What are natural fertilizers?

In a previous post, www. allrescuedogs.com/pet-and-children-friendly-fertilizers/  I talked about dogs and toxic chemicals and fertilizers for our lawns. Now I am going to talk about natural fertilizers and homemade natural fertilizers for our yards and gardens.

What are natural fertilizers?

Natural and organic fertilizer differs from chemicals in that they feed your plants while building the soil. Soils with lots of organic material remain loose and airy, hold more moisture and nutrients, foster growth of soil organisms, and promote healthier plant root development. This helps prevent soil erosion. Natural fertilizer (a.k.an organic fertilizer) includes biodegradable compounds such as green manure, animal waste and compost. Natural fertilizers release chemicals slowly to the soil. That makes them very good for crops or plants like perennials that come back year after year. Natural fertilizers include more nutrients together. They minimize the negative environmental impacts. Natural fertilizers are cheaper than artificial fertilizer and have minimum health hazards.

Why do we need fertilizers?

As plants grow, their roots absorb nutrients from the soil and use them to produce leaves, flowers and fruit. Over time, a plant can exhaust the nutrients in its growing environment. Traditionally, the answer to that problem has been to provide fertilizers, which return essential nutrients to the soil. With growing concerns about the negative effects of fertilizer runoff, however, organic alternatives to fertilizers provide inexpensive, easy and sustainable options.


In nature, composting breaks down dead plant material and returns available nutrients to the soil for use by living plants. Home composting replicates that process, creating humus-rich soil that can be returned to gardens to restore soil nutrients. Home made or natural ingredients include grass clippings, vegetable scraps, coffee grinds and pulled garden weeds. Other ingredients include dead leaves, paper and straw. Add compost on top or mix it into the first few inches of soil for a fertilizer-free way to restore soil nutrients.

BANANA PEELS – Go ahead and dig your plant hole and add one or two peels in the hole before planting. You can also bury peels under mulch so they can compost naturally.

COFFEE GROUNDS – Acid-loving plants such as tomatoes, blueberries, roses and azaleas do well with coffee grounds added to the soil. Sprinkle coffee grounds on top of the ground before watering or pour a liquid version on top of the soil. If using as a soil drench, soak 6 cups of coffee grounds in a 5 gallon bucket of water. Let it sit for 2-3 days and then saturate the soil around your plants.

EGG SHELLS – Wash them first, then crush. Work the shell pieces into the soil near tomatoes and peppers. The calcium helps fend off blossom end rot. Eggshells are 93% calcium carbonate, the same ingredient as lime, a tried and true soil amendment!

SEAWEED – Both fresh and dried versions are considered excellent soil amendments. Seaweed contains trace elements and actually serves as a food source for soil microbes. Chop up a small bucket of seaweed and add it to 5 gallons of water. Let it sit for 2-3 weeks loosely covered. Use it to drench the soil and foliage. 2 cups work well for a small plant, 4 cups for a medium plants and 6 cups for a large plant.

WEEDS – You’ve got your own fertilizer growing under your feet! Nettles, comfrey, yellow dock, burdock, horsetail and chickweed make wonderful homemade fertilizer. There are several ways you can use them to make your own brew or to speed up your compost pile. If your weeds have not gone to flower you can dry them in the sun and chop them up to use as a mulch. They are high in nitrogen and won’t rob your plants of nutrients. Borage (star flower) is a herb. It has many of the same nutritional properties as comfrey.

MOLASSES – Using molasses in compost increases microbes and the beneficial bacteria that microbes feed on. If you want to start out with a simple recipe for molasses fertilizer, mix 1-3 tablespoons of molasses into a gallon of water. Water your plants with this concoction and watch them grow bigger and healthier.

HUMAN URINE – Sounds disgusting, but urine is considered sterile if the body it’s coming from is healthy and free of viruses and infection. High in nitrogen, urea contains more phosphorous and potassium than many of the fertilizers we buy at the store! If serving tomatoes that have been fertilized with pee gives you the “willies”, try it in the compost pile. A good ratio of urine to water would be 1:8. You can collect a cup of urine and pour it into 8 cups of water in a plastic bucket used outside for fertilizing plants. Pour 2 cups around the perimeter of each SMALL plant. For MEDIUM plants add 4 cups and LARGE plants deserve a good 6 cups of your personal home brew. Maybe we can put our animals to use by letting them relieve themselves by plants and then watering the yard!!

