Regular application of fertilizer is a must for a healthy, lush lawn, but many homeowners worry about the harmful effects of chemical fertilizer products. Pets in particular are a concern as they spend the most time sniffing, digging, and even eating lawn grass…so, is lawn fertilizer pet safe?
In actuality, this question isn’t as simple as it seems. Like with any other home product there are a wide variety of commercial fertilizers available, each used for a different purpose. The fertilizer you buy and the way you apply it has everything to do with whether or not you can count on your yard to be pet-safe.
How to Apply a Pet Safe Fertilizer
Many people assume that fertilizers containing mostly nitrogen are essentially safe for pets. This is not the case. As with any other chemical compound, excess amounts of nitrogen can be extremely harmful to pets (as well as children) and can cause seizure or even death. The key to making sure your pets are safe after fertilizer application is in the application itself.
First and foremost, avoid over-application of your store-bought fertilizer. Not only will you risk scorching your grass, you’ll increase the chance of your animal becoming sick from ingesting fertilizer. There are two main types of fertilizer: liquid and granular. Both have plusses and minuses and if you have questions about which to use it’s best to consult a lawn care professional in your area.
After applying a liquid fertilizer it’s advisable to wait at least 48-hours to allow pets or people to use the lawn. With granular fertilizer you should allow 24-hours minimum but it’s best to wait two full days. No matter which fertilizer you use, be sure to give the grass a good long watering afterwards to allow the fertilizer to sink into the soil.
Ensure Your Pets are Safe
The best and most effective way to ensure your pets stay safe after fertilizing is to choose a totally organic fertilizer. Though there are organic fertilizers available to consumers it’s important to read the label carefully to make sure there are no added ingredients that can be harmful to pets or humans. Remember that the word “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean a product is organic or safe for consumption.
If you’re concerned about your dogs or cats becoming sick after a fertilization application, consult with a licensed lawn care expert in your area. Some lawn companies offer 100% organic lawn care so you won’t have to worry about contamination. Even if you choose a non-organic fertilizer a lawn care professional can give you specific instructions regarding the use of your lawn to help keep your family and pets safe.
It’s always a good idea to keep dogs, cats, and any other pets from eating grass or any other plants in your yard. All kinds of seemingly-innocuous plants can actually be poisonous to animals and you never know what kind of contamination your yard has seen outside of approved fertilizer applications.