Weed killers can be potent, noxious chemicals that are harmful to more than the vegetation they’ve been designed to destroy.
This includes our children – whom we do occasionally have some moderate control over.
However, when it comes to our beloved family pets, they can often wander into areas of the garden unsupervised and eat or lick anything they like the look of until their heart’s content.
Which is potentially deadly if you’ve just covered the place with a toxic chemical.
With that in mind, I’ve put together a review of the best pet safe weed killers on the market, to keep your four-legged-friends out of harm’s way.
A buyer’s guide and FAQ section will follow the reviews, so read on to discover the best non-toxic weed killing options for your property.
- 13 Best Pet-Friendly Weed Killers 2020
- EcoSMART Weed and Grass Killer
- Ortho Groundclear Weed & Grass Killer
- TradeKing Industrial Strength Concentrated Vinegar
- OrganicMatters Natural Weed Killer Spray
- Just For Pets Pet-Safe Weed Killer Spray
- Natural Armor Weed & Grass Killer
- Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed & Grass Killer
- Espoma Organic Weed Preventer CGP25
- Dr. Earth Final Stop Weed & Grass Killer
- Preen Vegetable Garden Weed Preventer
- BioSafe Systems 7601-1 Weed Control Concentrate
- Red Dragon VT 2 1/2-30 C Propane Vapor Torch Kit
- Fiskars 3 Claw Garden Weeder
- How to Choose the Best Pet-Friendly Weed Killer
- What’s the best weed killer that’s safe for pets?
- What are the possible dangers to pets when using a weed killer?
- How do you apply a weed killer safely around your children or pets?
- Is spraying weed killer on the lawn harmful to children or pets who play on it?
- Is Roundup safe for pets?
- What are some weed-killing alternatives that are safe for pets?
- How long after spraying herbicides is it safe for pets?
13 Best Pet-Friendly Weed Killers 2020
EcoSMART Weed and Grass Killer
First up we have this weed and grass killer in a ready-to-spray bottle from EcoSmart. The safe pesticide company has developed a 100% organic formula so you have peace of mind when using it around your children and pets.
Use it all over the home, around fences, on patios, walkways, and driveways, and around your trees and shrubs.
Made from potent plant oils, there’s no overbearing odor when using the product, it will not contaminate groundwater, and it’s designed to kill all types of nuisance weeds and grass with fast-acting results you’ll notice in hours.
- Environmentally friendly.
- No harsh chemicals.
- Pleasant smell.
- Name to trust.
- Bottle design not the best.
- Not as effective as chemical products.
- It’s not cheap considering the quantity.
Ortho Groundclear Weed & Grass Killer
While it’s marketed as a pet-friendly weed killer, caution is still advised for using this Groundclear product. Its active ingredient is ammonium nonanoate, which is a non-systemic herbicide (the effects are localized and it can easily be washed off).
It is approved by the OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) for organic gardening, and it will work on all types of weeds and grass so you see results inside 15 minutes.
Apply it directly to the weeds with the easy-to-use applicator, for use on hardscapes, landscape beds, and around vegetable gardens. You’ll also find it available in concentrate form.
- Great price for a gallon.
- Easy-to-use applicator.
- Several applications might be required.
TradeKing Industrial Strength Concentrated Vinegar
Vinegar has long thought to be useful in weed killing, but the problem is that the ordinary stuff you’ve got in your kitchen just isn’t going to cut it. Thankfully, high-strength products are available, like this 30% vinegar solution from Trade King.
This industrial-strength concentrated vinegar not only kills weeds, but it can also be employed in all sorts of other uses around the home and garden. Six times stronger than what you put on your salad, it’s 100% safe, derived from US grown corn, and trusted by agriculture and horticulture professionals.
Precautions still need to be taken for you and your pets, so don’t get it on your skin, in your eyes, or anywhere else where it will cause irritation.
- Multiple uses.
- Value for money.
- Easy, clear instructions.
- Environmentally friendly.
- Strong vinegar odor but that’s to be expected.
OrganicMatters Natural Weed Killer Spray
Available in multiple quantities, this Eco and earth-friendly weed killer doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals – like the glyphosate formulas that have been making news for all the wrong reasons.
