Dogs and Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Soil Don’t Mix
(Poor, sick Mac on his way to the Animal Hospital - the cone is to keep him from pulling out the IV catheter.)
Here’s a warning to all pet owners - there’s something in Miracle-Gro’s Organic Choice Potting Mix that attracts dogs ( and maybe cats). We think it’s probably the funky smell of the composite material. My sister had put the soil in large pots flanking a patio, and hadn’t yet planted them with flowers. At any rate, our Golden Retriever Mac found it so irresistible that he ate clumps of the soil over several days.
We caught him in the act at one point and gave him a scolding, but since there were no warning labels on the bags, and it was advertised as all natural, we weren’t too concerned. However, he did get sick - very sick. It seemed to hit him all at once too. Vomiting, excessive drooling, diarrhea, and weakness. He had all the symptoms of being poisoned and we rushed him to the our vet with the ingredient label from one the bags of potting mix.
Sure enough, there’s nitrogen, phosphate, and potash (fertilizers) in the mix and the vet said Mac was exhibiting all the classic symptoms of organophosphate poisoning. They immediately started an IV to get him hydrated and informed us that he would need to go to a specialized animal hospital for more tests and 24 hour monitoring. It was late on a Friday afternoon and we waited anxiously that evening for a phone call giving us the results of his blood test.
We were so relieved when they finally called with good news, the blood tests were encouraging, however Mac was still panting and drooling. We fell asleep holding hands and hoping for more conclusive news in the morning. Fortunately, Mac did get to come home, he was lethargic and thin, but we were all thrilled that he lived through the ordeal. It’s been a couple of weeks now and he is still fine - showing no long-term effects from the poisoning. Of course the soil is gone, and none of us will buy Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix again.
We found several posts online about other pet owners who’ve had similar experiences. It makes us wonder why there are no prominent warning labels on the bag. My husband is writing a letter to Costco ( where the soil was purchased ) in hopes of preventing future problems for other curious, dirt-nibbling dogs (and cats). As for the company that makes the soil, Scotts claims that their potting soil is non-toxic, but admit there is organic fertilizer in the soil. The bottom line, they don’t believe that eating their potting mix causes any problem for pets. We’ll be sending them a copy of $1000 vet bills and the diagnosis of phosphate poisoning from two veterinary specialists.