Is Peat Moss Toxic to Dogs?

By Anne Rose

Peat moss is used by gardeners as compost to retain moisture in gardens and potted plants. Peat moss is partially decomposed sphagnum moss.


Peat moss, used by gardeners, is commonly treated with pesticides and other chemicals during processing. Generally cleaned of all chemical residue, commercial peat moss may contain traces of harmful elements. In general, however, peat moss is listed as nontoxic.

Digestive Irritant

Dogs often eat odd things, and decayed, water-saturated peat moss may be appealing. Although peat moss is nontoxic, it can cause gastrointestinal irritation. The symptoms of peat moss ingestion are nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Contact your veterinarian for care advice.

Skin Irritant

If a dog rolls in peat moss it may cause skin irritation. Rinse your dog's coat and skin with clear fresh water.

Eye Irritant

Peat moss can cause eye irritation and infection. If your dog gets peat moss in the eyes, hold the dog's eyes open one at a time, reaching from behind, and rinse with clear water, saline or dog eye wash solution. Repeat until the eyes are well irrigated. If you have trouble cleaning your dog's eyes, seek veterinary assistance.


Peat moss is a breathing irritant. Limit your dog's exposure to fresh peat moss that might be in the air, especially during initial application.


A dog that has had extended exposure to peat moss or that has ingested peat moss should be seen by a veterinarian. Some brands of peat moss may contain traces of harmful chemicals used in the process of killing microorganisms; peat moss may cause intestinal distress.