Best Pet-Safe Weed Killer: Dog-Friendly, Homemade & Natural Options

Dog eating weeds on patio pavers (caption: Best Pet-Safe Weed Killer)Weeds are quite possibly the most annoying thing in your yard, especially in the warmer months. They make their way through cracks in the driveway, find their way into flower beds, grow proudly in the garden, and sprout just about everywhere imaginable.

If you have kids or pets around, you probably don’t want to spray your yard with harmful chemicals. Your best “organic” line of defense against weeds is pulling them out manually or using mulch or ground cover to keep on top of them at the start of the spring season (this may vary or be all year round, depending on your location).

But for those hard-to-reach spots or persistent weeds, we bring you the best natural weed killers, including pre-made products and organic weed control recipes.

Article Overview

Know Before You Spray: Natural Weed Killers Can Impact Plant Growth

Most organic weed-killing solutions contain some level of salt (saline). Areas sprayed with salty weed killers will increase the soil’s saline content to levels that won’t be sustainable for some plants. It takes time and lots of water to reduce soil saline levels back to normal levels. Please take this into account before spraying areas of your yard where you wish to encourage plant growth.

Best Organic Pet-Safe Weed Killer: Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer

Green Gobbler Weed KillerThe Green Gobbler spray kills weeds (and grass) in a few hours. It contains 20% acetic acid, is made from corn, and is four times stronger than table vinegar. The solution is certified organic with no cancer-causing chemicals. You can use it anywhere weeds grow, including sidewalks and pavers.

Be careful not to spray Green Gobbler anywhere that you want grass to grow. Use during full sun and not right before or after rainfall. Green Gobbler’s weed killer comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pricing

  • 1 Gallon: $26.98

DIY Non-Toxic Pet-Friendly Weed Killer Recipes

If you are looking to make your own, here are some recipes to mix up the best organic weed killer at home. Hopefully, you already have these things around the house, but if not, we’ve linked to where you can order them online to make your own weed killer that’s safe for dogs.

Natural Weed Killer With Vinegar And Dawn Recipe

Dawn Dish SoapThis natural weed killer is safe for dogs and includes salt, vinegar, and liquid dish soap (e.g., Mrs. Meyer’s, Dawn, etc.).

Ingredients

Directions

Combine the vinegar weed killer ingredients in a spray bottle and spray weeds during the sunniest time of day for optimal results.

Note: Like other toxic weed killers, the vinegar’s acetic acid in this recipe will harm all plants and grass that it come into contact with. So, no matter the type of weed, use with caution and squirt directly on the weed itself versus applying it to the area around it more liberally.

How To Get Rid Of Pesky Dandelions

If dandelions are covering your lawn, this natural weed killer with vinegar And Dawn is a good solution. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle with a “stream” setting to give a direct shot (not mist). Spray the mixture directly onto the dandelion heads (but nowhere else). The spray will kill the dandelions but not the grass, as long as you don’t get it on the lawn.

Apple Cider Vinegar Weed Killer Recipe

Bragg Organic Apple Cider VinegarDo you want to know how to make weed killer with apple cider vinegar? This recipe uses apple cider instead of white vinegar and no dish soap.

Ingredients

Directions

Fill a spray bottle mostly full with apple cider vinegar. Place a funnel into the mouth of the bottle and add salt. Shake the bottle well to mix the ingredients. Then, spray the weed directly with the apple cider vinegar weed killer. The weeds should crumble away within a day. Again, do not spray this solution onto anything you want to keep alive as the vinegar will likely harm it.

Our First-Hand ExperienceDog-friendly weed killer

Our patio had weeds and grass growing in between the bricks. I happened to have apple cider vinegar and lavender Epsom salts on hand, so I mixed them in a pump sprayer we had for another home project. Sprayed it all over the cracks, and within a day, they browned up and were dead. It was a bit smelly, but our dog did not try and lick the solution. In fact, he stayed away because of the terrible odor from the apple cider vinegar. – Sadie C, Canine Journal

Check out the video below to see how easy it is (and a before and after).

Does Vinegar And Epsom Salt Weed Killer Work? (Video)

As you can see in the video above, yes, it does. But like the spray above, the vinegar is potent and highly effective at killing everything in its path, so don’t overdo it.

For Younger Weeds And Sidewalk Cracks

Try this concoction if you have larger surface areas like a patio or mulch bed instead of concentrated spots in your yard. It’s less harsh than the recipes that include vinegar, so it works well for new growth weeds that are easier to kill.

Ingredients

Directions

Boil a pot of water and add one tablespoon of salt. Pour over the weeds immediately while the water is still hot but not boiling. Be cautious not to spill the hot water on you as it could burn your skin. You should see results almost instantly.

Homemade Dog-Friendly Weed Killers That Are Safe For Grass

The recipes above work well but can hurt your grass, as we mentioned. So if you want safer ways to kill weeds without ruining your yard, here are two homemade weed killers we suggest for lawns. 

Corn Meal Weed Killer Recipe

Ingredients

Soil Mender Horticultural Corn MealDirections

To prevent weed growth in your lawn, remove all existing weeds first. Then, sprinkle Soil Mender corn meal on your yard. It suppresses the development of small feeder roots and effectively prevents crabgrass, dandelions, curly dock, knotweed, lamb’s quarters, pigweed, and plantain. It will not hurt the grass in your yard or any other plants.

Soap And Water Grass-Safe Weed Killer Recipe

Ingredients

Directions

Combine ten parts water and one part liquid dish detergent in a spray bottle. During the hottest part of a non-rainy day, spray the weeds with the mixture until soaked. The water will evaporate due to the heat, and the soap will get sticky on the weeds, drying them out.

Preventive Solution: Ground Cover Or Mulch

Editor’s Pick
Dewitt Sunbelt Ground CoverDewitt Ground Cover

You may also consider a ground covering (such as this one by Dewitt) or a thick layer of mulch (at least two to three inches).

Why do these work? You are blocking their access to sunlight, and without photosynthesis, plants can’t grow, including weeds.

How Long Do I Keep My Dog Off Grass After Spraying Weed Killer?

We recommend keeping your dog off the grass until the weed killer solution has had time to dry. While these dog-friendly weed killers shouldn’t harm your pet, if your dog walks around on still wet treated weeds, the solution may be less effective.

Is Horticultural Vinegar Safe?

You may hear that horticultural vinegar can be more effective on your weeds than household (distilled) vinegar. This is true, but you should apply this product with caution.

Horticultural vinegar is modified vinegar produced in labs with a much higher concentration of acetic acid (typically has a concentrations of 20% acetic acid vs 5% in household/distilled vinegar). This means it’s technically an herbicide and no longer a food product.

High concentrations of acetic acid can also cause harm to animals and be corrosive to the environment. For that reason, we advise you use sparingly, if at all. 

If you do use it, we recommend you dilute it and wear goggles and protective clothing. When the acetic acid concentration exceeds 11%, vinegar can burn skin and cause damage to your eyes. Concentrations above 20% are corrosive to tin, aluminum, iron, and concrete and can even cause blindness.1

Chemicals Aren’t Just In Your Weed Killer

Weeds can be a pain in the grass, but they are inevitable without a watchful eye and active yard maintenance plan. We hope some of these recommendations can help you get your weed situation under control.

Once you do, you can address other chemical exposures in your everyday life. We review pet-safe lawn fertilizer solutions to help you avoid additional chemicals in your yard.

What difficulties are you experiencing getting rid of weeds?

Sources: [1] Good House Keeping


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