Pet-safe lawn care products: 3 things you must know

Pet-safe lawn care products: 3 things you must know

Pet-safe lawn care products: 3 things you must know

Pet-safe lawn care products: 3 things you must knowMake your yard pet-friendly with safe care products

A happy pet needs a healthy yard. With spring's arrival, many homeowners are searching for the right pet-safe lawn care products to keep their lawns healthy.

In this guide, we're looking at pet-friendly lawn care products. We'll cover: 

  • Are there any pet-friendly fertilizers?

  • Can I use weed killer around pets? 

  • How can I keep my pet safe while keeping my yard healthy?

With any product, homeowners should know that pet-safe doesn't mean there are no risks. There are some products, however, that are safer. Ultimately, hiring a professional certified in herbicide application is a great way to keep your lawn and pet happy. 

What to know about pet-friendly lawn fertilizers

One can never be too cautious when choosing pet-safe lawn care products. Reading information about the product is vital for ensuring your pet's safety. Even those products that claim they are pet-safe — including those that say it’s fine for pets to get on the lawn soon after application — often contain potentially harmful animal byproducts. 

It's no different than the food industry. 

Take, for example, the label "Made With Real Vegetables or Fruit" on certain food products. The listed ingredients are ordered from the greatest to the least weight. If the fruit or vegetable is toward the back of the pack, it may be in there, but barely. While the claim is valid, the effect is quite useless. 

Labels like "organic" must not be mistaken as automatically pet-safe. The colors, typography, and labels serve to inform and to increase sales. Homeowners must know what is in a product and whether or not those ingredients may present a danger to their furry friend. 

Organic versus Inorganic fertilizerWeighing the safety of pet-friendly lawn care products

Determining whether or not a lawn care product is safe for pets, it's essential to understand how organic and inorganic products are made. As the titles imply, organic lawn care products comprise elements found in or reused from naturally occurring materials; inorganic lawn fertilizers are manufactured. Easy. But what do those products contain, and is one safer? 

In "Controlled Release Fertilizers for Sustainable Agriculture," Shaji et al. note, "Organic fertilizers comprise a variety of plant-derived materials that range from fresh or dried plant material to animal manures and litters to agricultural byproducts." 

Organic fertilizers may include some of the following: 

  • Bone meal

  • Cottonseed meal

  • Blood meal

  • Kelp meal

  • Fish emulsion

  • Bat guano

  • Feather meal

Some of these may entice a pet – dogs and cats will be especially eager to check out the blood meal. Mineral and chemical-based fertilizers contain easily ingested granules; liquid fertilizer residues can get on a coat. 

Grass needs potassium chloride. Also known as "potash," many fertilizers contain potassium to fulfill their lawn's needs and build resilience. 

Potassium fosters plant health and helps lawns withstand extreme temperature changes. Potash occurs naturally, but it's hazardous to pets. 

Inorganic fertilizers, also known as synthetic or chemical fertilizers, are artificial. They go through a process of combining raw materials to create a blend that is great for plants.

Just like organic fertilizers, inorganic products contain hazardous elements for pets. 

Is blood meal safe for my dog or cat? Evaluating blood meal fertilizer risks for pets

The Pet Poison Helpline labels organic fertilizers moderately toxic to cats and dogs. Bone meal, blood meal, and fish meal make that list. They note that these organic products produce excellent results in yards by increasing nitrogen content. However, what makes them work great for plants can also harm pets. 

Blood meal is dried, ground, and flash-frozen. Millions of tons of animal byproducts are used in products every year. North America uses 25 million tons of raw materials from the rendering industry. Blood meal contains 12 percent nitrogen and may contain iron, which can cause iron toxicity for pets. 

Pets find bone meal appealing as well. It's another slaughterhouse byproduct that can improve the health of flowering plants

Are there any pet-safe lawn fertilizers?

No fertilizers are entirely safe for pets. We combed through the components and material safety data sheets (MSDS) of several fertilizers labeled pet safe and can conclude one thing: there are safer options but nothing that pets could chow down on without causing, at the very least, some gastrointestinal distress. 

One of the safest options on the market is Milorganite. On its MSDS, the safety level is ranked at one, so there is a low risk. It may cause minimal discomfort for a pet, but it sheds light on the fact that homeowners spreading any fertilizer on their lawn should play it safe. 

Follow suggested wait times. Milogranite advises homeowners to keep pets off the lawn for 24 hours after application. It's a pain. True. But the components of fertilizer aren't meant for pets. 

The safest route is to wait two or even three days before allowing a pet to access an application area. Even compost, often touted as a pet-safe fertilizer, hosts mold and other animal remains harmful to pets. 

