Everyone wants to have a beautiful garden, but looking after your lawn shouldn’t mean putting your furry friends in danger. However, there are a lot of weed killers out there that aren’t safe for pets. So what weed killer is safe for dogs and other pets? Knowing how to create natural weed killers or organic weed removal solutions can be a good way to keep your garden in great shape without worrying about your four-legged friends.
Fortunately, there are various pet safe weed killers out there. Today, we’re going to help you determine which of the natural weed solutions are going to be best for your home and family.
Are Commercial Weed Killers Safe for Pets?
It’s hard to know for certain whether all commercial weed killers are going to be pet friendly. Unfortunately, a lot of the weed-killing products you’ll find in your standard garden stores aren’t designed with pets in mind. These products, whether you choose selective or non-selective weed killers, contain various toxic chemicals.
All natural weed killer safe for dogs & all animals 500ml apple cider vinegar 125 gr Epsom Salts mix together spray on weeds #loveanimals
— Joan Alcorn (@Joan_Irish) September 22, 2016
Some weed preventer solutions and weed killing products are harsher than others. There are weed killers out there that can harm your grass and plants, as well as your pets. Many weed preventer products also contain active ingredients that you’d want to keep your pets away from at all times.
Crucially, just because your weed killer spray bottle is labelled as ‘safe’ doesn’t mean you should use it around your pets, kids, and other wildlife. The term ‘safe’ for weed killing products doesn’t always mean ‘non-toxic’. It’s quite a broad term that homeowners should consider carefully.
Any chemicals within your weed-killing solutions could potentially hurt your dog, your cat, or even your kids if they come close enough. That’s why so many of these products include labels that warn you not to ingest the chemicals within or expose yourself to them without protective equipment.
Why Are Weed Killers Dangerous?
Weed-killer products can contain a lot of dangerous active ingredients. Chemicals are effective at getting rid of the weeds and plants you don’t want in your garden. However, they’re also very dangerous to other organic life forms. That’s why non-selective weed killers can kill your lawn and the surrounding plant life in your garden.
The chemicals in weed killers can also be dangerous in various ways. When you spray a weed killer, you run the risk that you’ll accidentally breathe the chemicals in if you’re not wearing protection. If your dog, cat, or other animals run over the lawn after you’ve applied weed killer to it, they can also absorb certain substances through their skin.
@alexlovelltv could I ask for some advice from a gardener and dog owner, can you recommend a pet friendly way of getting rid of weeds? Is there a 'safe' weed killer I could use that you have found to be ok?
— Steven Moorhouse (@StevenMoorhous1) June 3, 2018
Pets also commonly lick themselves when they come into contact with unknown substances, which could mean that they accidentally ingest dangerous herbicides. If you’re using any weed killers high in chemicals, you should keep your pets away for at least 24 hours and stop them from going into any treated areas.
Do Pet Safe Weed Killer Options Exist?
Weed killer, like bleach, is a product we often expect to be a little dangerous. We know these substances are full of chemicals and herbicides that can cause damage to any living thing. But what weed killer is safe for dogs and other pets? It is possible to use pet-friendly weed killers instead. An organic weed killer can be made with substances that aren’t dangerous to animals, like corn, gluten, and vinegar. Alternatively, you can consider taking an approach to kill weeds that don’t rely on any grass killer or chemicals at all. For instance:
Removing Weeds by Hand
It might take more work than using a weed killer but removing weeds from your lawn and garden by hand gives you a lot of control. You can kill weeds without worrying about damaging the surrounding lawn, plants, or flowers. There’s also no risk of any active ingredient harming your pets or your dog.
You can even make manual weeding part of your daily chores in the garden. If you like working on your lawn, then this shouldn’t take too much time. The more you keep on top of your weeds, the easier it will be. Special digging forks and spades can make it easier to remove weeds in a completely safe way.
Using a layer of compost on mulch around your flower beds, garden, and lawn can be another natural way to get rid of weeds while you protect your pets. Mulch is effective at killing weeds because it stops the weed seeds in the soil from growing.
If you often have weeds that grow around your flowers, but you don’t know a safe way to get rid of them without the risk that you spray and kill your plants, too, mulch is a good, natural choice. You can even get landscaping fabrics and place them under stones and pavers to prevent weeds from growing on your pavement too.
Pouring Boiling Water
If you’re struggling to find a safe way to kill weeds within your garden without harming your dog or pets, then try boiling water. Boil a pot of water and keep your dogs locked inside of the house while you use it. Carefully pour the water over all the areas where you want to get rid of the weeds for an organic and non-toxic way to make your home weed-free.
