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Poisonous to: Cats, Dogs

Level of toxicity: Generally mild to moderate, depending on the amount ingested and concentration of the product

Common signs to watch for:

  • Drooling
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting (acute or delayed onset)
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal posture due to abdominal pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • “Muddy” colored gums

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Most fertilizers contain varying amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (potash) as indicated by the three numbers on the packaging (i.e., 30-10-10). They may also contain iron, copper, zinc, cobalt, boron, manganese and molybdenum, some of which may be toxic in large concentrations. Additionally, fertilizers may also contain herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides which increases the risk of poisoning. While small ingestions of fertilizer may only result in mild stomach upset, larger ingestions can result in severe poisoning from the iron, nitrogen and other chemicals. Large ingestions of meal-based fertilizers may also form a concretion in the stomach resulting in a bowel obstruction or severe and painful inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).

If you think your dog or cat was exposed to fertilizer, contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline for treatment recommendations.

Poison type: Fertilizers

Alternate names: soil amendments, bone meal, blood meal, feather meal, plant food, potash