What To Do If Your Dog Ate Fertilizer

So you opened the back door and your dog ran outside.

She ran straight to the pile of fertilizer in the corner of your yard, picked up a mouthful, and swallowed it!

What should you do now? First, don’t panic – this is not as bad as it sounds.

If you are wondering how to help your canine friend that has eaten a large amount of fertilizer, then this blog post is for you!

We will talk about the symptoms and treatment options.

Why Do Dogs Eat Fertilizers?

Dogs are attracted to fertilizers that may contain traces of animal protein, such as meat and bone fragments.

These wastes will attract animals like dogs over larger distances than other food sources would because they smell stronger than their natural prey. 

Also, there are some people who use a “processed poop fertilizer” for their gardens or agricultural fields which includes urine and feces from domesticated animals processed into a soluble form.

It’s easy to see why a dog might be drawn to this by the smell alone! 

In both cases, the higher concentration of concentrated nutrients in these fertilizers is appealing to them since they can’t get those nutrients easily through natural means.

Processed poop fertilizer also contains certain minerals and vitamins that are beneficial to the dog.

Is Fertilizer Dangerous To Dogs?

fertilizer in hands of a person

Fertilizers can be considered dangerous to dogs because they may ingest them and get poisoned by the chemicals in the fertilizers.

Especially in their stomachs, where fertilizers interact with digestive acids and create poisonous gases.

It’s important that if you have pets in your yard, not use chemical fertilizers that have these properties.

For those who don’t want to let the grass grow naturally, composting may be helpful because it makes for a great fertilizer without the risks of poisoning from synthetic chemicals.

What Are The Components Of A Fertilizer?

The main goal of fertilizers is to provide plants with the primary necessities of life – nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Fertilizers also balance acidity by adding or removing soil amendments such as limestone.

The basic components are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium.

Other minerals that might be present in your fertilizer include calcium, sulfur, and iron.

Some fertilizers also contain trace amounts of micronutrients like zinc or copper for flowering plants.

How Much Fertilizer Will Make A Dog Sick?

sick dog with a thermometer

This depends on the type of fertilizer.

If the fertilizer is a cream, single-strength liquid form for lawn and garden use, it may take less than one tablespoonful of this type to make a dog sick.

The other types are safer but any amount will upset your pet’s stomach and probably cause vomiting or diarrhea.

Any dog that eats a small amount of fertilizer will not have any symptoms.

Keep in mind, this can vary based on what type of fertilizer and where it was grown (e.g., corn vs soy), so an animal would need to ingest significant doses (>2 cups) before their health is at risk.

Signs Of A Dog Eating Fertilizer

There might be uncharacteristic vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, a diminished appetite for food and water.

If you suspect that your pet is eating fertilizer, it’s important to speak with a veterinarian to identify the type of fertilizer necessary to prescribe an appropriate treatment plan.

This may include tests for blood lead levels if possible.

Although difficult to find in a small animal’s droppings, generally increasing behavioral changes are the best indicator of ingestion of fertilizers.

In addition, ingestion may be indicated by increased thirst and excessive urination or weight loss.

My Dog Ate Fertilizer – What Should I Do Now?

man dropping fertilizer from hands on ground

If you have any of the following symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately.

  • Unconsciousness or confusion 
  • Confusion or agitation 
  • Difficulties breathing or swallowing 
  • Headache and stiff neck

Otherwise, if your animal has already vomited once to clear their stomach and there is no other rectal bleeding, follow these steps –

1) Hydrate them with a large volume of freshwater as soon as possible.

2) Hold off feeding anything for 12 hours unless instructed by a veterinarian.

3) Contact the vet to determine if special treatment is needed.

If none of the symptoms above apply, please see your regular vet in 24hrs to confirm all is well.

What Is Fertilizer Poisoning In Dogs?

If your dog ingests too much fertilizer it may suffer from intestinal blockage, seizures, or coma.

Fertilizer poisoning affects dogs through eating plants that have been fertilized recently.

Dogs can over-eat the fertilized plants directly or by drinking water that has been contaminated with urine rich in nitrogen and phosphate fertilizer levels.

The problem is mainly a problem for households using modern (inorganic) fertilizers rather than organic composts containing manure which decomposes slower and creates less risk.

What Are The Symptoms Of Fertilizer Poisoning In Dogs?

There are a lot of symptoms, but the most common ones are drooling and diarrhea.

Symptoms usually start to show within a few hours after being exposed to fertilizer.

The most common symptoms are drooling and diarrhea.

Other signs include an overactive appetite, confusion, unsteadiness on her feet, repeated vomiting or retching without bringing anything up (especially in young dogs), unnatural panting or hyperventilation (especially in cats), excessive thirst, and aggressive behavior towards other animals.

If you suspect that your pet may have been poisoned by fertilizer, act quickly!

Your best option is to bring them to the vet as soon as possible for treatment!

As time goes on, their condition could worsen considerably if left untreated!

How To Diagnose Fertilizer Poisoning In Dogs?

The vet will take a detailed medical history, as well as make sure the owner knows where the dog has been and what it was doing in the hours before.

If this information is not available, then they must proceed with more extensive diagnostics by running blood chemistries, radiographs, or X-rays on the dog.

The extended diagnostic tests are vital because this type of poisoning can also lead to pulmonary edema (fluid accumulation in the lungs) or kidney failure. EKG tests will also be done if signs of cardiac problems arise.

In some extreme cases of fertilizer inhalation, bronchoscopy may be warranted to identify severely affected areas before administering aggressive treatments that include massive doses of oxygen combined with intravenous fluids and drugs.

How Is Fertilizer Poisoning Treated?

If caught early enough, the vet will induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal to absorb any remaining fertilizer in her stomach.

If they suspect that your dog has ingested a large amount of fertilizer or if she is showing signs of lung damage (coughing, difficulty breathing), then oxygen and intravenous fluids will be administered.

How To Avoid It From Happening Again

1. Keep your dog on a leash when gardening.

2. Don’t let them eat any plants.

3. Wear gloves to avoid coming in contact with the fertilizer or plant material yourself.

4. If you have pets, keep them away from the area that has been fertilized for at least a week after application.

5. Avoid using chemical weed killers and herbicides as they can be dangerous for animals if ingested or come into contact with skin. 

6. Consider installing an organic weed-control system such as mulch, compost, straw bales, bark chips, or gravel that will not harm pets and other wildlife. 


You’ve probably never thought of fertilizer as food.

But when it comes to dogs, this can be an accidental meal for them and they may not want anything else afterward.

This is because fertilizers are made with things that our dog’s stomachs cannot digest or break down so easily like urea, ammonium nitrate, and potassium chloride.

If your pet has eaten some kind of fertilizer (whether on the lawn or in the house), don’t panic!

We have great tips for you here on what to do next if your dog ate fertilizer.

Have any questions? Please mention in the comments section below 🙂

Related Posts

Leave a Comment