Have you recently noticed that the plants in your flower garden aren't growing very well and that many of their leaves are yellowing? Have you determined that your flowers are suffering from an iron deficiency and are you planning on buying some iron-rich fertilizer to treat your soil and get your plants healthy again? If you have a dog, this is a very bad idea. Read on to learn about the dangerous effects excess iron can have on your pup and how to cure your plants without putting your canine companion in harm's way.
The Problem With Excess Iron
Your dog's body uses iron to build red blood cells, so he or she needs a certain amount of it in their diet. Ideally, your pup should have about 35 mg of iron for every pound of dry food that they eat each day. If your dog surpasses this number, however, and they consume too much iron for their body weight, their health and well-being is put at serious risk.
Iron in large quantities is corrosive to your dog's stomach and intestinal lining. It can be absorbed into his or her cells, causing those cells to become damaged and lose function. A dog that is experiencing iron toxicity may become depressed and lethargic, experience abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, and/or be faced with gastrointestinal hemorrhaging, shock, and tremors.
If you apply an iron-rich fertilizer to your flower garden and your dog ingests some of that fertilizer, the consequences could be fatal.
A Better Option
Instead of buying a highly-concentrated, iron-rich fertilizer to spray or scatter on the soil in your flower garden, consider trying to solve your problem a more natural way by adding dead leaves to your soil and working them in. Plants usually develop an iron deficiency because they are waterlogged, or because their soil is too alkaline. Adding organic matter to your soil will both lower its pH level and increase drainage.
If Adding Dead Leaves Doesn't Work
If adding organic matter to your soil doesn't improve your plants' health, then it may be time to consider swapping your flowers out for ones that are more suitable for your soil conditions. Consider having a soil analysis done and then using it to shop for plants that will thrive in the pH levels your soil already has. If you've worked so long and hard on your flower garden that you're not willing to remodel it, and you still feel you must fertilize your plants with an iron-rich fertilizer, then take the following steps to limit the risks the fertilizer poses to your dog.
Opt For Liquid Over Granule Fertilizer. Liquid fertilizer provides a quick burst of nutrients to your plants and is absorbed into the soil quickly. Granule-form fertilizer provides a small-yet-steady flow of nutrients to your plants, taking between one and nine months to be completely absorbed into the soil. The less time the fertilizer you choose stays on the surface of your garden, the less time your dog has to ingest it. Opt for the liquid fertilizer that soaks in to the earth fast over the granules that linger on the ground for a long time.
Keep Your Dog Contained During Application. Allow your dog some time outside before you apply liquid fertilizer, and then keep him or her indoors during application and until your plants and the soil you treated appear completely dry. It only takes a second for a dog to decide they're thirsty and start lapping up the closest puddle of liquid.
Watch Your Dog For Signs Of Iron Toxicity. If after fertilizing your flower garden you notice your dog exhibiting any of the signs of iron toxicity discussed above, call your veterinarian right away. Depending on how much fertilizer your dog ingests, your veterinarian may instruct you to induce vomiting on-the-spot in order to limit the amount of iron your dog's body absorbs. At the clinic, you can expect your dog to need an IV solution and oxygen to help flush the excess iron out of their system, and they may need a blood transfusion as well. Your dog's condition will need to be monitored for several days after ingestion; dogs with iron toxicity often go through a phase of apparent recovery before their symptoms worsen.
If you're planning on treating your flower garden with an iron-rich fertilizer, you should know that doing so would pose a very big risk to your dog. Consider taking a more natural approach to solving your problem, and if you absolutely must use a store-bought fertilizer, follow the above tips to protect your furry friend.
For more information on iron toxicity in dogs, talk with your veterinarian or visit websites like http://www.1stPetVet.com.