If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, keeping the lawn weed-free is a must.
How about if you also have dogs at home, though?
Unfortunately, many mass-market weed killers are packed with chemicals that could be toxic to your furball.
Now, it’s not completely clear whether or not popular weed killers like Roundup containing glyphosate are safe for pets. There’s simply not enough data available. There is, however, some evidence to suggest the inert ingredients in products like Roundup are anyway problematic for dogs.
Bottom line, chemical-laden weed killers could provoke an allergic reaction or worse in your dog, and is that really worth the risk?
When there are so many pet-friendly weed killers out there, we think most pet owners would agree it makes sense to go organic.
The good news is, most of the really toxic products containing sodium arsenite, borax, and arsenic have been phased out.
Today, then, we’ll be reviewing a dozen of the best dog-safe weed killers so you can easily assess which makes the best fit for you.
Once our reviews are in place, we’ll be walking you through some points to consider when you’re comparing weed killers.
As an aside, there are some methods of killing weeds that are entirely safe that you might also consider. Boiling water is enough to kill some common weeds. Vinegar is another safe bet and an active ingredient in many of the products we review today. The drawback here is that you’ll need a vinegar with a concentration between 10% and 30% rather than the 5% used for cooking vinegar. Saly also works well, especially when mixed with water.
OK, it’s time to get right down to business now. Check out these powerful but natural weed killers to keep your lawn spotless and your dog safe from harm.
I. The 12 Best Dog Safe Weed Killers
1. Our #1 Pick: Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed Killer
- 1 gallon
- 20% acetic acid
If you have dogs at home, finding a weed killer that’s natural, dog-safe, and also effective can be challenging. Green Gobbler serves up this certified organic formula, but is it any good?
The primary ingredient here is vinegar, but the 20% concentration makes it much stronger than the vinegar you use for cooking. This is typically only 5% pure.
While Green Gobbler states that the formula is glyphosate-free and biodegradable, nothing else is revealed about the ingredients. We dislike this lack of transparency.
The highly acidic formula can be sprayed directly from the bottle onto your weeds. It gets to work right away and kills both weeds and grass quickly.
Safe for use residentially, commercially, or agriculturally, this all-purpose weed killer is perfect for eco-conscious pet owners needing to blitz weeds out in the yard.
The only gripe we could find amid a shower of positive user reviews concerns the fact this won’t kill all weeds and it won’t kill the invisible portion of the weeds either. The weeds will grow back so keep your expectations reasonable. To avoid repetition, the same applies to all the formulas we review today. The compromise you make for keeping Fido safe is in the overall effectiveness against weeds.
2. Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed Killer
- Ocean salt water
The first thing that impresses us about Doctor Kirchner’s natural weed killer is the fact they disclose all four ingredients (salt, water, vinegar, soap). In a vertical where many manufacturers are less than forthcoming with ingredients, this is refreshing.
While the salt does the bulk of the weed killing here, the vinegar and soap also play a role.
Now, this is a non-selective solution, which means you should keep it away from the lawn. This weed killer won’t discriminate, so unless you want scorched grass, reserve it for use on unwanted weeds.
This dog-safe weed killer is available in a variety of sizes to suit. Think closely about the coverage you need and buy accordingly. This bottle is 128oz.
The spout is designed to simplify applying this weed killer, so you can stay clean while keeping Rover safe.
As long as you’re OK with keeping this solution away from the lawn, you can kiss goodbye to weeds without endangering your furball. Even better, this weed killer is priced very keenly, so what are you waiting for?
3. Natural Armor Weed and Grass Killer
- Natural formula
Natural Armor serves up a solution ideally for killing weeds without harming your hounds.
Designed to stifle more than 250 common weeds, what’s in this stuff?
Well, the formula is much like many natural weed killers. You get vinegar – that’s the acetic acid – along with citrus, sodium, glycerin, essential oil, and water. It’s great to have this information, but we would appreciate more detail on the composition of the citrus and sodium ingredients as well as the exact type of essential oil used. Only then can you be absolutely certain whether or not they’re entirely pet-safe.
