Getting ready to do some yard work this summer? Before getting started, it’s important to be informed of the potential dangers that can poison your dog. From fertilizers to mulch the Barkery is here, with information from Dr. Justine A. Lee, to help you ensure your furry family member is safe during your summer yard work.


The majority of lawn fertilizers contain natural elements that are generally non-toxic (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium), so if your dog eats grass that you’ve applied fertilizer to, it rarely leads to serious poisoning. Although, if your dog ingests fertilizer directly from the bag it can result in more serious problems including seizures and tremors, so it’s important to store them safely.

When selecting a fertilizer for your lawn, it’s important to read all the ingredients in the fertilizer you’re selecting. Some fertilizers may contain iron, carbamates or organophosphates – which can result in more serious, life-threatening symptoms when ingested. Thankfully, these more dangerous types of fertilizer are rarely seen on the market nowadays, but it is better to be safe than sorry!

Organic Fertilizers

Surprisingly, organic fertilizers or “meals” are the most dangerous type of fertilizers. Organic fertilizers are typically “natural” fertilizers that are leftover byproducts including bone meal, blood meal, feather meal and fish meal. When ingested these “meals” can result in vomiting, diarrhea, foreign body obstruction or even severe pancreatitis.


As most people know, chocolate is toxic to dogs. Similarly, cocoa mulch – made out of shells or hulls from the cocoa bean – also contains the toxin, theobromine. Cocoa mulch is very fragrant which makes dogs tempted to ingest it. When ingested, theobromine can cause hyperactivity, increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and can lead to death in extreme cases. Cedar mulch is a good alternative to cocoa mulch, as it is not toxic to your furry friend.

Keep your dog safe this summer by keeping these poisons out of your yard! If you suspect your dog may have been exposed to poison, contact your veterinarian immediately or, call ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.