GRASS CLIPPINGS – Rich in nitrogen, grass breaks down over time and enhances the soil. Fill a 5 gallon bucket full of grass clippings. You can even add weeds! Weeds soak up nutrients from the soil just as much as grass. Add water to the top of the bucket and let sit for a day or two.

MANURE – With a little effort, you’ll find folks that are giving away composted chicken, horse or cow manure for free. Composted and aged manure is best. Add the composted manure to a small permeable bag made from recycled cloth, e.g., a t-shirt or old towel. Let it steep in the shade for a few days and apply it to your soil to condition it before planting. Bury or discard the used bag. Some people use manure tea to soak bare root roses!

CAT AND DOG FOOD – Depending on the dog food you recycle, this soil amendment may not be organic. However, even the cheap stuff contains protein and micro-nutrients that benefit the soil. To prepare a garden plot for planting, sprinkle dry pet food on the bed, turn the soil and water. Let it decay naturally. To discourage wildlife from visiting for a snack, cover with cardboard until the food decomposes. The cardboard will also trap moisture and discourage weeds. Make sure the cardboard gets wet all the way through and cover with mulch. Water thoroughly every week for four weeks. Soybean meal and alfalfa pellets from the grain store work great too. Sometimes grain stores will sell for cheap or give away spoiled grains. Check the feed for salt content and try not to add pet or animal food considered high in sodium. The AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) recommends dry dog food contain a minimum of 3% sodium to support normal growth and development.

WORM CASTINGS or Vermicomposting – As an earthworm feeds on organic matter, it creates castings–small granular droppings–that are rich with nutrients plants need to thrive. A single earthworm produces its weight in castings each day. Kept indoors in a cool, dark place, a worm bin turns discarded kitchen scraps into castings that return essential nutrients to the soil.

Neem-The tropical tree called neem is an effective natural fertilizer. Boil a few leaves of neem in a water pot. Let the boiled water cool down, and then pour it into a spray bottle. Spray evenly on your garden once a week. It will nourish the soil and fight harmful insects, too.

Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is an ancient practice in which a specific plot is planted with successive different crops in order to replenish the nutrients of the soil. Some plants require more of a particular nutrient than others, while other plants return certain nutrients to the soil. Planting many successive crops of a single plant in a single location tends to result in depletion of specific nutrients in that plot of soil. By introducing plants with different needs into the area, depletion are not as severe, giving soil time to recover nutrients needed for healthy plant growth. In a simple crop rotation plan, nitrogen-loving plants, such as tomatoes, should be planted the year after legumes that return nitrogen to the soil. Plants that don’t consume many nutrients, like herbs and root vegetables, grow well when planted after “heavy feeders” like lettuces, according to “Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening.”

Cover Crops

Similar to crop rotation, planting cover crops–also called green manures–involves planting crops that will restore nutrients to the soil. Cover crops are planted during off-seasons, such as the winter or early spring, to return nutrients needed for spring and summer food crops and prevent nutrients from leaching from the soil. Legumes, like clover, are popular choices for winter cover crops up north, as they restore nutrients while also preventing soil erosion. Peas and beans may also be suitable winter cover crops in warmer places. Green mulches are another type of cover crop that are planted in the summer among the vegetable crop. In addition to keeping soil nutrients in balance, green mulches also suppress the growth of weeds.


I think it comes down to what are your concerns and how much time do you have? We use chemical fertilizers because we don’t have the time needed to put into making a homemade compost. Even though it’s rather easy to make a homemade compost, it still takes more time that going to the store to buy chemical fertilizer. Do you have animals and children on your grass or feeding off of your garden? Then the natural fertilizers are your way to go.  When it comes to taking care of your lawn check out www.ourpsgardenwhisperers.com web site and consider hiring them for their yard services.

odorless bully sticks in review

I didn’t even know what a bully stick was until I got Cinnamon. Is it a stick to beat a bully with? Is it a stick that a bully beats with? With my past dogs, bully sticks were not a common chew stick. Raw hide was the favorite treat. Raw hide is out and bully sticks are in.