With no glyphosate and all-natural ingredients, though, we feel you can take the manufacturer at their word here. We could find no complaints about any mishaps with pets, although we did unearth the expected complaints from some users about the effectiveness of this formula. Bottom line, a natural weed killer will never work as efficiently as one laden with chemicals. As a pet owner, though, you need to put your pup’s welfare first.
4. ECO Garden Pro Organic Vinegar Weed Killer
- 1 gallon
- 8% acetic acid
ECO Garden delivers a glyphosate-free weed killer that’s made in the US and perfectly safe for your pooch. What’s in this stuff, then?
The active ingredients are 8% vinegar and 5% salt. These two agents come together to torch most common weeds. The remaining 87% inert ingredients and water complete the solution. As with so many of these weed killers, we remain skeptical when ingredients are unlisted.
The organic solution works well for a range of application. From driveways, patios, and pavements to flower beds and mulch beds, eliminate weeds wherever they crop up.
Several users have also complimented the ability of ECO Garden’s vinegar spray to combat rogue poison ivy without triggering any adverse effects in Fido.
Completely biodegradable and with no complaints from pet owners about toxicity or complications, pop this dog-safe weed killer on your shortlist.
5. Energen Carolina Vinegar Weed Killer
- 20% acetic acid
Energen Carolina produces a heavily vinegar-based solution that works to aggressively kill weeds without any damaging effect on your puppies.
Working well to counter a range of weeds, you can watch the organic acetic acid get to work quickly, and it degrades just as rapidly.
If you dislike the mess involved with glooping weed killer out of a bottle, opt for the spray version of this solution. The nifty dispenser takes the sting out of application.
Despite being proven safe as far as dogs are concerned, some customers raise concerns about the safety of this product for birds. If this is an issue for you, we suggest doing your due diligence.
As a non-selective herbicide, you should keep this solution away from your lawn.
6. Natural Armor Weed and Grass Killer
- Natural formula
If you liked the look of the Natural Armor weed killer above but you don’t need such a large bottle, this 32oz version is perfect for anyone with small coverage requirements or a tight budget.
Ideal for use against hundreds of common weeds, you can liberally apply this solution across a range of settings. Keep your driveway, patio, and pathway weed-free, and make sure the garden doesn’t get choked down with weeds either.
The best thing? You can achieve this without spending a fortune and without causing any harm to your beloved dogs.
The formula works rapidly and is relatively effective for a natural solution containing salt and citric acid. As with all organic weed killers, it will only kill the visible part of the weeds, so they will grow back in a matter of weeds. That’s part of the fun and games of gardening, though, and with dogs in the house, you need to occasionally compromise.
7. Espoma Weed Preventer Plus
- 1 gallon
- Corn gluten meal
Next up we have another stellar solution for weeds in homes with dogs to worry about.
Now, as a preventer, this gets to work and stops weeds from growing in the first place. In many ways, this is a more effective approach than treating the problem when the weeds are above ground.
The only ingredient here is corn gluten meal. This is proven effective for inhibiting common weeds like crabgrass and dandelion, but don’t consider it an all-purpose guarantee against weeds.
Once you’ve applied the Espoma, your lawn will be ready for use immediately, ideal if you have kids impatiently waiting for you to finish yard duty and Rover straining at the leash.
The important proviso with this treatment is that it will only work on established lawns. If this is what you’re looking for then you’ll be delighted with your organic defense against weeds.
8. Just For Pets Weed Killer Spray
- Natural formula
Next up in our quest for the best dog safe weed killers is a substantial 128oz-bottle from Just For Pets. As the name of the brand makes clear, this is the ideal treatment if you have dogs at home and want to avoid harsh, chemical-stuffed weed killers.
The bottle comes with a spray attachment to make application a breeze. You won’t need to fiddle around diluting this solution, either, so get going right out the box.
This spray generates a large body of positive user testimonials with many satisfied customers raving about the effectiveness against a variety of weeds.
As far as ingredients are concerned, the manufacturer has ensured you cannot properly see this on the listing. The photo is blurred when you zoom in, so you should see how you feel. The manufacturer makes assurances that this is a pet-safe solution, and we were unable to find any complaints from pet owners.
