Is All Fertilizer Food Safe? What You Need To Know

Fertilizer comes in two primary forms (organic and inorganic). Inorganic fertilizers are made up of chemicals and nutrients that are excellent for plant health and growth. But is this fertilizer always safe, or can it be toxic if you’re not careful?

All fertilizer food is safe if you use it correctly. But if you use too much, it can be unsafe for plants and the surroundings. It can also be harmful to humans and animals if ingested or inhaled. But if you follow the instructions and use the right amount, it should be completely safe.

The rest of this article will discuss if fertiliferzer food can be unsafe in greater detail. I’ll also discuss if fertilizer food can be toxic to animals, how to fertilize plants safely, and the best organic fertilizer foods you can use.

When Is Fertilizer Food Unsafe?

Fertilizer food is unsafe when ingested or inhaled. It can also be unsafe for plants if you apply too much of it, so it’s important to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You can also experience skin irritation if you come into direct contact with fertilizer food. 

To avoid this, it’s best to wear gloves when handling any inorganic fertilizer foods. 

It’s also important to note the presence of nitrogen in fertilizer food. Although nitrogen is essential for plant health, it can be harmful in large amounts. 

Additionally, some chemicals in inorganic fertilizer foods can cause air and waterway pollution in large amounts. On top of that, they can cause plant damage and fertilizer burn if you use too much of them, which is why it’s imperative to use the correct amount and always follow the instructions.

If in doubt, you should use less than you think you need. While using less than you need won’t cause any harmful effects, using too much can cause many issues (including issues that can harm the environment).

Is Fertilizer Food Toxic to Dogs?

Fertilizer food is toxic to dogs if they ingest it, mainly inorganic kinds. For that reason, you should keep your pets away from plants that have recently been fertilized. Alternatively, you should avoid using fertilizer altogether if you’re worried.

The chemicals in fertilizer food are dangerous for all animals if they ingest them, so you must consider this before doing anything. In small amounts, your pets likely won’t get too ill. But, if they consume large amounts of fertilizer food, they could become seriously ill and need an emergency trip to the vet. 

So, if your dog likes to scavenge and eats anything it can find, it would be wise to block the plants for the first few days after fertilizing. 

Although humans can’t smell fertilizer when they’re in the garden, dogs have a stronger sense of smell and may be attracted to some chemicals.

Using Fertilizer Food Safely

Although fertilizer food can be unsafe in abnormally large amounts, you shouldn’t experience any issues if you use the appropriate amount. Things like choosing the correct fertilizer food and keeping children and pets away for the first few days after fertilizing are essential.

There are also other aspects to consider before you go ahead and apply the chemicals to the soil, and below I’ll discuss all of these aspects below.

Choose the Correct Fertilizer Food for Your Soil

Firstly, you should select the correct fertilizer food for your soil. The best way to do this is to get a soil test. The soil test results will inform you which nutrients your soil needs, or it could indicate that the soil doesn’t need any additional nutrients.

If you use too much of a particular ingredient in the fertilizer food you choose, it could cause severe damage to your plants. So, don’t just go for the first fertilizer food you see. Make sure you understand what your garden needs before making any decisions.

Use the Recommended Amount of Fertilizer Food

Another essential thing to consider is the amount of fertilizer food you use. Using too little won’t cause any significant issues, but using too much could be harmful to plants. 

If you use too much, it’ll be easier for children and pets to access because it’ll take longer for the soil and plants to absorb it. Even if you wait a few days, the ground may still be slightly toxic.

And at the same time, your plants will likely experience fertilizer burn. Therefore, using too much fertilizer has no benefits, and it’s best to only use the recommended amount or less.

Keep Pets and Children Away From the Area

As mentioned, you should keep all pets and children away from the area when fertilizing. As you may know, children like to explore and often use their sense of taste to examine things. Because of this, it’s common for them to place things in their mouths, including dirt. 

The last thing you want is for a child to taste fertilizer that you’ve just placed on the soil. So, it’s important to fertilize when there are no young children around.

And the same goes for pets. Pets also love to eat and taste things, so keep them away from the area when you’re fertilizing. 

