Fertilizers are a common and important tool used by gardeners and farmers to help promote plant growth and soil health, however, they can also be toxic to dogs if ingested. Fertilizers contain a variety of chemicals and minerals that can be highly toxic to animals, even in small amounts. Ingestion of these chemicals can cause a variety of serious health issues in dogs, including bowel obstruction, pancreatitis, and more. It is important to understand the dangers of fertilizers and take steps to keep your dog away from them.

Fertilizer Toxicity

Fertilizers often contain a variety of potentially dangerous chemicals, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper, zinc, cobalt, boron, manganese, and molybdenum. In addition, they may also contain herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides, all of which can increase the risk of poisoning. Even small amounts of fertilizer can cause mild stomach irritation, while larger ingestions can result in severe poisoning from the iron, nitrogen, and other chemicals. In some cases, meal-based fertilizers can form a concretion in the stomach, leading to a bowel obstruction or severe pancreatitis. It is therefore important to take precautions when using fertilizers around dogs, as they can be highly toxic.

Symptoms of Fertilizer Poisoning

Fertilizer poisoning in dogs can be caused by ingestion of a wide variety of products. If you suspect that your dog has ingested or inhaled any type of fertilizer, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately. Commons signs of poisoning include:

  • Drooling
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal posture due to abdominal pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • “Muddy” colored gums


If your dog was exposed to fertilizer, contact your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 for treatment recommendations. Treatment from your vet may include inducing vomiting and administering activated charcoal to reduce absorption of the fertilizer. After initial treatment, your veterinarian may perform additional tests to determine the best course of treatment. Depending on the type of fertilizer ingested, your veterinarian may also prescribe antibiotics or other medications to help address any potential chemical reactions. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary to monitor your pet’s condition and administer intensive supportive care.