How Long to Keep Dogs off Fertilized Lawn

April 7, 2023

The spring and summer months are a great time to be a dog. Warmer weather means more outdoor time, especially for owners with fenced-in yards or long ropes that allow them to go outside and sniff around to their hearts’ content. However, not every aspect of the warm season is good for a dog.

To keep lawns healthy, most homeowners will employ materials potentially hazardous to a dog’s health — weed killers, pesticides, and fertilizers.

If you’re a dog owner planning to fertilize your lawn this spring, you probably want to know how to keep your dog safe while you work to keep your lawn growing strong. With that in mind, let’s look at the dangers fertilizers can pose, what to watch out for, and determine how long you should keep your dog off the lawn after fertilizing.

Is lawn fertilizer safe for dogs?

There are several different ingredients contained in common fertilizers that are dangerous to dogs, including:

  • Herbicides – Common herbicides, like 2,4-D, tend to be mildly or moderately toxic to pets, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and dizziness.
  • Bonemeal – While not dangerous in small amounts, animal by-products like bone mass can be dangerous in large amounts, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and even obstructing a dog’s stomach.
  • Pesticides – Insecticides can cause chemical burns on pet paws and skin and inhibit enzymes in the central nervous system

This is just a small sampling of the ingredients found in common fertilizers. Fertilizer, which means plenty of potentially hazardous ingredients fall outside this list. While some fertilizers are generally safer than others, keeping your pet safely away during application is always a good idea — and for a sustained period afterward.

In general, the safest fertilizers for dogs are those that boast natural ingredients and steer clear of the harsh chemicals that might be good for your lawn but are bad for your dog. However, remember that these fertilizers also tend to be more attractive to dogs looking for an outdoor snack, which could lead to ingesting large amounts of fertilizer and lead to an upset stomach —  or worse. Even if your fertilizer is pet safe, it’s best to wait until it is fully absorbed into the soil before letting your pup out.

Is Scotts weed and feed safe for dogs?

Scotts weed and feed are unsafe for dogs while the lawn is still wet. Dogs should be kept inside while applying Scotts weed and fed until completely dried. Once it has dried, the lawn should be safe for your furry friends.

It should be noted that Scotts offers some different options for fertilizer, including natural lawn food, which is less dangerous to dogs.

Is TruGreen safe for dogs?

TruGreen is a popular lawn care company that uses several different chemicals to keep your lawn green and weed-free after an application from TruGreen pets and children should steer clear of the yard until all applications have completely dried.

How long to keep dogs off fertilized lawn?

The length of time your pet should be kept off the grass after fertilization can vary depending on your fertilizer. Liquid fertilizer, for example, only needs to be left alone until it dries. Depending on environmental conditions and the application amount, this will likely take at least two hours but can be more.

Granular fertilizer, on the other hand, must be allowed to soak into the soil for a longer period to avoid ingestion. That means waiting at least 24 hours before letting your dog onto a fertilized lawn.

If you’re uncertain what fertilizer was used or want to play it safe, waiting 24 hours is your best bet to protect your pup. However, if your dog starts to show signs of illness, such as dizziness or vomiting, even if it’s been more than 24 hours after fertilization, contact your local veterinarian as soon as possible.

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