If you have a lawn, you will have to apply weed killers almost every year to keep it lush and vibrant. You also love your pets and it loves to run on the lawn. Now, the dilemma begins…
Is weed killer safe for pets?
I would love to give you a straight answer, but it’s complicated. Most of the chemical weed killers are not safe for your pets. Even some of the homemade weed killers are not too!
So, what’s the solution? Luckily, there are some pet-friendly weed killers and there are alternatives to weed killers too!
How Weed Killer Can Put Your Pets In Harm Ways?
The reason every pet owner is looking for a pet-safe weed killer is because of the severe side effects of chemical weed killers on pets.
When you apply such weed killers to your lawn, it takes at least 48 hours to dry completely. Within this time, if your pets breathe, walk, or eat in the treated lawn, the consequence is severe!
As the treated lawn grass rubs their bellies and legs, the chemical may enter their stomachs when they lick their body parts.
If you place the pet’s water bowl outdoor (often on the lawn!), the risk of toxic chemical exposure is really high! Sadly, the danger of weed killers does not end here.
You see, the chemicals from the weed killers may transfer to the untreated lawn from the treated lawn via wind or run-off water. That’s another way of putting the pets in harm’s way when they pass nearby that area.
The above scenarios are just a few ways how your pet can get exposed to such chemicals. But what’s the danger?
Well, not just your pets, both of you and your pet can become vulnerable to several diseases like nausea, diarrhea, dermatitis, dehydration, breathing problems, unconsciousness, etc.
Symptoms of Toxic Chemical Exposure
Once exposed, you need to take your pets to the nearest vet as fast as possible. There are certain symptoms you can observe to understand that your pet was exposed to such weed killer chemicals.
If you own a dog, your dog will start vomiting, shivering, panting, breathing heavily once digested those chemicals from the pesticides.
Your dog may not or show a little of those symptoms if you feed it less processed foods. But if you notice its stomach discomfort, contact your vet ASAP.
In the case of cats, the symptoms are pretty much similar if they digest the weed killer. That means your cat will drool, vomit, have less appetite, have difficulty in breathing.
Along with taking your pet to the vet upon noticing such symptoms, make sure to take a sample of the weed killer that you suspect your pet might digest too.
How To Get Pet-Safe Weed Killer?
You can’t just trust whatever the label says! There are few aspects of weed killer you need to consider to keep your pet safe and get rid of weeds.
Here are 4 important factors you should ensure:
Natural/organic, whatever claims they make – don’t just blindly trust them. Read the ingredients mentioned on the label.
If you notice ingredients like vinegar and corn gluten meal, they are safe for your pets.
But ingredients like chloroform, 2,4-D (trimec), carbon tetrachloride, sethoxydim, and glyphosate are harmful to your dog or pet. Avoid them!
Some organizations research such products. One of them is Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI).
This non-profit private organization certifies organic products. So, if you should their certification on the label too.
- Positive Feedback
I trust actual reviews from people. That’s what you should do. Read reviews on major online stores to be sure whether the product is actually pet safe or not.
Also, make sure to check how long it takes to work or what sort of weeds it targets.
5 Safe Weed Killer For Pets
Is there any weed killer that is safe for your pet? Luckily, there are. At least some brands claim that!
Now, I am about to review some pet-friendly weed killers. I read reviews about them and I am convinced they won’t put your pets in danger. But again, you should do your due diligence to be extra safe.
Preen Weed Preventer
Don’t confuse it with Preen Grass and Weed Killer. Both are different products. The weed preventer version does not kill already grown weeds. Rather, it prevents weed growth.
A while ago, I wrote an article on how to apply Preen to kill weeds. It’s a pre-emergent herbicide and highly recommended to prevent weeds without putting your pets at risk.
But the most important feature of Preen is that it’s safe to apply around 200 different types of grass, shrubs, vegetables, and trees!
Based on several feedbacks from the lawn owners, it’s safe to say that Preen can actually take out the weeds and it’s safe for your pets (contains no glyphosate).
For pet owners, it’s highly recommended to avoid future hard works to remove weeds from your garden.
As it can stop weeds from growing in the first place, you won’t have to deal with them later on a massive scale.
There are more reasons why you should apply Preen. As it’s made from corn gluten meal, it prevents your weeds makes your lawn grass greener.
Also, rain won’t wash it out once applied!
Key Facts of Preen
- It starts working even before the weeds become problematic.
- As it contains more protein than other weed preventers, it is more effective than them too.
- Perfectly safe for your grass seedlings.
- You can prevent the sprouting of weeds if you apply it multiple times per year.
Now, before you get too excited about Preen, let me remind you again – this is not a weed killer. It’s a weed preventer.
So, if you heard it’s a less effective weed killer, just keep the above point in mind. It’s not designed to kill weeds. You have to apply it on your lawn so that no weed can grow!
Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed Killer
It’s made the top of the list simply because it works like a charm!
As the name suggests, the main ingredient of this pet-safe weed killer is vinegar. Vinegar is by all means safe for humans and animals.
But, the vinegar used in this weed killer is at least 30 times stronger than your table vinegar. So, it’s a good one to use on your lawn or garden where weeds are not desired.
Yes, it’s pet-safe but how efficient it is to take out the weeds?
Well, as per numerous positive feedback on major online stores, Green Gobbler works almost immediately without causing any irritation or any other side effects to your pets.
For lawn and garden owners who have been dealing with weed problems for years have confirmed the fact that it kills the weeds upon contact!
Key Information of Green Gobbler
- Certified by OMRI.
- Made from USA-grown corn.
- You will see results within 24 hours after application.
- No chemicals or dyes were used.
- Can be used for other cleaning applications.
- Reasonable pricing.
It’s a non-selective weed killer. Meaning it will kill any weed and grass it can touch. So, be careful to keep your surrounding plants safe!
Natural Elements Weed Killer
Like the previous one, it can kill the weeds within 24 hours. Once sprayed, it sticks to the weeds and strips their coatings. Ultimately, it can kill them within a day!
And yes, it’s pet-safe. The main ingredients of Natural Elements weed killer have concentrated vinegar and saltwater.
So, don’t get anxious about the safety of your beloved pets.
To make yourself more comfortable, you can read their ingredients on the label. They are very transparent about it.
But I am pretty sure you won’t find any concerning ingredients like glyphosate in there.
However, to get quick results, you need to apply it in warmer weather. In cooler temperatures, it may take up to 5 days to see any visible results.
Major Information on Natural Elements
- Made in the U.S.A. Works great against grasses and major broadleaf weeds.
- No need to mix anything. It’s a one-quart bottle, very easy to spray. But don’t spray on a windy day!
- You won’t have the pungent smell of the vinegar while spraying.
- Some reviews even claim that it kills sticker weeds and poison ivy too!
- Reasonable price. Great value for the money.
It will kill your lawn grass they come in contact with this. So, don’t apply directly on your lawn unless you want to kill all the weeds and grass completely.
Wondercide Pet-Safe Pest Controller
Who doesn’t love a bug-free and weed-free lawn?
Apparently, it’s a 2-in-1 solution for your lawn. Although the company does not tout it as a weed killer, in reality, it does eliminate weeds!
The brand is already popular among dog lovers to get rid of flea and tick from their beloved dogs. Their weed killer is also effective and safe for pets too.
Now, it’s not just a safe weed killer for pets; it’s basically a pest controller too.
It solves the problem of fleas and ticks on your lawn grass and at the same time, the grass is safe for your pet to lay on, walk on, and roll on.
I admit it does act fast other weed killers but it will eliminate the weeds and repel the pests from your lawn.
- No harsh chemical was used. Only cedar oil, fruit, seeds, and sesame oil are used as ingredients.
- It can get rid of fleas and other pests almost instantly. Just spray and you don’t have to wait even for a minute after spraying.
- Not just for your lawn, you can apply it to your landscapes and patios too.
- Yes, it does prevent fleas and ticks from your lawn; but it does not leave any negative impact on useful insects like bees and butterflies.
- It can give you a bug-free lawn with huge potential to kill your weeds too!
You can get it in multiple versions but I recommend getting the sprayer version because of the easier application.
I am not sure, but many have reviewed saying that it does not affect their beloved lawn grass.
Eco Garden Pro
Including the white vinegar, it uses the Himalayan rock salt to make a perfect solution to eliminate weeds from your lawn. And it does not cause any harm to your kids and pets.
Not just for killing weeds, both of the main ingredients prevent immediate regrowth of the weeds pretty well too.
Along with weeds, it eliminates clover, moss, and poison ivy too. And it’s not only pet safe, it does not cause any harm to any livestock, fish, and bees as well.
Being 100% biodegradable, Eco Garden Pro is environmentally friendly. As it does not contain any phosphates, it’s safe for the groundwater too.
Suitable for areas like farmlands, flower beds, mulch beds, along with sidewalks/driveways, etc.
However, it does have some negative feedback from the reviewers as well. And the most common one is that it takes a long period of time to kill dandelions and clovers.
Another complaint is once eliminated, the weed comes back too fast. And you will have a strong smell while spraying but the smell will go away fast.
How To Keep Your Pets Safe From Weed Killer?
The best way to keep your pets and kids safe against such weed killers is to take preventive measures firsthand.
Here are some tips you can follow as a safeguard against weed killers:
- Organic or chemical weed killer does not matter. Whenever you treat your garden or lawn, keep your pet and children out of the treated area for at least 2 days or until the chemical is completely absorbed.
- Do not keep the water and food bowls of your pet including its toys near the lawn grass.
