Pet Safe Weed And Seed

There are several pet-friendly weed and feed products on the market. You can safely use many brand-name weed and feed fertilizer/herbicide combinations in Keep cats and dogs safe while treating weeds by trying these non-toxic herbicide products. Plus, we talked with experts on how to safely use weed killer around pets. Chemical lawn treatments can harm your dog or cat. If you want to keep weeds out, consider using a pet-safe weed killer on this list.

5 Best Pet Safe Weed and Feed Products

There are several pet-friendly weed and feed products on the market. You can safely use many brand-name weed and feed fertilizer/herbicide combinations in your yard without harming your pets. However, chemical-based weed and feed products require that you keep your pets off the lawn until the weed and feed has had time to work for 1–2 days before being watered into the soil. If you wish to avoid this waiting period, you can use an organic weed preventer combined with an organic fertilizer.

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Is There a Lawn Weed and Feed that is Safe For Dogs?

Most weed and feed products are pet-friendly as long as you follow the label instructions for proper use. This means that you can use most standard weed and feed products in a lawn with dogs. However, you may have to keep your dog off the lawn for a few days after applying the weed and feed. This is because most commercial weed and feed products contain chemical herbicides that can be harmful to dogs if swallowed. So, until it is the right time to water after applying weed and feed, you should protect your dog by keeping it off the grass.

  • Most weed and feed products are safe for dogs if they are used properly.
  • Safe use of a weed and feed with chemical herbicide may make it necessary for you to keep your dog off a treated lawn for 1–2 days.
  • Organic weed and feed options are pet-safe and do not require you to keep your dog off the lawn.

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of keeping your dog off the lawn after spreading weed and feed, you can use a combination of organic weed-prevention products plus organic fertilizer. This combo will keep your lawn pet safe even as you feed your grass and prevent weeds from sprouting.

When Can Pets Go On Your Lawn After Weed and Feed?

Pets should not be allowed on a lawn that has been treated with weed and feed until the weed and feed has been given time to work and has then been watered into the soil. Weed and feed should be applied to a lawn and allowed to work for 1–2 days, depending on the type of weed and feed. Then, you can water the feed and feed to dissolve it and pull it into the soil. Once the weed and feed has been watered in and the lawn is dry, it’s safe for your pets to go in the grass.

  • Pets can use a lawn once the weed and feed has been watered into the soil and the lawn is dry.
  • Weed and feed should not be watered into the soil immediately after application. It needs 1–2 days to work before you water.
  • When you water a lawn treated with weed and feed, the granules of weed and feed will dissolve and be pulled into the soil.
  • Once the weed and feed has been watered into the soil, your lawn is safe for pets.
  • Your pet can become sick if it is allowed to go on a lawn where weed and feed has not yet been watered in.

Do not let your pet go onto a lawn if the weed and feed has not been watered into the soil. Weed and feed granules contain fertilizers and herbicides. These granules can stick to paws and fur. Then, when your pet licks itself clean, it will eat these chemicals. While this isn’t typically life-threatening, it can cause pets to experience vomiting, excessive drooling, and diarrhea. It’s best to protect your pet until the weed and feed has been watered into the soil and the lawn is once again dry.

What is the Safest Weed and Feed for Pets? [Top 5 Options]

When you’re searching for a weed and feed product that will kill weeds, boost grass growth, and keep your pets safe, there are several options to choose from. Below are pet-safe products. We’ve included both commercial weed and feed products and organic options.

Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed 3

Scotts Turf Builder is completely safe for pets when it is used according to the label instructions. This powerful weed and feed product combines a well-balanced lawn fertilizer with 2,4-D and Mecoprop herbicides. These herbicides are considered safe for use around mammals. So, it is a very good choice.

Once you spread Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed on your yard, allow 2 days for the weed killer to get to work, killing actively growing weeds. Then, you can water your lawn to dissolve the weed and feed. Once your lawn is dry, it is safe for your pets to roll and play in the grass, or even chew on the grass!

These 7 Products Effectively Kill Weeds Without Harming Pets

Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

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On This Page

  • Our Top Picks
  • Usage Tips
  • What To Look For
  • Ingredients to Avoid

As flowers and plants begin to bloom this spring, it’s inevitable that we’ll soon notice the pesky weeds growing right beside them. Before turning to weed killers that could be potentially toxic for our four-legged friends, consider a pet-friendly weed killer that works as a safer alternative for pets and other outdoor animals.

Most pet-friendly products rely on recognizable household ingredients, like concentrated vinegar, dish soap, or salt. These low-toxicity products can tackle many weeds without covering the yard in unfamiliar chemicals that can be a cause for concern when pets are playing outside.

If you already have a traditional chemical weed killer (such as one containing glyphosate), don’t throw it out quite yet. Highly effective glyphosate weed killers can still be safe for pets as long as they are used appropriately, according to a study from the University of Maryland. Whether you are ready to try a new pet-friendly product or want to use up an old product in an animal-safe way, here are our top picks for pet-safe weed killer and everything you need to know about how to keep your pets away from potentially unsafe weed killers.