Instead, the concentrated formula kills over 250 species of weed so you can see results in less than 24 hours.
It dries fast after application, so you don’t need to be concerned about surface run-off should the heavens open, and it gets to work quickly anywhere that weeds are not wanted.
Safe to use all over the garden, it won’t harm your pets or desired wildlife visitors to your yard such as bees and butterflies. A heavy-duty trigger spray is included in certain quantities.
- Value for money.
- Strong odor.
Just For Pets Pet-Safe Weed Killer Spray
It’s always nice when a product marketed as a pet-safe weed killer actually has pictures of pets on the label – and when your brand name happens to be “Just for Pets” it gives you a big clue.
Clearly made by animal lovers, this is an organic compound that is safe to apply all over the garden, in a ready-to-use spray with no harsh poisons or chemicals. You’ll see results in less than 24 hours, from all-natural, non-toxic ingredients that will dry quickly and get to work fast.
Be aware that it’s a non-selective weed killer (as most of these products are) so it will kill any grass it comes into contact with.
As a nice bonus, they donate to nationwide animal shelters with a percentage of each sale (at least, at the moment of writing this article). Animal lovers indeed.
- Eco-friendly compound.
- No nasty glyphosate.
- Durable sprayer included.
- Pictures of pets on the bottle…
- Another product with a horrible odor.
Natural Armor Weed & Grass Killer
Another weed-killing product that offers plenty of quantity options, if you’ve got a lot of area to cover then this could well be the choice for you.
This particular size is a 128-ounce gallon with an improved, heavy-duty spray gun included.
Natural Armor claims that their product will show better results than the other leading brands in this class inside 24 hours, and it’s garnered high enough praise to think they might be right.
100% organic with no harsh chemicals to file lawsuits over, it’s safe and easy to use all-around your home and garden and kills over 250 species of weeds and grass.
Use on calm sunny days (over 65 degrees Fahrenheit) for the best results.
- Fast and effective.
- Can re-plant in seven days.
- No-clog trigger.
- Highly rated.
- The smell can last awhile.
- Some bottle leakage has been reported.
Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed & Grass Killer
This pet-friendly weed killer from Doctor Kirchner requires no mixing and no safety gear, it’s completely pesticide-free and kills right down to the root.
Made without using harsh chemicals, its potent formula is a combination of ocean saltwater, commercial strength food-grade vinegar, and soap. The non-selective product will wipe out pretty much all plant life (apart from brush) so use it carefully around desired blooms and grass.
Safe for everyone and everything apart from the unwanted plants around your property, this can be used with confidence.
- Fast acting formula.
- Value for money.
- It doesn’t smell as bad as other versions.
- Long shelf life.
- Quite expensive.
Espoma Organic Weed Preventer CGP25
As a nice alternative to all the vinegar-based weed killers, this product is made from corn gluten meal and is more of a weed preventer coupled with a lawn feeder.
Marketed as safe for children and pets right on the box cover, it’s an all-natural feed that will stop dandelions, crabgrass and other weeds in their tracks.
Give your lawn a treat to ensure it develops a deep, green color while preventing weeds by inhibiting root development in seedlings. The easy-to-apply product comes in a granule formula, so you simply sprinkle it over the top of your lawn, and apply it twice a year in the spring and fall for best results.
Your furry friends can play in your garden immediately after application, and it’s probably the best organic pet safe lawn weed killer available (or weed preventer – at least).
- 100% organic.
- Very safe for pets and children.
- Feeds the lawn.
- No use at all on existing weeds.
- Only suitable for use on the lawn.
- Could possibly attract unwanted wildlife.
- Bad odor.
Dr. Earth Final Stop Weed & Grass Killer
We have another Doctor on call now with this Final Stop weed and grass killer, this time from Dr. Earth. Again, it’s an alternative to vinegar-based products, formulated from essential oils, organic acids, and garlic oil to naturally kill off the problem plants and unwanted vegetation around your property.
It’s a non-selective weed killer, so it will target anything in your yard and you should be careful where you spray it.