- Some commercial weed killers clearly mentioned whether it is pet safe or not. Do not buy any weed killer that has carcinogenic chemicals in them. Read the reviews first about those weed killers from the review section on major e-commerce stores like Amazon to be sure.
- Always keep the legs area and the belly of your pet washed and clean each time it enters the home from the outside. You should assume your pet has in contact with the treated lawn grass.
- To keep your pet safe, get rid of fleas from your lawn too.
Alternative To Weed Killers
Having weeds is inevitable when you have a garden or lawn. To combat weed growth, even the so-called natural herbicides can harm your cat or dog if not applied carefully.
Luckily, you don’t have to compromise between your lawn and your pet. Without the application of any chemical weed killers, you can still get rid of the weeds from your lawn.
Applying weed killer alternatives can keep the weed growth in check while keeping your pets safe. Here are some alternatives ways to deal with weeds:
- Remove Weed By Hand
The old ways of removing weeds from your lawn or garden are still effective today. It’s tedious work but when you don’t want to take any chances when it comes to your pets, this is something you can try.
Among all the weed killer alternatives, removing them by hand is considered to be the best. The reason is pretty simple. You can take out the roots of weeds by this method that prevents their re-growth in near future.
Most of the weed killers (both toxic and non-toxic) will leave the roots behind and weeds will regenerate once the environment supports them. And it happens a lot!
Now, to make it less tedious and to speed up the process, you can use different hand weeding tools. You can remove the weed seedlings by hoeing.
For sporadic weed problems, this is a good way to deal with them.
But this is an ongoing process. You have to remove them by hand whenever you notice them. FYI: spring is the best time to hand weeding!
- Use Garden Mulch
No grass can survive without the sunlight, not even the weeds. So, if the weeds don’t get any access to the sunlight, they will die naturally.
That’s why garden mulching is such a popular practice among lawn owners.
You can use pine needles or wood chips as your organic mulches. Create 3 to 5 inches of a thick layer of either wood chips or pine needs. That will keep the soil healthy but smother the weeds and their seedlings.
For your garden beds, spreading such mulch will let the plants thrive but it will prevent new weeds to grow. For wide-spread weed killing, you need to up your game.
In those scenarios where you plan to create a new garden, you can spread cardboard layers, carpet scrapes, or opaque plastic sheeting over the area you want to take out the weeds.
During the growing season, you can leave such mulch for about 5 to 6 weeks to kill those weeds completely. And don’t till the soil afterward so that the seeds can’t germinate again.
- Burning Weeds
You can use a weeding torch to burn the pesky weeds too. That will ensure their eradication along with the safety of your pets. This is highly effecting when those weeds pop up between the driveway cracks or patio pavers.
You can achieve the same result applying boiled water too if you don’t have the weeding torch.
Whatever option you find suitable, make sure to ensure your personal safety while removing weeds applying those methods. And you have to do the same several times during the summer as the roots won’t be destroyed.
- Apply Vinegar
That’s a non-selective method of killing lawn weeds. Meaning, it will kill your lawn grass or whatever around the weeds too unless you take proper care to protect your beloved grass.
But applying vinegar is another efficient way of killing young and tender weeds without causing any harm to your pets and kids.
But still, you need to take precautions as vinegar contains strong acid. So, don’t let your pets on the treated area soon after application and you should wear your gloves and eyewear.
If you are dealing with weeds in cracks of driveway or sideway, you should apply horticultural vinegar.
Lastly, some people think bleach can eliminate weeds. But in reality, there are no proven studies that show bleach can get rid of weeds.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, chemical lawn weed killers are harmful to dogs and cats.
Not just Eliminator weed and grass killer, all weed killers are safe for pets if you can keep your pets off the treated area until the weed killer dries completely.
Usually, you need to keep your pets off the treated area for at least 48 hours after application. Of course, that varies among brands. So, read the instructions carefully.
The safest way is to remove weeds by hand. Also, you can garden mulching technique to deprive the weeds of sunlight and kill them.
Another way to killing weeds without harming your pets is by spraying the mixture of vinegar and dishwashing liquids.
No commercial weed killer is 100% safe for kids and pets unless applied safely and carefully. If safety is your main concern, apply homemade vinegar and dish soap mixture to kill weeds.
As per their claims, once the lawn is completely dried after roundup application, your pets and kids can safely walk on the lawn.
As the main ingredient of the roundup is the isopropylamine salt of glyphosate, don’t let your dog roll on the lawn for at least 48 hours after application.
So, is weed killer safe for pets? You have seen from the above discussion; the thin line is pretty sketchy.
Despite having bold claims and good reviews from the customers, your pet is not 100% safe if you don’t apply chemical weed killer the right way as directed.
Sometimes, there is no way around the weed killer. If that’s the situation for you, just keep your pets off the treated lawn for at least 2 days after applying such chemical or natural weed killer.
But that should be your last resort!