Tips for pet owners on safe lawn fertilization practices

4 mins

Applying fertilizer to your lawn is essential for maintaining its lush green appearance, promoting healthy growth, and ensuring it remains robust throughout the year. However, for pet owners, it’s crucial to understand the implications of fertilizer use, especially concerning the safety and health of their pets.

Different types of fertilizers, environmental factors, and the specific habits of your pets can affect how long they should be kept off treated grass. This article will explore these aspects to help you make informed decisions.


Types of Fertilizers and Their Impact


Weed, Feed & Mosskillers or Weed & Feeds

Sportsmaster Renovator Pro and Cleanrun Pro are professional-grade fertilizers known for their efficacy in lawn care and maintenance. Landscaper Pro Triple Action is an all-in-one granular feed, weed, and moss killer.

Sportsmaster Renovator Pro & Landscaper Pro Triple Action contain high levels of iron and a granular selective herbicide, while Cleanrun Pro contains a granular herbicide designed to target and eliminate weeds effectively. Due to the presence of these herbicides, it is recommended to keep pets off the treated area for 5-7 days after the granules disperse into the base of the sward.

Granule dispersion itself can take 4-5 days depending on environmental factors such as rainfall, temperature, and soil conditions. These factors influence how quickly the granules break down and integrate into the soil, potentially affecting the safe waiting period.



Conventional Release Granular Fertilizers

Conventional release granular fertilizers are widely used for general lawn care. These products typically require pets to be kept off the grass for about 24-48 hours after application. The waiting period allows time for the granules to dissolve and the nutrients to settle into the soil. Environmental factors, such as the amount of watering and weather conditions, can expedite or delay this process, thus affecting the safety timeline for your pets.


Controlled Release Fertilizers

Controlled release fertilizers are designed to release nutrients gradually over time. While they are generally safer due to their slow-release nature, it is still advisable to keep pets off the treated grass for at least 24-48 hours after application. Again, environmental conditions such as humidity and soil temperature can impact the release rate of nutrients, influencing the recommended waiting period.



Considerations Based on Pet Type


Dogs are less likely to eat grass compared to other pets, which means the primary risk comes from contact with the fertilizer granules. Keeping dogs off the treated lawn for the recommended periods (5-7 days for products like Sportsmaster Renovator Pro and Cleanrun Pro, and 24-48 hours for other granular fertilizers) is generally sufficient to prevent any health issues. Ensure to rinse their paws if they happen to walk on the treated grass within these periods, and be mindful of environmental factors that may prolong the breakdown of fertilizer granules.



Cats may sometimes nibble on grass but usually not in large quantities. Similar to dogs, the main concern is contact with the fertilizer granules. Following the same guidelines—keeping them off the grass for the specified periods—should minimize any risks. Be aware of environmental factors that may affect the degradation of chemicals in the fertilizer, potentially extending the safe waiting period.


Guinea Pigs, Rabbits, and Other Small Animals

Guinea pigs, rabbits, and other small pets that eat grass require extra caution. Their habit of consuming grass can lead to the ingestion of potentially harmful substances from fertilizers. It is best to keep their designated areas untreated or use pet-safe, organic fertilizers specifically formulated for such environments. Alternatively, you can move them to a different area until the treated grass is completely safe, adhering to the maximum recommended waiting periods. Rabbits, in particular, should be kept off the grass for at least 7 days if using products with herbicides like Sportsmaster Renovator Pro or Cleanrun Pro, as they are more likely to ingest treated grass. Environmental factors such as rainfall or irrigation can influence how quickly these chemicals dissipate, impacting the safety of the treated areas.


General Tips for Pet Safety

  1. Read Labels Carefully: Always read the fertilizer product label for specific instructions regarding pet safety.
  2. Watering the Lawn: After applying fertilizer, watering the lawn can help dissolve the granules and integrate the fertilizer into the soil more quickly, reducing the risk to pets. Environmental factors such as rain can also play a significant role in this process.
  3. Monitor Pets: Keep an eye on your pets when they return to the treated area, ensuring they do not ingest any grass or soil. Be particularly vigilant if recent environmental conditions (e.g., heavy rain) might have affected the breakdown of fertilizer granules.



Ensuring the safety of your pets while maintaining a healthy lawn requires understanding the different types of fertilizers and their specific precautions. By adhering to the recommended waiting periods and taking additional safety measures, you can protect your pets from potential harm and enjoy a well-maintained lawn. Always consider environmental factors such as weather and soil conditions, as they can significantly influence the breakdown and safety of fertilizer products.

For professional advice tailored to your specific situation, please contact your local ICL advisor.