As an added kicker, the company channels some of its profits into animal shelters so you can do your part for dogs not as fortunate as yours.
9. OrganicMatters Natural Weed Killer
- Fast-drying formula
OrganicMatters delivers this first-class organic weed killer that’s a wonderful addition to any pet owner’s tool shed.
The formula is free of glyphosate and is made of all-natural ingredients. We can’t understand why the manufacturer doesn’t openly disclose what these ingredients are, but that appears to be commonplace in this industry.
You’ll be equipped to deal with hundreds of the most common types of weed blighting your garden with this organic solution.
Once you’ve liberally applied this stuff, it dries very quickly allowing pets and children to start enjoying the garden right away.
If you’re not happy with the results, you can call in for a refund with no questions asked during the first month after purchase. What more can you ask for?
10. Preen Weed Preventer
- 25 pounds
- Corn gluten meal
The first thing to clear about this offering from Preen is that it’s not strictly speaking a weed killer. Instead, this is considered a pre-emergent herbicide. In plain English, it will stop weed seeds from growing in the first place.
You should use this preventer several times a year as required to stop weeds in their tracks before they start spoiling your lawn.
Use this solution safely on all plants up to 2 or 3 inches high giving you a great deal of latitude.
This formula is made from just one pet-safe ingredient, corn gluten meal. You know precisely what you’re getting here, unlike many of the less transparent listings. You also know there’s no danger to your dog, the primary purpose of searching for the best dog-safe weed killers.
As long as you keep this solution away from any seeded areas in your garden, you’re in safe hands with this pet-friendly solution for eliminating weeds.
11. Natural Elements Weed Killer
- 1 gallon
- Commercial-grade vinegar
- 5% sodium chloride
Natural-elements has a heavy vinegar base undercut with salt making this organic weed killer one of the most efficient methods of dealing with weeds at home without endangering your dogs.
The commercial-strength vinegar is much more concentrated than the stuff you use for cooking, and that’s essential if you want to kill weeds. The 5% sodium chloride is a nice addition.
This solution works for the majority of common weeds and grasses. You can use it around your flowerbeds, trees, and landscaping. You should bear in mind that the formula will kill grass so don’t go spraying it everywhere unless you want a scorched brown lawn.
You’ll be good to go right out the bottle with no need to dilute this solution.
The 1-gallon bottle provides generous coverage, and this organic and pet-safe weed killer is also competitively priced.
12. Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed Killer
- 1 gallon
- 20% acetic acid
Green Gobbler makes some great eco-friendly and pet-safe weed killers, so how does this 1 gallon bottle differentiate itself?
Well, in many ways, it doesn’t differentiate itself from the many other vinegar-based formulas. That’s a good thing, though, since vinegar is proven effective for killing weeds while also completely safe for your pups at home.
Containing 20% strength vinegar, you’ll get a product that’s four time purer than the vinegar in your pantry. Resultantly, the highly acidic solution will make light work of all unwanted weeds.
The thing we’re not so keen on is the “other ingredients”. This is the only information provided by the manufacturer about the remaining 80% of the solution. All that’s revealed is there is no glyphosate, making it pet-friendly.
Use the spray provided to blitz your weeds straight out the bottle. The solution takes hold quickly, and it’s quite effective for a natural formula. Bear in mind that this kills both weeds and grass.
II. Things To Consider
You should now be clear on your options when it comes to killing weeds without damaging your dog.
Now, we understand that shopping for products like this might not be clear-cut, especially if you’re not the keenest gardener. To make your life easier, take the following pointers into consideration when you’re comparing the best dog-safe weed killers:
- What does the product kill?
- Where can you use the weed killer?
- How about the delivery system?
- How do you use the weed killer?
- To spray or not to spray?
- Speed of action
- Frequency of application
- When will it be safe for your dogs and kids?
The very first thing you should do when comparing pet-safe weed killers is to focus on the ingredients.
Sadly, almost no weed killers come with a complete set of ingredients. We find this lack of transparency disconcerting and unacceptable, but there’s not much you can do about it.
The best defense is to look for weed killers with as comprehensive a list of ingredients as you can find.