Remember to avoid pouring the boiling water solution on any green spaces that you want to keep healthy. To keep your hands safe, consider wearing gardening gloves.
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Making a Completely Dog Safe Weed Killer
If the manual options above aren’t enough for managing your lawns and outdoor ground, then don’t worry. There are various recipes out there for weed killers using natural ingredients. These pets safe weed killer options won’t put your dog at risk or any other pets and animals you have running around your home.
The best pet-friendly weed killer for most people is simply pure vinegar. Just decant distilled white vinegar into a spray bottle, and you’ll have a way of removing pre-emergent weeds and fully grown weeds around your garden. A vinegar weed killer should not cause any damage to your dog or cat because it includes no toxic chemicals.
However, you should take care when treating your garden with natural ingredients like vinegar. As you spray the weeds, try not to coat your lawn, as too much vinegar can harm your grass and other plants too.
Similarly, a little bit of salt mixed with some water and essential oil in a spray bottle is a great way to create a nice-smelling weed killer that won’t harm your dog. Like the vinegar option, this way to prevent weed growth features only natural ingredients, so it’s safe for your dog, cat, or other animals.
However, although salt is an eco-friendly and organic option compared to weed killers that use chemicals, it can also harm the soil and plants in your yard. Adding too much salt to your green areas can prevent lawns from growing. ‘Salting the earth’ is never a good idea if you want to grow plants in that space in the future.
Best weed killer Evah and safe for my dog. Vinegar 7% acid, salt and dish soap. Killed weeds 70% faster.
— Dallas (@caettx) July 6, 2014
Sugar can be used in the same way as salt too, and it’s great for placing in the cracks in the ground on your pavement. However, this eco-friendly and chemical-free weed killer can attract ants (or even encourage licking from your dog). You can keep your garden bug free by mixing sugar with chilli powder for an organic solution. However, you should keep your dog away from this mix to avoid discomfort.
Making Your Own Weed Killer
When it comes to protecting your dogs, only the best pet-friendly weed killer will do. The great thing about making your own natural weed killer is that it’s cheap and effective. You can remake the mixture as often as you like, in the quantity you need. What’s more, you can change aspects of the mixture as you learn more about how your garden responds.
If you want to kill weeds within 24 hours, the most effective option is to make your own pet safe weed killer. The top recipe involves using 2 cups of boiling water mixed with 1 cup of white vinegar and one teaspoon of clove or lemon essential oil.
On the other hand, just like with everything else, always use caution. If your dog comes into contact with the oil in your natural weed killer or soaks up too much of the vinegar from the spray on your green grass, they could easily transport it around your garden and cause patchy plant growth. There’s also a risk that licking these substances could give your dog a stomachache.
— James Richter (@JamesRichter) August 11, 2011
Dish Soap Recipe
Add one drop of dish soap to the mix and combine everything in a heatproof bowl. After the mixture has been allowed to cool for a few hours, pour it into a spray bottle. The best option is often to use a spray bottle with a highly focused nozzle, so you can direct the spray at the weed and not the surrounding lawn or grass.
Essential Oil Recipe
Spray your weed killer with essential oil on the weeds when the weather is bright and sunny, and avoid using it when the wind might carry the mixture onto your grass. Whether you’re using a weed killer that’s safe for dogs or not, it’s often a good idea to keep your dogs away from the grass for a few hours while the substance gets to work.
Know When Your Pet Is in Danger
When it comes to protecting your dog, always read the instructions on your weed killer to ensure that it’s safe for pets. This is important even if you think you’re using an organic or all-natural weed killer. If you’re concerned about your dog’s safety, keep them away from the garden until the weed killer has fully dried into the ground. If your dog picks up sticks from around the garden, make sure you’re aware of what the symptoms of poisoning might look like. Symptoms can include:
- Excessive panting
- Respiratory problems
- Problems walking
- Signs of discomfort or pain
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Hopefully, your dog will never display any of the symptoms above, but it’s best to be cautious. Even if you use all-natural weed killers at home, you never know when a park or another garden you visit might have been exposed to chemicals. When you see signs of toxicity or poisoning in your pet, you need to take them to the vet immediately for assistance.
Always Put Pet Safety First
Growing beautiful lawns and gardens takes a lot of work and regular maintenance. Often, if you want your grass and flower beds to look their best, you need to be willing to remove the occasional weed. However, if you have pets or small family members at home, you need to ensure your lawn stays safe for them. This means being extra cautious about the kind of products you use.
Have you used pet safe weed killer in your garden? Do you have organic pet-friendly weed killer recipes to share? Let us know in the comments below.