Specially designed for crabgrass, foxtail, broadleaf, and other weeds of the undersized variety, it’s pet and people safe (when used as directed) and has been approved by OMRI for organic use.
- 100% organic.
- Kills to the roots.
- Vinegar alternative.
- Milder odor than some other options.
- Won’t destroy more aggressive plant life.
- The applicator isn’t the best.
Preen Vegetable Garden Weed Preventer
Preen is a familiar lawn care specialist that has been around for over 50 years, and this is one of many anti-weed products they have in their range. It’s a weed preventer designed for use in vegetable gardens, using all-natural ingredients to inhibit the growth of unwanted plants.
It prevents annual weeds in vegetable gardens, flower beds, around trees, shrubs, and ground covers for 4-6 weeks, and is totally kid and pet safe.
The preventer comes in granule form and can be used right up until you harvest your crops with a high level of protein byproduct that prevents seedling growth.
- Name to trust.
- 100% organic.
- Wide coverage.
- No use on existing weeds.
BioSafe Systems 7601-1 Weed Control Concentrate
Approved by OMRI and the EPA for safe, organic use, this weed control formula from BioSafe Systems is a powerful yet kind concoction that can be re-seeded or planted over in just four days.
It will kill weeds and grasses inside two hours, and won’t migrate through the soil to ruin nearby plants, flowers, or crops.
It comes in a concentrated formula (hence the price) and two fluid ounces will give you a generous coverage of 200 square feet. The herbicidal soap mix gets to work immediately upon application and destroys the cells of unwanted plants while being nonvolatile and water-soluble.
- Potent, effective formula.
- A little goes a long way.
- Potentially harmful to bees.
Red Dragon VT 2 1/2-30 C Propane Vapor Torch Kit
As this is an article about weed killers, I thought I’d include a couple of other options of the non-compound/liquid variety.
This is a propane vapor torch for use with a tank of gas to eradicate weeds directly by burning them away. No chemicals of any kind are required, and you can spot target each unwanted boom until it’s burnt to a crisp.
It comes with a 10 ft U.L. listed LP gas hose, adjustable needle valve, and a spark lighter. Of course, you still need to purchase the propane tank, which should be 20 lbs or higher.
The kit has received CSA certification for use in the U.S. and Canada and is pet safe (providing you don’t point it at your pet that is).
- Chemical free.
- Target the weed directly.
- No regulator required.
- Multiple uses.
- Gas tank sold separately.
- Overkill for smaller properties.
Fiskars 3 Claw Garden Weeder
While there are myriads of weed-removal tools on the market, I’ve gone for this one from trusted Finnish brand, Fiskars – just to get you started and offer another pet-friendly weed killing solution.
It’s perfect for anyone who wants to remove weeds the old-fashioned way, yet takes a lot of the back-breaking work out of the job. The long handle prevents sore knees and having to stoop and bend, while the three serrated, stainless-steel claws firmly grab weeds and roots for permanent removal.
Simply position over the target weed, stamp it down on the foot platform, and then let the claws do the work as you pull the weed right out by the root.
There’s a good possibility that this will make weeding your garden fun.
- No harsh herbicides in sight.
- Eco-friendly all round.
- Can only be used on weeds with a central tap root.
- Claw adjustment is often required.
How to Choose the Best Pet-Friendly Weed Killer
Below you’ll find some tips and advice for selecting the right weed killer for your needs – and for the needs of your pet. An FAQ section will follow in case anything has been missed.
Check the Ingredients
If you’re looking for a pet-safe weed killer, then the first thing you need to be mindful of is the ingredients.
Toxic and harmful herbicides contain chemicals and compounds like glyphosate, alachlor, and dacthal to name but three.
While they might be the best weed killers for Bermuda grass and other intrusive and aggressive plants, some of these chemicals are either banned or in the process of being banned in many parts of the world.
So, if you want to make sure the product you’re buying is pet and human safe – do your homework on the ingredients – and not just the active ingredients, as some can hide a nasty little surprise if you’re not careful.
Look for products that are 100% organic and contain natural ingredients.
The downside is that they are generally not as effective as stronger chemicals, but they’re considerably less deadly to anyone and anything that might come into contact with them.