The most important thing is the active ingredient, sometimes called the base ingredient. This is usually glyphosate in the case of commercial, chemical-based weed killers like Roundup. This is potentially dangerous for animals. With pet-safe formulas, look for vinegar-based or salt-based solutions. Sometimes, you’ll find a combination of both of these ingredients.
Vinegar will be listed as acetic acid. Look for a concentration of between 10% and 30% for best results.
Salt is listed as sodium chloride.
In our reviews, we’ve drawn your attention to the active ingredients, as well as some of the inert ingredients. This allows you to buy with your eyes open.
2. What does the product kill?
Weed killers cane be categorized as either:
- Selective weed killers
- Nonselective weed killers
Selective weed killers
These weed killers will only kill certain plants and grasses.
Selective weed killers are typically used on lawns, killing rogue plants and weeds while leaving your grass intact.
Unfortunately, selective weed killers are not universally considered pet-friendly.
Nonselective weed killers
A nonselective weed killer, as the name suggests, doesn’t discriminate. This solution will kill all plants it comes into contact with. As such, this type of weed killer is not for use on lawns.
Now, once you’ve decided on the type of weed killer, you should check whether or not the solutions on your shortlist are capable of killing the weeds inconveniencing you.
Most of the popular dog-safe weed killers kills the vast bulk of perennial and annual weeds. From dandelion and bindweed to docks, nettles, willowherb, and grasses, most regular weed killers work well.
If you need to fight back against poison ivy, you should look for one of the weed killers we review that specialize in exterminating this common garden scourge.
With these decisions made, you should next start focusing on where you can use this stuff and, more
importantly, where it’s not safe to use it…
3. Where can you use the weed killer?
Think closely about where you have weeds at home. Is moss peeking up between the paving slabs? Do you have weeds growing through the cracks along your driveway? The majority of popular pet-safe options will make light work of these offenders.
Beyond this, most of the organic options we review today are safe to spray just about anywhere with one proviso: keep them off the lawn!
4. How about the delivery system?
Many weed killers have a simple pouring spout. If you’re looking at solutions with this form of delivery system, take a quick look at some user reviews. Avoid any weed killers with a reputation for messy pouring. It’s not worth the headache with so many seamless options at your disposal.
Other bottles come with a pre-measured tube. These allow you to add a liter of water and use the dosed amount of weed killer.
Still other weed killers come with spray dispensers attached. These make light work of applying the weed killer and are undoubtedly our favorite option.
5. How do you use the weed killer?
Many weed killers come ready to use. All you’ll do is use the sprayer provided, your own sprayer, or pour from the bottle undiluted.
In other cases, you’ll need to dilute the concentrated weed killer with some water. Make sure you follow the instruction precisely if you want to ensure the solution is safe for your furball.
6. To spray or not to spray?
Now, spraying weeds once they are already poking through is one approach, but it’s not necessarily the best option.
You can instead target weeds as they are germinating. If you catch the weeds at this stage, you’ll kill them off completely. When you spray fully-formed weeds, you may kill the portion that’s visible above ground, but the remainder is in place, ready to pop up again in a matter of weeks.
If you know you’ll be spraying your weeds, ask yourself whether you already own a spray bottle. If so, this will widen your options and allow you to buy a regular bottle that you can simply decant into your existing spray bottle. If not, you may want to think about buying a bottle with a bundled spray can.
An alternative is to pour your weed killer into a watering can and apply it just like you were giving your garden a burst of hydration.
If you’re dealing with established perennial weeds, you should attack these at the start of their flowering period. Wait for a dry day with no wind. It’s also key that no rain is looming for the following few days. Strike when the time and conditions are right and you’ll see those weeds off until the following flowering.
7. Speed of action
When you read the labels of pet-safe weed killers, you’ll find some claiming the weed killer will start working within a day or two, while others make it clear you’ll need to wait weeks, or even a month, to see the first results.
We would suggest taking a moment to explore some user reviews. Here, you’re far more likely to get a transparent account of how long the stuff really takes to start working. You should consider the manufacturer’s listing as a marketing document: they want to sell this stuff at all costs!
