Fertilizer ingestion is common with small animals. Pets, especially dogs, find the contents of fertilizers quite tasty. Often, they’ll tear the bags open to ingest the contents. When our canine family members come in contact with fertilizer products, the effects can range from mild to severe. Fertilizers can be extremely toxic to dogs. Depending on the length of time of contact and how the fertilizer poisoning occurred, complications may include oral burns and stomach irritation. Dogs are often attracted to grass that contains fertilizer, so it’s important for owners to be extremely cautious in these situations.
Commercial fertilizers may provide nutrition for plants, but they contain harmful chemicals which are toxic to dogs. When sprinkled or sprayed over a lawn or garden, it is often easy for a dog to come in contact these dangerous chemicals.
Organic fertilizers sound safe. But surprisingly, many of them are more dangerous. Organic, or “natural,” fertilizers often contain various “meals” leftover in the farming or meat industries. These products, such as bone meal, blood meal, feather meal and fish meal, are very attractive to dogs, but also very unhealthy for their digestive systems.
Clinical Signs of ingestion:
3. Dermal effects can be ulcerations and redness on the skin
4. Lethargy may be apparent
5. Abdominal pain
If you suspect that your pet has come in contact with fertilizer bring him to the veterinarian to determine the level of toxicosis. In the case of a basic fertilizer, the symptoms are mostly gastrointestinal and often will resolve within a day or two.
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.
Most importantly, keep your dog safe by keeping these garden and yard poisons out of reach! Lock your garage, keep your dog on a leash or supervised when outside, and make sure to store lawn and garden products in secure containers!
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