one granula on the ground but that could take months

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Simba

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Pit bull

dog-age-icon

6 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargic
Sleepy

Our back yard was fertilized with blue granules ,we tried to keep the dog off that area but the granules blew into her area we walk her on . Like overnight she seems more mushy and has yellowish poop . Can she get poisoning from just getting it on her paws or sniffing the ground

Fertilizers Poisoning Average Cost

From 48 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,000

Average Cost

$600

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