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Fertiliser and Pets: yay or nay?

For those who have a dog or a cat as a pet, caution must be exercised with fertilisers. While our Hesi fertilisers are not dangerous for pets, it is advisable not to place the plants directly within the immediate reach of the animals right after fertilising. Additionally, there are numerous indoor plants that are toxic and even life-threatening to pets. Read on to learn which plants are dangerous for dogs and cats and what to consider when fertilising in general.

Fertilisers for pets: when does it become dangerous?

In general, our Hesi fertiliser is not dangerous for animals. However, whether and when a fertiliser becomes threatening to animals largely depends on the ingredients used. When the fertiliser is applied to the plant, it generally does not harm the animals. However, it's a different story if the animal drinks directly from the bottle. Therefore, it is essential to securely store your fertilisers so that the animals cannot access them. The same applies to cleaning agents of all kinds, as well as detergents, which are even more dangerous for animals than our Hesi fertilisers.

What distinguishes our Hesi Fertiliser? Our fertilisers are mostly made from natural ingredients and are harmless to animals upon contact. However, dogs should not drink NPK fertilisers directly. If a dog chews on a plant treated with our fertiliser, the amount of fertiliser is likely so small that it is harmless—provided the plant itself is not toxic. Additionally, our fertilisers do not contain dangerous chemicals or heavy metals that could harm animals' health. Even if such substances are present in trace amounts, their concentration is so low that they pose no danger to pets. Certain pesticides and herbicides can also be toxic to pets, which is why our fertilisers are completely free of such additives. 

Nevertheless, when in doubt: Caution is always advised when handling fertilisers. Some dogs or cats may have allergic reactions to the ingredients in the fertiliser. Therefore, always store liquid fertilisers in a way that prevents animals from accessing the bottle. Special caution is advised for blue granular fertiliser, which is also a popular type of fertiliser. Unlike many liquid fertilisers, this spherical fertiliser is made entirely of chemical substances and is highly toxic. After ingesting the small blue granules, pets often experience severe diarrhea, rattling breath, and vomiting. The mucous membranes are visibly irritated and discolored. In cases of severe overdose, the animal may even lose consciousness. If this happens, seek veterinary care as quickly as possible.

What effect does fertiliser have on pets?

Fertiliser for houseplants should always be stored securely and out of reach of pets. However, caution is also advised when fertilising your lawn where dogs may play shortly afterward. Hesi fertiliser is versatile and specially developed for use with various substrates (soil, hydro, coco) and is ideal for all (tropical) houseplants. Our fertiliser is non-toxic, and we do not offer a specific product for lawns, as lawn fertilisers often contain weed and moss killers that are particularly harmful to dogs. For pet owners, organic or bio-fertilisers such as our Hesi Bio Grow or Hesi Bio Bloom are a better choice.

If you water your lawn thoroughly after fertilising, you can allow your dog back onto the lawn just a few hours later. However, if you use a mineral fertiliser, you should wait at least three days before letting your dog back onto the lawn. Poisoning doesn't only occur if the dog eats the fertiliser. It's enough if the dog walks on the lawn and then licks its paws. So, make sure your dog doesn't walk on freshly fertilised fields when you go for a walk. Fertiliser poisoning in dogs can manifest through the following symptoms:

  •  Trembling 
  • Unusually heavy drooling 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Staggering 
  • Refusal to eat 
  • Seizures 

As soon as the first signs of fertiliser poisoning are noticeable, take your pet to a veterinarian. If you are certain that the symptoms are caused by fertiliser, it is best to bring the fertiliser bottle with you to the vet. Based on the ingredients, the vet can quickly decide what measures to take.

Which houseplants are toxic to pets?

Much more dangerous than the actual fertiliser is the houseplant itself. Some varieties contain toxins that can cause severe health problems in animals and even lead to death. There are many houseplants that are toxic and many are not even fully researched yet. Therefore the general advice is to avoid having your pets nibble on your houseplants. However, the following houseplants are considered particularly poisonous and should always be placed out of reach of animals:

  • Dragon tree 
  • Azalea 
  • Aloe vera 
  • Calla lily 
  • Dieffenbachia 
  • Sago palm 
  • Oleander 
  • Poinsettia

The dragon tree is popular as a houseplant because it is very easy to care for. However, the saponins contained in its plant sap are toxic to animals. If the pet nibbles on the dragon tree leaves, it usually ingests only a small amount of this substance, as the taste is quite bitter. However, consuming larger amounts can cause diarrhea and vomiting, and even lead to seizures.

Azalea is known for its lush blossoms. However, all parts of this plant are toxic to both humans and animals. Thus, eating any part of this plant can also cause diarrhea and vomiting. 

Similar to the dragon tree, aloe vera also contains saponins. While aloe vera is considered the number one healing plant for skin problems, it is harmless to animals when ingested. 

The calla lily is one of the most elegant houseplants, often used in lush bouquets. However, both the bulb and the plant sap of the calla lily are dangerous to animals. Consumption can lead to gagging, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Another houseplant that should be kept out of reach of pets is dieffenbachia. It contains oxalate crystals, which can cause swelling and difficulty breathing when chewed. The sago palm is a particularly dangerous houseplant for animals. All parts of the plant are hazardous to animals because they contain cycasin, which can lead to liver failure and, in the worst case, death. 

Oleander is another plant that is highly toxic to animals. Even ingesting small parts of the plant can cause severe heart problems, digestive issues, and, in the worst case, death. 

During the Christmas season, many people enjoy having poinsettias to spread holiday cheer and decorate their homes. However, the milky sap of this plant can cause skin irritation and, if ingested, lead to vomiting and diarrhea. Pet owners should avoid these toxic plants and instead opt for pet-friendly alternatives. 

So, while our fertiliser is not directly toxic, we always recommend preventing animals from nibbling on or licking plants that have been fertilised. Also, be mindful of where you place the watering can to minimise contact.

  • Cultivation Tips : Plant Care , Hesi Products , Cultivation Tips