Keep Away From the Area for at Least 48 Hours

You should let the fertilizer food sit for at least 48 hours before allowing young kids and pets near the fertilized soil. This is because the fertilizer needs time to absorb into the soil and plants. 

Allowing children and pets to get near fertilized soil before 48 hours have passed will increase the risk of poisoning. Check the fertilizer packaging to see how long it will take to be absorbed. While some may take as little as 24 hours, others can take many days.

You can block off the fertilized area using a fence or something else to make it easier.

The Safest Fertilizer Foods

Organic fertilizer foods don’t contain as many chemicals as inorganic ones, so some people prefer to use them to reduce the risk of fertilizer burn. Plus, it’s easier to make organic fertilizer food at home, which helps save money. However, since organic fertilizer food is not as concentrated, it’s not always the best option. 

So if your soil is in dire need of some specific nutrients, it might be better to use inorganic fertilizer food (once you follow the instructions it will be safe to use).

But below, I’ll discuss some of the best organic fertilizer foods that don’t contain any of the harsh chemicals that are in inorganic fertilizer food.


Compost is one of the most popular kinds of organic fertilizer foods. It’s super cheap to make and contains all-natural ingredients. It’s made up of things like:

  • Grass clippings
  • Coffee grounds
  • Fruit and vegetable waste

You can add different ingredients, depending on what your soil needs. For example, if it needs plenty of potassium, you should incorporate banana waste into your compost pile.

Since compost doesn’t contain any chemicals, it’s less toxic than many inorganic fertilizer foods when inhaled or ingested. 

However, it can often contain harmful bacteria and fungi, so you still need to be cautious if you have pets and children. Additionally, always wear gloves when handling compost fertilizer.

Fish Emulsion

It may seem odd, but fish waste is an excellent fertilizer food for plants. It’s rich in essential nutrients, and it’s fully organic, so you don’t have to worry about any toxic chemicals. You can buy fish emulsion or make it yourself. 

To learn more about turning fish waste into fertilizer food, you should check out this article: Can You Turn Fish Waste Into Fertilizer?

Since it’s natural, you don’t have to worry as much about you, your children, or your pets getting ill from ingestion or inhalation. It’s also more difficult for plants to experience fertilizer burn from fish emulsion compared with chemical-infused fertilizer.

Bone Meal

Bone meal fertilizer food is also safer than many inorganic fertilizer foods. It’s essentially made of bones from animals ground up into a powder. You can buy bone meal fertilizer food or make it yourself using leftover bones from chicken or turkey, for example.

Since it’s just animal bones, it contains fewer chemicals than inorganic fertilizer food. Because of this, it’s safer to use and touch. It’s also safer for children and pets to be around.


It doesn’t smell the best, but manure is another excellent organic fertilizer food. And not only does it add essential nutrients to the soil, but it also improves the soil’s overall structure. This makes it an excellent fertilizer food and soil amendment.

However, it’s important to note that manure can be slightly toxic to humans and pets because it releases gases, such as:

  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Ammonia

If you get into close contact with some of these gases, you can experience many issues, including eye and throat irritation. So, although manure is generally safer than chemical fertilizer foods, you still need to be cautious when using it and avoid ingestion and inhalation.

Is Miracle-Gro Fertilizer Food Safe?

Miracle-Gro fertilizer food is safe for humans, pets, and plants when used correctly. But since it’s an inorganic fertilizer food, it can be unsafe and even toxic if you don’t follow the instructions or use too much of it at once. 

Since Miracle-Gro contains harsh chemicals, it’s best to keep it out of reach of children and pets. This is especially true for the first 48 hours after application. 

If you’re worried about your pets or children getting sick from ingestion or inhalation, it might be best to use an organic fertilizer or keep them away from the plants for the first few days after fertilization.


Fertilizer food is generally safe when you follow the instructions and use it correctly. However, inorganic fertilizers contain many chemicals that can be toxic to humans and animals in large amounts, so you should always be cautious.

If you’re worried about the chemicals in inorganic fertilizers, you should use an organic one instead, such as compost.

Make sure you don’t use too much fertilizer because it can cause fertilizer burn, and always keep children and animals away from freshly fertilized soil.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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