Dogs and Fertilizer: How Long to Wait?

Dogs and Fertilizer: How Long to Wait?


April 22, 2022

When the weather is right, many people go out to their lawns to apply a hefty dose of fertilizer.

This nutrient-rich product is great for the grass, but if you have dogs who also enjoy the yard, you’ll need to be careful about how and when you apply it.

How long after fertilizer can dogs go on the lawn? The best approach is to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines about how long pets and children should stay off the lawn after fertilization. This is usually between 24 to 72 hours, depending on the type of fertilizer and its contents.

Although not all fertilizers are as dangerous as others, it’s best to be as safe as possible when using these products. If you’re wondering how long after fertilizer can do go on lawn safely, this quick guide will help you out.

Why is Fertilizer Harmful to Dogs?

Why is Fertilizer Harmful to Dogs?

The average lawn fertilizer is full of various natural and synthetic nutrients that help the grass grow healthily, and for a dog, the inclusion of things like calcium, iron, zinc, herbicides, and pesticides can be dangerous.

If you have pets and children, you should always choose a fertilizer that’s labeled as safe for use with them, otherwise, the risk is too high.

Fertilizers can cause problems for dogs when they ingest them or come into contact with them, with issues like breathing difficulties, burns and irritation on the skin, and gastrointestinal upset among some of the worst signs.

If you’ve recently used fertilizer and notice any obvious symptoms, it’s best to see a veterinarian right away to have them assessed.

How Long After Fertilizing Can My Dog Go on the Lawn?

How Long After Fertilizing Can My Dog Go on the Lawn?

There’s no single answer to this question that will work in every scenario, so you need to base it on your own circumstances.

Consider these factors when determining how long your dog should stay off the lawn following fertilization:

  • What are the recommendations?: Following the guidelines of the manufacturer is best, as they tend to err on the side of caution. Although most lawns will be fine for use after 24 hours, if they recommend waiting 72 hours, stick to this advice.
  • What type of fertilizer was used?: If you’ve laid fertilizer granules, you may be concerned about your dog picking one of these up in their mouth. After watering or rain, these should absorb into the grass, so it can take a little longer than a spray-on fertilizer to be safe. Liquid fertilizers act more quickly and absorb more quickly allowing your pet to get on the grass faster but it you should at least wait 24-72 hours.
  • Has it been raining?: It’s usually safe to assume that natural rainfall will help to wash away any residue left behind by fertilizer, making it safe for your dog to go back onto the lawn. Likewise, watering the lawn after applying it will wash off the excess product that might pose a risk, and this is always recommended.

Keeping Your Pets in Mind

While it’s great to take care of your lawn and give it the nutrients it needs, your pet’s safety should come first.

There are lots of options for delivering lawn fertilizer that’s both effective for your grass and safe for your dog, so make sure you put their needs at the forefront.

Related Questions

Although a beneficial thing for your gardens, there are some downsides to applying fertilizer that should be considered before you jump in.

Check out these commonly asked questions and our expert answers to learn more about the potential downsides of lawn fertilization.

Can You Touch Fertilizer?

You should never touch fertilizer with your bare hands, always ensuring you’re wearing gloves and adequate protection when you apply it.

There are ingredients in fertilizers that can burn the skin and if they’re accidentally ingested, can lead to poisoning, so you must take precautions.

Can Kids Walk on Fertilizer?

Can Kids Walk on Fertilizer?

If you have children, it’s best to wait at least 24 hours before letting them back onto the lawn after applying fertilizer.

Those wanting extra peace of mind should choose a natural fertilizer without toxic chemicals, as these pose less of a health and safety risk to children if they come into contact with it.

Is Organic Fertilizer Safe?

Although organic fertilizer usually contains more natural ingredients, that doesn’t always mean it’s safe.

There are some organic fertilizers that are considered toxic, so applying them while wearing protection and keeping children and animals off the grass directly after the application is recommended.



Rebecca Vargas is an experienced gardener and landscaper and has been rendering professional services for many years. Her services cover both private homes and commercial properties. Leveraging that rich experience, Rebecca Vargas now dedicates a chunk of time to show just about anyone how to maintain their garden and yard, whether at home or workplace. GreenIQ is his way of reaching and teaching millions of homeowners across the globe about proper gardening and lawn care practices.