Is lime fertilizer poisonous to animals?

Updated March 27, 2017

Lime is used to sweeten, or reduce the acidity of, the soil. The details of a given lime product's manufacturing determine whether it presents a poison hazard to your pets and livestock.

Agricultural Lime

Powdered limestone rock, also known as agricultural lime, isn't considered toxic.

Quick Lime

Heating lime produces the more reactive quick lime (burnt lime). It can irritate the skin, so keep it out of the reach of pets and small children.

Calcium Cyanamide

Also knows as lime fertiliser or lime nitrogen, calcium cyanamide irritates the skin, eyes and respiratory tract, is toxic to humans and animals, and has demonstrated moderate to high acute toxicity from oral and dermal exposure in test animals.


To prevent accidental poisoning, either store lime fertiliser off the floor where dogs can't get at it, or in dog-proof containers. Sweep up spills promptly.


Horses should be removed from pastures where lime fertiliser is being applied and not returned until at least 1/2 inch of rainfall has occurred to wash the substance off all leaf surfaces.

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About the Author

Nicole LeBoeuf-Little is a freelancer from New Orleans, writing professionally since 1994. Recent short stories appear on and in Ellen Datlow's anthology "Blood and Other Cravings." She has published articles in "Pangaia Magazine" and eGuides at She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from University of Washington and attended the professional SF/F workshop Viable Paradise.