Our Top Picks

Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer

With a formula of 20 percent vinegar, the Green Gobbler promises to eliminate any type of weed within 24 hours. It is especially effective for invasive and widespread weeds like clover, crab grass, or dollarweed. This weed killer is non-selective, though, so only spray it on areas where you want all growth ceased—in other words, do not expect it to spare your perfectly green lawn.

The Green Gobbler boasts more than 4,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. One purchaser said, “I purchased this product because I wanted to reduce the number of weeds in my backyard, which is the yard my dogs primarily use. Having lost one dog to lymphoma and knowing that they all like to munch on backyard ‘greens,’ I was looking for something non-toxic while still being effective. Green Gobbler fits the bill.”

See also  Growing Butterfly Weed From Seed Indoors

Harris 20% Vinegar Extra Strength

When looking for a non-toxic weed killer, Harris’ 20 percent concentrated vinegar is hard to beat. Spray the pure vinegar on invasive patches of weeds to kill them, but keep in mind that it will kill any plant or grass it comes into contact with. The concentrated vinegar can still irritate skin and lungs, so make sure you keep pets inside and wear protective gear while applying it.

Just For Pets Pet Friendly & Pet Safe Weed Killer

The “Just For Pets” all-natural weed killer boasts a fast-drying formula that will not harm animals. This pet-friendly herbicide relies on a combination of common ingredients, including vinegar, citric acid, salt, clove oil, and lemon juice. Be careful where you spray it though because it will kill any greenery it touches! A bonus for pet owners: A portion of each sale is donated to animal shelters nationwide.

A five-star reviewer of the “Just For Pets” weed killer said, “I was skeptical but wanted to give it a try since we have dogs and toddlers and try to avoid the harsh chemicals. We had some very heavily overgrown weeds in some flower beds and this stuff worked amazingly! Killed everything we sprayed overnight!”

Bonide Ready-to-Use Burnout Weed and Grass Killer

The “Burnout Weed and Grass Killer” promises to disintegrate any greenery in its path. The all-natural Bonide product is a good option for anyone with a nose that is particularly sensitive to vinegar: Many reviewers say the clove oil and citric acid formula offers a more pleasant smell than other products. Once fully dried, the formula is waterproof, making it particularly safe for humans and pets.

Natural Armor Weed and Grass Killer

In its organic formula, Natural Armor’s herbicide uses vinegar, salt and citrus ingredients, and essential oils to stop the growth of weeds in mere hours. As with many other products, the weed killer is non-selective, so use it carefully around prized plants. This product does best when applied on warm, sunny days.

ECO Garden PRO – Organic Vinegar Weed Killer

This ready-to-use product uses organic white vinegar and Himalayan rock salt to eliminate yard weeds without harming pets. Since it is a non-selective product, this organic weed killer is especially useful when targeting weeds that pop up on driveways, sidewalks, or parking lots. It tackles everything from widespread clover to poison ivy without creating a dangerous environment for pets.

A five-star reviewer wrote, “We had a lot of weeds and crabgrass in our yard, but we also have dogs. It was hard to find a weed killer that was organic and safe for my pets but worked. This does the job.”

Dr. Earth Final Stop Weed & Grass Killer

The Dr. Earth weed and grass killer is made from a blend of essential oils, including clove, cinnamon, rosemary, and thyme. As with the other products on this list, it can kill grass that you would like to keep green, so pay extra attention to where the spray ends up. Although this is safe for pets, do not let your pet near the area right after spraying when the product is still wet. Reviewers on Chewy said this doesn’t work quite as well as traditional weed killer, but it gives them peace of mind as pet parents.

How to Best Protect Pets from Weed Killers

Tina Wismer, DVM, and the senior director of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, says that many pets get exposed to weed killers when they are outside with their owner while gardening and lick a wet weed that has just been chemically treated. In order to avoid this, make sure you keep pets inside while spraying any chemicals, and keep them away from the treated area until the weed killer is fully dried.

“Always make sure to follow label directions when applying weed killers,” Wismer says. “Keep pets off the treated area until it is dry—could be minutes or hours depending on the humidity.”

Other pets are exposed not during the application of the weed killer, but when it is stored incorrectly. Dogs can mistake gardening products for toys, says Whitmer, and when “playing,” they can ingest unsafe weed killers. To prevent this, pet owners should store their weed killers in an unreachable spot for animals and away from food sources.

This storage rule applies regardless of whether pet owners are using harsh herbicides or natural remedies: ingesting concentrated vinegar can cause many of the same illness symptoms in dogs as other chemical weed killers.

What to Look for in Pet-Safe Weed Killer

Many pet owners have begun turning to natural acid alternatives instead of potentially unsafe herbicides containing glyphosate after health-related lawsuits. Popular products to replace glyphosate usually contain concentrated vinegar, clove oil, or citric acid.

Erica Irish, DVM, who practices in Minneola, Fla., and works as a consultant for BetterPet, says that concentrated vinegar can be less toxic than other herbicides, but most pets will be perfectly safe with any weed killer as long as their owners are correctly following the directions for applying it. No matter the product (vinegar-based or otherwise), you will want to keep animals away during its application and drying period.