What is a bully stick and what is it made of?

Well, it’s made of a bull’s penis. Yep….there you go. It’s 100% beef,  does not contain any additives, chemicals, preservatives or coloring. They are also a great source of protein and contain taurine, which is an amino acid that moves important nutrients to and from cells.  These treats are easily digestible, unlike rawhide, which can be hard on your dog’s stomach. Bully sticks break down easily and also do not splinter like many other treats that are on the market so you do not have to worry about broken pieces causing internal injuries. Bully sticks are very good at maintaining good dental health for dogs, and can help prevent tooth decay by stopping the buildup of plaque on the teeth.

Are there any health concerns?

Only for us humans. If you buy a 100% natural ingredient bully stick, it won’t hurt your dog, but during testing, some bully sticks have been found to contain a wide range of bacteria such as Clostridium difficile, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli. Dog’s stomachs are different from human digestive systems. They are better able to tolerate bacteria that can cause serious illness in humans. Just make sure you wash your hands carefully after handling them and we won’t get sick either.

Many sizes to fit all sizes

There are many sizes and kinds of bully sticks to fit your dog. Even if your dog is not a chew monster, it will still keep them  busy!!!

These are just several of the different shapes and kinds that are out there.

Now that you know of the perfect treat for your dog…where do you buy them?


buy bully sticks at chewy. for $36.99

buy www.mybullysticks.com‘>bully sticks here. There are all sorts of bully sticks at All-natural dog treats and chews.

Happy, safe chewing!!!

Pet and children friendly fertilizers

In my previous post, www.allrescuedogs/dogs-and-fertilization-how-concerned-should-we-be/.com

I discussed the concern about fertilizing our yards and owning pets. There is some serious concern about the health and safety of our pets if they ingest fertilizer. So, I took on the task to look at different fertilizers to see if there is one that is safe or, at least, safer, for our pets.

Let’s discuss the chemicals in the fertilizers

There is this formula that the companies put on their bags, along with the ingredients. It is the percentage amount of nitrogen-phosphorus and potassium in each bag. Let’s see what each other does for the lawn and what it does to our pups.


For the lawn: Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plants. It’s responsible for the beautiful green color that you see in plant stems, for growth of the grass and for your lawn’s appearance of fullness or lushness.

Effect dogs: Weakness, Fatigue, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Depression, Dehydration, Constipation, Weight loss (cachexia)

Loss of appetite (anorexia), Bad breath (halitosis), Muscle wasting, Hypothermia, Poor hair coat, and Unnatural lack of color in the skin,


For the lawn: Phosphorus is involved in the metabolic processes responsible for transferring energy from one point to another in the plant. Energy from the stem can be transferred to the tips of the leaves with the help of phosphorus. It’s also critical in root development and flowering.

Effect dogs: Although there are no specific signs, In acute cases, painful muscular spasms and tremors may be seen.


For the Lawn: Potassium makes lawns resistant to weeds and disease.

Effect dogs: Gastrointestinal – Vomiting, transient diarrhea, and bloody feces.

These ingredients sound pretty horrible for our furry babies. I wanted to research to see if there were any fertilizers out there that are safe for our pets.

These Seven fertilizers claim to be Pet friendly:

Purely Organic Products Lawn Food is a new all-natural fertilizer.

The company claims: “Cost-Effective and Excellent Coverage One 25-pound bag covers up to 5,000 square feet of turf.

Will NOT Burn Your Lawn.

No Harsh Ingredients. (We know that not to be true).

Plant-Based Ingredients. Unlike manure- based and bio solid fertilizers,

No Manure = No Unpleasant Odor.

Lawn Food contains no dangerous chemicals or harmful ingredients”. Let’s decide for ourselves.

The ratio is 10-0-2. That means it has 10% nitrogen (very harmful to our pups) 0 % phosphorus and 2% potassium.

Dr. Earth Super Natural Lawn Fertilizer

The company claims: “A superior homogeneous blend of fish meal, fish bone meal, feather meal, potassium sulfate, alfalfa meal, calcium sulfate, seaweed extract, mycorrhizae and beneficial soil microbes. Controls thatch build up by digesting thatch ( Adds life to lawns by providing a broad spectrum of beneficial soil microbes plus three mycorrhizae stains. This ensures nutrients are made available to the grass roots more effectively and at a steady rate.

