How Long After Fertilizing Should Kids And Pets Avoid The Lawn?

It is generally recommended that kids and pets should avoid the lawn for at least 24-48 hours after fertilizing or pest controlling. This precaution is important to minimize their exposure to any potentially harmful chemicals used in these products. Fertilizers and pesticides contain chemicals that can be harmful if ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin. However, the exact duration may vary depending on the specific product used, so it’s important to read and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Additionally, ensuring that the lawn has been properly watered and dried can help reduce any lingering chemicals that could pose a risk to children and pets.

Recommended waiting periods for lawn treatments

A. Fertilizer application: 24-48 hours

It’s essential to keep children and pets off the lawn for at least 24-48 hours after fertilizer application. This is because:

  1. Fertilizers can irritate skin and stomachs. Nitrogen-based fertilizers, in particular, can cause irritation if they come into contact with skin or are ingested.
  2. Rain or watering can increase the risk of contact and burns. If the lawn is watered or it rains after fertilizing, the chances of contact with the chemicals increase, as well as the risk of burns.

B. Pesticide or weed control treatment: Follow product instructions

For pesticide or weed control treatments, it’s crucial to follow the waiting period specified on the product instructions. Generally, this ranges from:

  1. 3-7 days for chemicals to fully absorb. This period ensures that the chemicals have been adequately absorbed into the soil and plants, minimizing the risk of exposure.
  2. Pesticides and weed killers can be toxic. These chemicals can pose risks to humans and animals, so it’s essential to avoid exposure as much as possible.

C. Unclear or unspecified instructions: 72 hours (3 days)

If any instructions are unclear or unspecified, err on the side of caution and keep kids and pets off the lawn for at least 72 hours (3 days) after any treatment.

Risks of exposure to lawn treatments

Exposure to lawn treatments can lead to various health issues, ranging from mild to severe. Some potential risks include:

A. Skin rashes, itching, swelling, or burns from chemical exposure.

B. Stomach upset, nausea, or other illness if chemicals are ingested from walking on or eating grass.

C. Severe symptoms or poisoning are possible from exposure to some pesticides or in large amounts.

How to ensure safety and enjoy the lawn again

To keep your family safe and enjoy your lawn after treatment, follow these guidelines:

A. Always follow the directions and warnings on product labels carefully. Proper use and adherence to safety guidelines can significantly reduce risks

B. Keep children and pets indoors or in a fenced area away from the lawn during and after treatment. This helps to prevent accidental exposure to chemicals.

C. Reintroduce kids and pets to the lawn slowly and supervise at first. Once the recommended waiting period has passed, monitor your children and pets as they return to the lawn to ensure their safety.

D. Consider a doggy door or fence line access. If needed, install a doggy door or fence line access so pets can go on and off the lawn on their schedule, avoiding treated areas when necessary.

E. Use precaution as some chemicals may remain present. Be aware that certain chemicals may continue to be present in the grass and soil for some time after treatment, so exercise caution and vigilance.


Q. Will My Dog Eat The Fertilizer?

While dogs generally do not find fertilizers appetizing, there’s still a possibility that they might be attracted to the smell or taste and ingest it. Ingesting fertilizer can be harmful to dogs, especially if it contains toxic chemicals or ingredients like pesticides. Symptoms of fertilizer ingestion in dogs may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethargy, and loss of appetite. If you suspect that your dog has ingested fertilizer, it’s important to contact your veterinarian immediately for guidance on what to do. It’s always a good idea to keep dogs away from freshly treated areas to prevent any accidental ingestion or exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.

Q. Is Fertilizer Dangerous for Kids And Pets?

In general, fertilizers and pesticides can be dangerous for kids and pets if ingested or exposed to in large amounts. They contain chemicals that can be toxic and cause a range of health issues. Ingesting fertilizer can lead to gastrointestinal irritation and potentially more serious complications, especially if it contains harmful ingredients like pesticides or herbicides. It is important to keep children and pets away from freshly treated areas, and to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer regarding proper application and waiting times before allowing them on the lawn. Organic fertilizers and pet-friendly alternatives are generally safer options to consider for households with pets or young children.

Q. Is Nitrogen Fertilizer Safe for Dogs?

Nitrogen fertilizer is generally safe for dogs when used properly. However, ingestion of large amounts of nitrogen fertilizer can lead to gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting, diarrhea, and potentially more serious complications. Therefore, it’s important to keep dogs away from freshly fertilized areas until the product has been absorbed or washed away by rain. Organic fertilizers, such as compost or bone meal, are generally considered less harmful to pets since they contain natural ingredients. Nonetheless, it is always recommended to consult with a veterinarian about the specific fertilizers and their ingredients to ensure the safety of your pets.

Q. Which Fertilizer Isn’t Bad for Pets?

In terms of finding a fertilizer that isn’t harmful to pets, it is advisable to choose pet-friendly or organic fertilizers. These products are formulated to be safer for dogs and other animals. Organic fertilizers made from natural ingredients like compost, bone meal, or fish meal are generally considered pet-safe, as long as they are used according to the instructions. Additionally, there are some pet-friendly lawn care companies that specialize in using environmentally friendly and safe products for both lawns and pets. It’s always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian for specific recommendations based on your pet’s needs and any potential sensitivities.

Q. Should I Fertilize My Lawn Myself?

Fertilizing your lawn can be a beneficial practice, but whether or not you should do it yourself depends on a few factors. Here are some points to consider:

  1. Knowledge and expertise: Do you have sufficient knowledge about the different types of fertilizers, their application rates, timing, and potential risks? If not, it may be wise to consult with a lawn care professional or do some research before proceeding.
  2. Equipment and materials: Do you have the necessary equipment and materials to correctly apply the fertilizer? This includes spreaders, protective gear, and the specific type of fertilizer suitable for your lawn’s needs.
  3. Time and effort: Fertilizing a lawn can be time-consuming, especially if you have a large or unevenly shaped yard. Consider if you have the time and willingness to invest in the necessary ongoing maintenance and monitoring.
  4. Local regulations and environmental impact: Some areas have restrictions or guidelines regarding fertilizer use due to potential environmental impacts. It’s essential to follow these guidelines to avoid any negative consequences.
  5. Budget: DIY lawn fertilizer application can be cost-effective compared to hiring professionals. However, consider the cost of purchasing equipment, fertilizers, and potential mishaps that could occur.

If you feel confident in your abilities, have the necessary equipment, and understand the requirements and potential risks, fertilizing your lawn yourself can be a rewarding and cost-effective option. However, if you are unsure or it seems overwhelming, it might be best to seek assistance from a lawn care professional.


Lawn treatments can help maintain a beautiful, healthy yard, but they can also pose risks to children and pets. By following the recommended waiting periods, understanding the potential risks of exposure, and taking appropriate safety measures, you can ensure your family’s safety and enjoy your lawn


  • Nathan Collins

    Having spent years working in the landscaping industry, Nathan Collins has cultivated a wealth of knowledge about the natural world. He is committed to helping others appreciate the beauty in their backyards, whether it's through identifying rare rocks and minerals or crafting the perfect landscape.

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