In this post, you will learn everything important you need to know about weed and feed fertilizers and whether they are safe for pets.
What is a Scotts weed and feed and is it dangerous to pets?
A Scotts weed and feed is a special type of herbicide in the sense that it combines an herbicide and a fertilizer. It is available in many online and offline stores and it is primarily sold as a lawn care product to allow users like you and me to weed (kill weeds) and feed (give nutrients to grass) at the same time.
The idea of combining an herbicide and a fertilizer seems like a good idea on paper. This is because it allows you to do two things at the same time saving you a lot of time and the need to purchase two different products (an herbicide and a fertilizer).
However, experts have, for quite some time now, argued that it is not a good idea. This is because when you use it, you almost always end up applying an herbicide to parts of your lawn or yard that do not need it. How? Well, when you decide to use it to fertilize your entire lawn, you will at the same time be applying an herbicide to your entire lawn yet maybe only a few spots on your lawn (or none at all) have weeds that need to be killed. This may seem harmless but it is not.
Because when you do this regularly and over a wide area, the unused herbicide can accumulate in your lawn and cause you and your pets harm. It can also be washed off by the rain into a nearby water body resulting in its contamination.
Because weed and feed products result in the unnecessary application (dumping) of an herbicide over large areas, experts do not recommend their use. They recommend the separate application of fertilizers and herbicides; not both at the same time.
The Scotts weed and feed fertilizer is one of the most popular weed and feed products on the market! When you use it to feed your lawn, it will dump an herbicide all over your lawn for nothing. The herbicide might kill a few weeds but this is no justification for dumping it all over your lawn at the expense of your neighborhood’s environment and the safety of your pets.
Nevertheless, to be fair to the manufacturer of this product and the manufacturers of similar products, all weed and feed products have instructions on how to apply them safely and ensure they do not harm pets. This does not mean they will not entirely affect your pets. It just means that if you apply them safely, the likelihood of your pet or pets becoming sick is reduced.
If you have purchased or you want to purchase the Scotts weed and feed product, the best way to protect your pets is to follow the instructions given by the manufacturer as well as the tips in the section below.
Tips on how to protect your pets after applying a Scotts weed and feed product
Below are the important tips to follow
- Water your lawn twice. Before applying any weed and feed product, you should water your lawn. The moisture will help make sure the product sticks on the grass blades and not on the ground. After applying the product, you should water your lawn again about 24 hours later. This will ensure the fertilizer gets into the soil, and minimize the likelihood of the product remaining in plenty on your lawn. It will make your lawn safe for your pet or pets.
- Do not let your pets out on the lawn for at least 24 hours after the second watering. This is important to ensure your pets do not step on the product when it is still fresh on the lawn. Many pets like dogs and cats frequently lick their paws. So when they step on fresh weed and feed on the lawn and lick their paws, they will ingest chemicals that can affect them negatively.
- Treat only sections of your lawn at a time. It can be difficult to lock your pets inside if they like playing a lot on your lawn. So if you can, apply your weed and feed fertilizer only to a section of your lawn and then block it using barriers or anything else that can work. Make sure your pets cannot jump over the barriers when you let them play in the area you have not yet applied the weed and feed fertilizer. This will make it nearly impossible for them to be exposed to the chemicals of the fertilizer.
- Follow all the instructions given by the manufacturer. The manufacturer has done the research knows what’s good and what’s bad about their weed and feed product. Therefore, when they tell you to do something in the instructions, do it exactly the way they ask you to do it. When they warn you against doing something in the instructions, take their warning very seriously. If, for instance, they ask you to dilute the fertilizer with 5 gallons of water, do exactly that. Do not dilute it with 3 or 2 gallons of water because you want it to be more concentrated and more powerful. It could be more concentrated but this could also affect your pet or pets negatively. So follow instructions and take all warnings seriously.
- Keep the product out of the reach of your children and your pets. You may use this very carefully on your lawn and forget to keep it out of the reach of your kids and your pets. It can be very dangerous when your children or pets find it, somehow open it, and ingest it. So keep the product out of the reach of both your children and your pets.
The negative effects of the Scotts weed and feed because of 2.4-D
The Scotts weed and feed and many other similar products have 2.4-D. This is a chemical that is a weed killer. It eliminates weeds like crazy. However, it is also not very friendly to humans, pets, or the environment. Some experts argue it is carcinogenic. However, other experts say this is unproven.
Away from the ability of 2.4-D to cause cancer, the chemical is known to be toxic to dogs. However, how much it affects a dog depends on its size and the quantity it consumes. If your dog is of medium size and ingests this chemical, it can exhibit effects such as convulsions, lethargy, trouble breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, drooling, and gastrointestinal issues. In other words, your dog will be in a really bad place if it ever gets exposed to this chemical.
The final word
Most weed and feed products, including the Scotts weed and feed product, have chemicals that are not pet-friendly. To protect your pet or pets, follow the tips above and all the instructions and warnings contained on the instructions leaflet of the weed and feed product you want to use.