Greatly enhances the quality of environment for the soil that your lawn grows in

Fast results, plus continuous feeding for up to three months”

The chemical ratio is: 9-3-5. That means it has 9% nitrogen (very harmful to our pups) 3 % phosphorus and 5% potassium (harmful to our pups).

Ringer Lawn Restore II.

The company claims: “Rich microbial content with readily available plant nutrients for quick green-up and double the coverage area per bag. Lawn Restore II covers up to 5,000 sq. ft. It is a controlled release fertilizer made from organic materials and a blend of beneficial soil microorganisms that provide rapid greening and deep root development for strong, sustainable grass. There’s also no risk of toxic chemical runoff, over application or burning your grass.”

Their ratio is: 10-0-6 That means it has 10% nitrogen (very harmful to our pups) 0 % phosphorus and 6% potassium (harmful to our pups).

Safer® Brand Lawn Restore® Fertilizer

The company claims: “Safer® Brand Lawn Restore® Fertilizer is the answer to lawn revitalization and rejuvenation issues. With 25% more coverage per bag, lower cost, and a more effective formula of 9-0-2, Lawn Restore® is the smart choice for your lawn. Each bag contains up to 6,250 sq ft of coverage and provides all of the nutrients your lawn needs to revitalize to a thick turf in just one product. The NPK ratio of nutrients provides your lawn and soil with the nutrients it needs to promote healthy growth, develop a robust root system, repair a thinning lawn, and alleviate stress conditions throughout the year. When used as directed, Lawn Restore® Fertilizer is safe for children and pets immediately after application.”

*This product is a new and improved version of the former Ringer® Lawn Restore® II Fertilizer. It offers 25% more coverage, a more diverse source of nutrients, and an enhanced microbial blend which remains in suspension until application.

Their ratio is: 9-0-2 That means it has 9% nitrogen (very harmful to our pups) 0 % phosphorus and 2% potassium (harmful to our pups).

Scott’s natural lawn food

The company claims: “4,000 SQFT Coverage, 11-2-2, Natural Lawn Food, Builds A Thick Green Lawn, Safe To Walk On Lawn Immediately After Application, Apply Anytime On Any Grass Type, Can Be Used Around Kids and Pets, All Protein Ingredients, No Manure Smell, Guaranteed.

Their ratio is: 11-2-2 That means it has 11% nitrogen (very harmful to our pups) 2 % phosphorus and 2% potassium (harmful to our pups).

Pet Safe Lawn Fertilizer 5M,

The company claims: “Builds a thick green lawn, Safe for humans, domestic animals and all wildlife
Simply apply, water and play!”

Their ratio is: 24-0-6 That means it has 24% nitrogen (very harmful to our pups) 0 % phosphorus and 6% potassium (harmful to our pups).

Revive Granules Organic Soil Treatment

The company claims: “formulated to help homeowners grow a thick, green and beautiful lawn. It allows nutrients and air to penetrate deep into soil and works to improve nutrient percolation. It also prevents and corrects iron deficiencies and enhances your lawn’s color. This soil-wetting agent contains surfactants and extracts that are all natural and organic. They are safe for pets, kids and all members of the family.”


                                      My conclusion:

My conclusion is based off of the ratios given for nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.

Safer® Brand Lawn Restore® Fertilizer

is the safest for our pets and will still give us the green lawn we desire. You can buy this at:



Dogs and yard fertilization, how concerned should we be?

I take my dog for a walk twice a day, everyday, all year long. There are so many things to be concerned about when walking my dog. In the winter, it’s the salt that people put on their sidewalks to melt the ice and snow.  In the summer, it’s the fertilizer that is put on the yard.  It’s not just my neighbors that do it, I do too!  I fertilizer my yard two times per summer. How dangerous is this and how concerned should we be?

Beautiful lush lawns vs safety for our dogs

When we bought a house, we found out very quickly that just watering the lawn wasn’t going to keep it lush, green and weed free.  We needed to fertilize it.  Fertilizers used in our gardens to enhance the beauty and growth of our plants can be very toxic to our pets when ingested or exposed to the skin and mucus membranes. Our dogs walk into the grass and they sniff it in, lick it off the grass or walk on it and later lick it off their paws.  Quite often, the fertilizers that we use are mixed with substances that are more harmful than the fertilizers themselves.