Approved to be Pet Safe
Apart from doing your own homework when it comes to seeking out pet-safe formulas, probably the surest way to know is to check if a product has actually been approved to be pet-friendly.
If it’s been passed by OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) or the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), there’s a very good chance it’s safe to use if you have furry friends around.
Although it seems obvious, if a product has a picture of a cat or dog on the label, then that’s usually a sure sign it’s a pet-safe formula.
And any product that’s been given the nod from a veterinarian or other pet-friendly association is also a safe bet for use around your family – furry or otherwise.
When in doubt, you could always ask your vet for additional advice.
Is it Necessary?
Before purchasing any kind of weed killer, ask yourself if it’s really necessary. Is the problem so bad that it can’t be resolved with a bit of elbow grease?
There are plenty of other options for weed removal (I’ve included a couple of examples in the review) that are much more pet-friendly than even pet-friendly weed killing products.
It’s highly advisable to avoid any kind of herbicide use if you can help it, as a few weeds here and there isn’t going to do much harm – but a bad chemical reaction certainly might.
A Word of Caution
On that note, it’s worth mentioning that although these products are advertised as pet safe and pet-friendly – that’s only if they’re used correctly and as advised.
These products can still be an irritant if they get on skin or fur, into the eyes, or somehow digested – like when Buddy enjoys eating the dandelions.
While they’re nowhere near as lethal as some chemicals, they can still cause a seriously upset stomach, so precautions need to be taken.
Always keep pets and children indoors while applying any kind of weed killer – and give the product time to dry and be absorbed before unleashing the little beasts. And your pets.
What’s the best weed killer that’s safe for pets?
I’m afraid to answer that question it really is a case of trial and error.
To help you find the product that will give you the best results, I’ve put together this review.
However, in order to find which one really works for you and to answer this question, you might need to try a few formulas before settling on one that is successful.
Read the comments from people who have tried the product already and it will help you make your choice.
There’s no right or wrong answer here as what works for some people might not work for others.
What are the possible dangers to pets when using a weed killer?
Check out the excellent and informative video below to learn more about the dangers of using chemicals around our pets.
How do you apply a weed killer safely around your children or pets?
As I mentioned above, pet-friendly or pet safe weed killers are still harmful if used incorrectly and not according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
I would still take similar precautions you would for using chemical herbicides – just to be on the safe side.
Keep your pets and children indoors as you’re applying the formula, and leave it for at least an hour before allowing them out to play.
Make sure to wear long-sleeved clothing and pants, close-toed shoes and hand protection.
For this type of product, use a pair of some good quality landscaping gloves for the job.
Is spraying weed killer on the lawn harmful to children or pets who play on it?
It depends on the weed killer. If you’re spraying dangerously noxious chemicals, then it will most certainly be harmful to children and pets.
Is Roundup safe for pets?
No. Use with extreme caution. Remember, its active ingredient is currently in the process of getting banned in many places around the world.
What are some weed-killing alternatives that are safe for pets?
I included a couple of other options in the review for you to consider as alternatives to using any kind of liquid or granule formula.
Burning the weeds with a propane vapor torch will focus solely on the targeted weed, and you run no risk of pets getting sick even if they do eat or lick the end results.
You could always put together your own homemade weed killer using any number of recipes on the internet – but they can be hit-and-miss when it comes to success.
Perhaps the best pet-friendly weed killing alternative is to simply remove them by hand. Use some good, old-fashioned grafting and you won’t have to worry about anything hazardous being around your loved ones.
It’s also good for you from an exercise point of view.
How long after spraying herbicides is it safe for pets?
Even with pet-safe formulas, I would advise erring on the side of caution if you can and give it a window of 24 hours.
Our beloved four-legged-friends are worth so much more to us than the necessity to remove a few pesky weeds, so really consider them and the environment before opting for a chemical herbicide.
The best pet safe weed killer is just to do it by hand – but if you really have to, the products in this review are a great start – and certainly a better alternative to harsh, toxic chemicals.
Good luck in choosing the right one for you – let me know what works and what doesn’t.
Happy weed killing – and much love to all the pets out there!