What weed killers are pet-safe?

The same precautions homeowners take with fertilizer apply to weed killers as well. Pets roll around. Then, they groom themselves. If they brush up against an application of weed killer, they may experience some minor irritation.Ensure safety in your yards for furry friends The more significant issues with pet safety revolve around improper storage of products that pets could ingest in large quantities. Always store lawn fertilizers and weed killers away from children and pets. 

Like fertilizer, the elements found in many weed killers that make them effective for lawn care are the same things that are harmful to humans and pets.

One of the often debated elements in weed killers is glyphosate — with governing agencies and research institutes differing on its risks and potential to cause cancer. It effectively eliminates weeds:

  1. First, the glyphosate enters the plant. It can take four routes: the roots, the trunk, shoots emerging from the trunk, or leaves or other green tissues.

  1. The glyphosate then moves toward where the plant is actively growing.

  1. As the plant works to grow, the glyphosate blocks enzymes crucial to plant development.

  1. The glyphosate is evenly distributed throughout the plant, killing it and preventing any further growth from the plant it affects.

Furry friends are much more susceptible to coming into contact with whatever is applied to a lawn. They're lower to the ground. They lick their paws.

Even weed killers applied in one area can drift, and a 2013 study examining the levels of lawn herbicides in the urine of dogs found that herbicides persisted on lawn surfaces for at least 48 hours after spraying. Homeowners need to follow all guidelines when applying any lawn care product. 

Better yet, hire a professional. 

Companies with licenses to apply herbicide are trained to use weed killers safely. Many of the dangers to pets happen with improper application and knowledge. Certification is a rigorous process. The professionals who complete such training obtain an in-depth knowledge of how to store, handle, and apply herbicides safely. 

How can I keep my pet safe while keeping my yard healthy?

Embracing natural gardening lawn care practices creates a safer space for pets. Here are some key strategies for maintaining a lush, vibrant lawn without harmful products:Guidelines for maintaining a pet safe yard

 Compost Enrichment 

Utilize compost as a natural fertilizer to enrich the soil and provide essential nutrients for plants. Compost is made from organic materials such as kitchen scraps, yard waste, and plant trimmings, offering a nutrient-rich alternative to synthetic fertilizers.

Be mindful that compost can also prove harmful to pets depending on what's in it and the mold that naturally occurs. Pets will love its smell, so consider restricting their access to areas where compost is applied.

Regularly apply compost to your lawn and garden beds to improve soil quality and promote healthy plant growth.


Mulching is a fantastic technique for conserving moisture, suppressing weeds, and enhancing soil fertility. Use organic mulch such as shredded leaves, grass clippings, or wood chips to cover bare soil around plants and garden beds. Mulch also gradually decomposes, adding nutrients to the soil and reducing the need for chemical fertilizers.

 Proper Watering Techniques 

Homeowners can accomplish a lot by properly watering their lawns. Water lawns and plants deeply but infrequently to promote profound root growth and drought resistance. Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation system to deliver water directly to the root zone, minimizing water waste and promoting healthier plants. Avoid overwatering, as soggy soil can lead to root rot and other issues.

 Natural Weed Management 

Getting rid of weeds without buying weed-killing products is a surefire, pet-safe approach to lawn care. And you don't have to break your back doing it. Pulling weeds might be challenging, but regular lawn mowing is one of the best ways to discourage weed growth and build a healthy lawn. Hire a professional if it's difficult to mow regularly. 

GreenPal helps homeowners keep their yards healthy by connecting them to the most reliable professionals at the best prices. It's a pretty simple process

  1. First, download the app and post your lawn. GreenPal offers homeowners an all-in-one place to find, schedule, and pay for lawn care services.

  1. GreenPal has already taken care of the heavy lifting by vetting professionals. Some considerations in accepting a business on the platform are the quality of their equipment, their client reviews, and even their financial accounts.

  1. Once a homeowner has found the lawn care company they want to hire, they can securely schedule and pay for everything within the app.

Now, weed management is much easier as a team of professionals helps care for a homeowner's lawn. 

Quick Summary 

Pet-Safe Lawn Care Products
Read labels carefully; organic not always pet-safe
Weed Killers
Follow guidelines; keep away from pets
Pet-Safe Practices
Embrace natural methods; compost, mulch, proper watering, natural weed management

Creating a pet-safe lawn requires a thorough understanding of product labeling and following directions. Even products labeled as pet-safe or organic might not be the best for furry friends. An MSDS will tell a buyer how safe a product is. Keeping pets safe and maintaining a healthy lawn is tricky, but natural gardening lawn care practices and apps like GreenPal can help. Connect with GreenPal for top-notch lawn care solutions

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