To have both a beautiful lawn and a healthy pup, what can we do?

The dilemma with the application of lawn fertilizer is that it goes exactly where your dog wants to put his nose. Dogs by nature have their noses on the ground, sniffing everything. They like to smell the ground and poke their nose into holes. Trouble is, that is where the fertilizer goes until it is absorbed into the ground for the roots of your lawn to convert to food for the grass.  Some fertilizer residues can stay in toxic form for days to weeks.

Lawn fertilizers carry nitrogen, phosphate and potassium, all of which cause irritation to a dog’s stomach when ingested. Some of the additives that may be present in fertilizer are: Iron Disulfoton (responsible for seizures and pancreatitis) Copper Zinc Phosphorous and Ammonium (irritates skin and lungs).

Fertilizer and symptoms of ingestion

Ingestion of insecticides and herbicides can cause bladder cancer in our dogs. A case of mild exposure to fertilizer can result in burns on the pads of the feet (if your pet walked through or rolled in your fertilizer application) or irritation to the mouth or eyes. Lawn fertilizers can cause skin irritation in dogs. While it’s unlikely an ingestion of these elements will cause death, they were never intended to be in your dog’s digestive system. They will most likely cause him a moderate to severe stomachache and bring on vomiting and diarrhea. A dog ingesting larger amounts of phosphorus and potassium commonly reacts by being lethargic.

Tell me more!!!

When our furry family members come in contact with fertilizer products, the effects can range from mild to severe. Depending on the length of time of contact and how the fertilizer poisoning occurred, complications may include oral burns and stomach irritation. The accidental ingestion of fertilizer by your dog means that he has eaten a product that can possibly contain harmful substances (herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides) in addition to the compounds (phosphorous, iron, nitrogen) which are toxic when consumed in large amounts. In addition to vomiting and breathing difficulties, fertilizers can cause ulceration in the gastrointestinal tract and burns on the skin. If you suspect that your dog has eaten fertilizer, or of you have recently used the product in your garden and he is acting ill, a visit to the clinic is warranted without delay.

We want both worlds!!

Since pet owners want both worlds — a lush lawn and a protected dog, several manufacturers of lawn care products now produce fertilizers that are considered organic or “more safe” for lawns frequented by our pups. Even when marketed as “safe,” some of these lawn applications may still contain elements that could be harmful to our dogs. Thoroughly check the labels to determine the safety of a product. It can take a bit of searching to find a truly pet-safe lawn fertilizer, according to Gardening Central. Some fertilizers are clearly marked as “not safe” while others have no declaration either way.

Keep Off The Grass

The Dog Owner’s Guide suggests keeping pets off treated grass for 24 hours, as nitrogen can burn the pads of a dog’s foot. The guide also recommends keeping pets indoors during application to prevent an airborne inhalation or skin contact.

In the case of liquid fertilizer, the SFGate states that dogs should be kept off of lawns until the grass is visibly dry. For granular fertilizer, keeping dogs away from grass for 24 hours allows enough time for the soil to absorb the pellets.

What to do if you suspect your dog has come in contact with fertilizer.

Bring him to the veterinarian to determine the level of toxicosis. In the case of a basic fertilizer, the symptoms are mostly gastrointestinal and often will resolve within a day or two. It’s best to have your pet checked and be sure to bring along the container or product leaflet so the veterinarian can verify the ingredients of the product. If the fertilizer contains herbicides, fungicides, or pesticides the situation may become more urgent because the toxic effects of fertilizer containing these additives are much harsher. The veterinarian will base the diagnosis on clinical signs (vomiting, dermal ulcers) and may want to do additional urinalysis and blood testing (to check toxicity levels or to look for signs of secondary illness like pancreatitis), depending on the type of fertilizer.

Treatment will vary depending on factors such as the type of fertilizer exposure or ingestion, how much of the product was eaten, and how long the fertilizer was on the skin. Treatment for fertilizer poisoning in the case of additional herbicides and pesticides will vary due to the product.

Be safe this summer with our pups