When you’re thinking about how quickly this stuff gets to work, you should think also about the time of year and the weather. These variables will impact the speed of action.
The main advice we would give you when it comes to pet-safe weed killers is to pack plenty of patience. Also, remember that there may be some considerable time between the first effects you notice and the weeds in your garden being completely driven away.
8. Frequency of application
When you’re comparing organic weed killers, you’ll find brands offer differing guidelines when it comes to the frequency of application.
Some brands encourage you to limit weed killing to once a year. This avoids any active chemicals building up in the soil over time. Others suggest using the weed killer several times a year with designated waiting periods between.
What you should double down on here is the type of weeds you have growing in your garden. Ask yourself whether they are especially invasive, and whether or not they’ll need a product you can apply more often than once a year.
9. When will it be safe for your dogs and kids?
We’re pretty sure that any time you head outside for some yard work, your dogs and your children will be eagerly and vocally waiting to get back outside.
The good news when you’re shopping dog-safe weed killers is that almost all of these products are safe for both your pups and your children as soon as the solution is dry. This will be welcome news for anyone with both canines and toddlers in the house.
The same cannot be said for chemical-based weed killers, just one more reason why it makes sense to go organic.
Before we round out for the day, we’ve curated a list of answers to the most frequently asked questions about pet-safe weed killers so you have everything you need in one place.
1) Is glyphosate harmful to dogs?
As we mentioned above, the jury is still out. Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used herbicide. We would have to assume that if it were deadly to dogs, they would be dying all over the place as a result, but the data doesn’t suggest this is happening. That said, some countries like Thailand and Luxembourg have banned glyphosate outright. According to the World Health Organization, glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans”. The EPA has declared it safe to use, as long as it’s utilized strictly in line with the directions on the label.
2) How can I get rid of dandelions without harming my dog?
It’s tough to get rid of dandelions in a completely pet-safe manner. They often grown bang in the middle of your lawn. Ordinarily, you would use a selective herbicide capable of decimating the dandelions without damaging your grass. Unfortunately, these products are not pet-friendly. You have two options: either hand-pull the dandelions, or use a pre-emergent like corn meal gluten. This will kill dandelions effectively.
3) Do any pet-safe weed killers out there not kill grass as well?
No. There are no selective weed killers that could be considered 100% pet-friendly.
4) How can I kill grass if I have a dog at home?
We would suggest that your best option is to use either a vinegar-based or a salt-based solution. If you’re using vinegar, remember to get a solution that’s between 10% and 30% in strength. Contrast this with the 5% vinegar in your kitchen cupboard. The best way to apply a salt-based solution is to mix it with some water than spray liberally all over your grass.
5) What are allelopathic plants and can they help to kill weeds?
Some plants produce chemicals that kill other plants like weeds. These are called allelopathic plants. This is certainly not a straightforward solution to the weeds blighting your garden, but if you have green fingers and plenty of patience, you could end up with your own entirely natural defenses in place against weeds.
Well, if you pitched up today with no real idea about how to choose the best dog-safe weed killers, that should all have changed by now.
We’re not here to tell you what products you should use, so if you opt for one of the regular weed killers containing chemicals like Roundup, that’s up to you.
In our considered opinion, though, it’s worth exploring and experimenting with some natural alternatives. These organic weed killers are not that expensive. Also, you can pick up small bottles to try them out without overextending yourself.
We’ve also thrown in a handful of completely natural hacks like boiling water and salt, so you have all bases covered without needing any chemicals that might harm your dog.
To reiterate before closing, you will not get the same ruthlessly efficient results killing weeds with natural weed killers. Those nasty chemicals like glyphosate used in mainstream weed killers are there for a reason: they kill weeds in a flash. That said, all the formulas we review today deliver reasonable results, even if it’s not a permanent or even particularly long-lasting solutions.
Before you head outside to blitz those weeds, bookmark BarkVA. We’re here to bring you fresh and informative content daily. Whether you’re looking for impartial advice on all the best pet gear, some guidance on dog care, or some handy tips and tricks to streamline dog ownership, we’re here to help and hope to see you soon!