Is Starter Fertilizer Safe To Use Around Dogs?

Starter fertilizer is an essential step in providing nutrients for new plant life. However, applying fertilizer with pets around can be stressful. You probably know that some fertilizers are toxic to dogs, but what about starter fertilizers? 

Starter fertilizer is not safe to use around dogs. Any type of fertilizer is toxic for dogs to ingest or inhale. However, some types of fertilizer are more toxic than others. It’s best to keep your dog away from fertilized areas for at least 48 hours. 

In the rest of this article, I will discuss when it’s okay to let your dog out after fertilizing, how much fertilizer is dangerous for them, the effects fertilizer can have on your pup, and other frequently asked questions about using fertilizer with dogs. Read on if you want to learn more about fertilizing with a dog in your home.

How Much Fertilizer Is Toxic to Dogs?

First, it’s essential to know when you should worry about your dog coming in contact with fertilizer. How much fertilizer is toxic, and when should you seek medical help? 

The amount of fertilizer that’s toxic to dogs varies depending on the dog’s size, how much they consume, and how frequently. Eating fertilizer can lead to blockages and other illnesses. If you suspect your dog has eaten fertilizer, you should contact your local veterinarian immediately.

Ultimately, dogs love to eat things, and if left unattended with a newly fertilized lawn or garden, there is a good chance they will ingest something they shouldn’t. It’s a good idea to keep a close eye on them after fertilizing any portion of your yard. 

Can I Let My Dog Outside After Fertilizing?

Next, let’s talk about when it’s appropriate to let your dog back outside. Can you let a dog outside directly after you have finished fertilizing? 

You can let your dog outside a couple of hours after fertilizing, but it’s not recommended. Even softer fertilizers can pose a health risk for your pet. Dogs often eat things they find in the yard, so it’s best to allow 1-2 days before letting your dog roam the newly fertilized area.

As you can see, allowing your dog to go outside directly after fertilizing can lead to several health problems. Not to mention they’re likely to track the fertilizer back into the house, and fertilizer can be toxic for humans to ingest or breathe in as well.

How Long After Lawn Treatment Is It Safe for Dogs?

Now that you understand some of the risks of allowing your dog out after fertilizing, let’s discuss when it’s safe to put them back outside. So how long after fertilizing your yard is it safe to allow your dog back outside? 

It is safe for dogs 48-72 hours after a lawn treatment has been applied. Fertilizers dissipate relatively quickly, so your dog should be fine to enjoy the yard after a couple of days has passed. Watch them for signs of illness and stop them if they are eating areas you’ve recently fertilized.

If you want to ensure that the fertilizer has had time to soak in and won’t threaten your pet, you should wait at least 48 hours. By this point, any leftover fertilizer granules will likely have been absorbed into the soil. 

Is Organic Fertilizer Bad for Dogs?

Dog owners often wonder whether synthetic fertilizers are more harmful than organic ones. It stands to reason that organic fertilizer would be less harmful, as fewer chemicals go into its makeup. But does this logic truly hold up? 

Organic fertilizer is bad for dogs. Although organic fertilizers don’t contain synthetic chemicals, they can still be quite harmful to pets. This is due to the nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus they contain. In addition, organic fertilizers smell like food, which can attract your dog’s attention.

No matter which type of fertilizer you apply, you should still use caution when allowing your dog in its vicinity. Even fertilizers that tout being pet-friendly should be used carefully, and you will still need to keep an eye on your pup. 

The Effects Fertilizer Can Have on Dogs

Now that I have answered some of the essential questions, it’s time to discuss the effects of fertilizer on dogs. 

Here are some signs and symptoms that you’ll notice if your dog has ingested fertilizer:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive drooling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy
  • Walking stiffly
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty breathing

You should contact a veterinarian immediately if you notice any of these symptoms. However, if your pet becomes ill from ingesting fertilizer, there are a few things you can do to help them until the vet can see them.

What To Do if Your Dog Becomes Ill After Eating Fertilizer

If you think your dog has eaten fertilizer and you notice signs of illness, it’s essential to act immediately. If you’re noticing fertilizer poisoning symptoms, it’s likely that your pet consumed a large amount of fertilizer. 

Here’s what you should do:

  1. Inspect your dog and assess them for illness. If your dog is presenting any of the symptoms I previously listed, it’s likely that they ate some fertilizer. 
  2. Call a veterinarian. Whenever you are dealing with a possible illness due to poisoning, it’s imperative that your pup gets medical attention right away. 
  3. Read the warning label on the fertilizer package. There may be further instructions about what to do if the fertilizer is ingested. Your veterinarian may also want to see the list of ingredients. 
  4. Withhold food if your dog is throwing up. Throwing up isn’t good for your pet, but their body is most likely trying to expel the harmful fertilizer. It’s a good idea to remove their food bowl temporarily until the vet tells you to replace it. You can gradually reintroduce water after 2 hours.

If your dog ingested large amounts of fertilizer they aren’t throwing it up, you might need to induce vomiting. This can be done by giving your dog small amounts of hydrogen peroxide—around 2.2 milliliters per kilogram of body weight (0.4 teaspoons per 2.2 pounds).

The best course of action is to consult a professional. A veterinarian can quickly get to the bottom of the problem and walk you through what to do. Depending on the severity of your pet’s symptoms, they may need to go to the vet.

How To Keep Your Dog Safe From Fertilizer

Dogs are naturally curious animals, and they love to eat everything. It’s best to be cautious and prevent them from eating fertilizer in the first place. Keeping a dog safe from fertilizer can be a bit of a challenge, but there are several things you can do.

How to keep your dog safe from fertilizer:

  1. Store bags of fertilizer up high or in sealed containers. This will ensure that your dog isn’t tempted to eat, sniff, or lick fertilizer that’s been left out. 
  2. Allow 48-72 hours to pass before letting your dog into the fertilized area. Giving your fertilizer time to dissipate and settle into the soil makes sure your dog doesn’t become ill or find a granule to chew on. 
  3. Take off your shoes before coming inside after spreading fertilizer. Shoes can easily track bits of fertilizer on your floor. Your dog could lay on it and accidentally lick it up later. 
  4. Research the fertilizer you’re using. Some fertilizers are more toxic than others. For example, rose fertilizer is highly toxic to dogs due to high levels of iron, and it’s not uncommon for dogs to die after consuming it. 


Fertilizing your yard and garden is necessary to keep your plants healthy and green. But unfortunately, those same fertilizers that help your plants to grow can harm your pets. This is why taking steps to ensure their safety is essential. 

Starter fertilizer, just like all fertilizers, can be toxic to your dog. This is primarily due to fertilizer’s nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus levels. However, you can use fertilizer safely without consequence if you keep the fertilizer away from your dog and allow time for the fertilizer to dissipate before allowing them back outside. 

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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