My dogs eat Scotts® Organic Choice® Lawn Food

Posted on May 8th, 2010 in Commentary,Engineerboy,Product Reviews by EngineerBoy

Dogs eat it, flies swarm to it

I thought I’d try to be a little more gentle on the environment and use an ‘organic’ fertilizer for our yard.  I found Scotts® Organic Choice® Lawn Food at the local Home Depot and decided to give it a try.  I just spread it this weekend so I can’t speak to its greening or healthifying effects on the lawn, but I can state, unequivocally, that my three dogs and every fly in the general area *love* it.

I first spread it on the front lawn, without any drama, and the only slight warning sign was the very…er…’organic’ smell of the stuff.  However, it smelled like it could be a rich source of nutrients, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

Then I spread it in the back yard, where our dogs have access to the fenced yard.  I locked them in the house while I spread it, and as soon as I finished and let them back out all three of them started snuffling around the entire yard like prized truffle pigs.  Things took a turn for the worse when I noticed that all three of them were also licking the grass and ground and ingesting the fertilizer grains.

I also noticed that there were flies all over the yard, landing randomly all over the grass, apparently drawn in by the organic lawn food.  Note that I’m pretty meticulous about keeping our yard clean of doggie bombs, so the appearance of swarms of flies is not normal.  Also, the flies weren’t hanging around any dog piles, they were all over the yard.

I locked the dogs back in the house and figured I’d try watering the Scotts into the yard and see if that would help.  It didn’t, it only seemed to add an irresistable ‘gravy’ to the granules and made even more attractive to my dogs and the flies.

So, now, here I sit with my dogs locked in the house with my hamster on its hamster bed(It’s in a cage), waiting for the time when (I hope) the Scotts has lost its mojo enough that my dogs won’t continually graze on it.  The stuff claims to be safe for kids and pets, and there’s even a picture of a kid and a pet laying in a grassy yard on the label, but I bet this stuff isn’t designed to be a dietary supplement.

I checked the Scotts site here, but they don’t have any helpful information, and as of the time of this posting the “View Label” button on that page returns:

“We apologize for the inconvenience, but this information is no longer current and accessible.”

Similarly, the ‘FAQ & Help’ tab says:

“Sorry, no F.A.Q. material for this product is available.  If you have product questions Scotts experts are available by email and phone in our Help Center.”

Which neither answers my questions nor is helpful.

So, if you’re like me and you’re exploring more natural ways to keep your lawn green, and you’re wondering about Scotts® Organic Choice® Lawn Food and your dogs, I can tell you that I won’t be using it again.  My dogs haven’t seemed to suffer in ill effects, but still, I don’t want them eating this stuff.  Also, the flies were just the icing on the cake and completed my disappointment in this product.  I mean, even if I didn’t have dogs, who wants to have a fly-infested green lawn?

Not me.

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8 Responses to 'My dogs eat Scotts® Organic Choice® Lawn Food'

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  1. Jeannie said,

    on May 11th, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    I just came in from spreading this stuff on my back yard. My cat went crazy when she smelled the dust on my clothes and arms. I got on the internet right away to see if anyone else has animals that are attracted to the smell. I think it basically contains the same ingredients as some of the organic rose food I use, but I’ve never had the cat chasing me around the house trying to smell me when I use it. I’m not looking forward to the flies if that’s what is coming next. Hopefully it will at least make my lawn look better than it does now. Thanks for posting your story.

  2. Kim said,

    on May 16th, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Having the same problem with my dog eating the fertilizer — it has been at least 3 days and he is still at it. Definitely will not be buying this again!

  3. EngineerBoy said,

    on May 17th, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    Jeannie and Kim,

    Good to know other pets are reacting to this stuff and it’s not just that we have three crazy dogs! I’m definitely not using this stuff again, which is disappointing.



  4. James Roberts said,

    on May 25th, 2010 at 9:33 am

    I too bought this fertilizer but my dog only did a lot of smelling and didn’t eat the stuff. This product is all natural, meaning no chemicals! It contains poultry feathers, bone meal and blood meal (no wonder animals are attracted to it). But this stuff is harmless to your beloved pet. Furthermore, although traditional chemical fertilizers will really green up your lawn in a hurry, the long term affect on the soil is very detrimental (lacking beneficial microbes ad such). Keep this in mind.


  5. Tracy said,

    on May 29th, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Mental note to self…search for information like this before applying a bag to the yard. Add two more dogs to the list of those who won’t stop licking the grass and trying to eat the grains.

  6. EngineerBoy said,

    on May 29th, 2010 at 9:50 pm


    Sorry to hear that. Mine stopped after about a day and a half, and that was after I watered the stuff in very thoroughly in hopes of diluting and/or diminishing its potency.

    Hope your dogs are fine, like mine (seemingly, so far).



  7. Henry said,

    on June 1st, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I’ve been using this stuff for 2 years. My dog likes the smell and tries to nibble the fertilizer from the spreader, and even gets some wicked gas after eating a bit., no other ill effects though. However, I always spread it in the late afternoon and immediately run the sprinklers on a full cycle. The following morning, I will run the sprinklers on a full cycle again. (I know it’s a bit excessive on the water, but I only spread the stuff 4 times during the season, so it’s only 4 extra waterings spread out over the whole season.

    I have never had my dog trying to eat the stuff, or even sniffing the ground more than usual, after applying and watering well.

    In fact, I’m heading out right now to get a couple more bags for the rest of the season. It’s good stuff, just needs to be watered in well.

  8. MLW said,

    on July 14th, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    I had Tru Green for my yard and they used some type of granule. My two chihuahua puppies loved it like candy. I was in the process of potty training them so had to be outside alot. I would admonish them to not eat it whenever I saw them chomping down. It was a lost cause.
    Shortly thereafter, my youngest puppy’s ears flopped down. This is not desirable in a chihuahua. It has been 2 months and she cannot hold her ears up any more. I am so sad about this result and wish Tru Green had told me they were going to use a granule. I would have said not to. I fear she has had some type of neurological damage.

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