“As far as safety goes—the active ingredient in vinegar, acetic acid, is in a lot of the stuff that we will use, like certain ear cleaners,” Irish says. “So, safety-wise, it may be a little better than more commercial products. But, then there’s also the question of how effective it will be.”

If you’re especially worried about harsh chemicals in your yard, use a weed killer with more familiar ingredients like concentrated vinegar. But, if the natural weed killers are not doing the trick, then Irish says pet owners can still use more traditional weed killers as long as they carefully follow directions or hire professionals to apply the chemicals.

Key Ingredients to Avoid in Weed Killer

There are many toxic herbicide ingredients that pet owners may want to avoid, but the danger often corresponds to how much of the product your pet ingests. Merck Veterinary Manual details over 130 products that can cause poisoning at different levels, but here are some common herbicide chemicals to avoid:

1. Glyphosate

This common herbicide has been linked to health risks in humans and animals, though the scientific community is split on the issue, and it continues to be evaluated. The National Pesticide Information Center warns that glyphosate can be toxic if animals touch or eat plants that are covered in the chemical while still wet. The NPIC says if your pet ingests glyphosate, they can show signs of vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or drowsiness.

2. Paraquat

This toxic chemical is recognized as the most dangerous weed killer, according to Wismer. It can accumulate in the lungs and can cause scarring leading to difficulty breathing. It is primarily only available to licensed operators, but it is worth pet owners being aware of its danger.

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3. Organophosphates

This pesticide ingredient is one that Irish says many pet owners avoid because of its high toxicity and its potential for harming an animal’s nervous system.

Pet-Safe Weed Killer: 5 Options to Protect Your Lawn

Dogs enjoy frolicking in yards and rolling around in grass. It’s what they do. But if you’re a homeowner who likes to keep their lawn in tip-top shape, then a pet-safe weed killer is incredibly important.

Traditional chemical weed killers and lawn treatments can cause problems for our pets—something I unfortunately have first-hand experience with.

When my spouse and I took a pet-friendly vacation to Maine several years ago, our Cocker Spaniel developed a reaction after romping around the lush, green lawn of our bed and breakfast. Our dog Brady began vomiting and developed a prickly red rash across her stomach. I called a pet poison helpline and was told she likely suffered from chemical exposure and to seek veterinary care. She received IV fluids, a bath, a blood panel, and ointment for her chemical burns. It turns out, the property had used a chemical weed killer a few days before our arrival.

Since that time, I’ve been on a mission to inform other pet parents about the toxicity of certain weed killers and why pet-friendly products should be used in their place.

How Weed Killers Could Harm Pets

Integrative veterinarian Dr. Laurie Coger worries about glyphosate (a common herbicide) in weed killers. She says glyphosate is implicated in many cancers in both dogs and humans.

“Exposure to weed killers, specifically glyphosate, is one of the most overlooked toxins by most dog parents,” she advises. “The chemical is linked to lymphoma and other cancers in humans, and many suspect it could have similar effects in pets.”

In fact, a 6-year study conducted by Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine found that the use of lawn chemicals increased a dog’s chance of developing cancer by up to 70 percent.

While homeowners may want to keep their lawns looking weed-free during the spring and summer months, using the wrong products to kill weeds could cause harm to four-legged family members.

“Common sense dictates that we minimize chemical exposure for ourselves and our pets,” Coger says. “Chemical weed killers are a potential danger to our dogs and outdoor cats.”

Roundup and Pets: Is it Safe?

Roundup is a popular weed killer and lawn treatment, but its main ingredient is isopropylamine salt of glyphosate. Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup began selling the product in 1974. In 2015, the World Health Organization determined that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

In 2019, a California couple won a $2 billion dollar lawsuit after they developed cancer linked to the use of Roundup weed killer. Although the judge cut the lawsuit to $86.7 million, the settlement was upheld.

Dogs like to roll on grass, many cats go for walks on a leash and their paws encounter grassy lawns, and pets often lick their feet or fur while they are lounging around the house. Any non-pet-friendly weed killers they encounter outside can be ingested into their bloodstream.

According to the National Pesticide Information Center, pets that come in contact with wet glyphosate products may drool, have gastric upset, lose their appetites, or become sleepy—none of which are noted on the Roundup labeling or website.

If you do choose to use Roundup as your weed-killer of choice, it’s important to keep your dog away from the treated area and talk to your veterinarian if you have concerns.

What to Look For in a Pet-Safe Weed Killer

There are a few very important aspects to look for when selecting a pet-safe weed killer for your lawn. Here are a few points to consider:

Ingredients

Despite the label that touts a product as pet-safe and pet-friendly or perhaps natural or organic, pet parents should carefully read the ingredient list. Though chemicals can be effective at killing weeds, they can cause issues when pets are exposed to them. Corn gluten meal and vinegar are all-natural products that are generally safe for dogs and cats.

Things like 2,4-D (trimec), sethoxydim, carbon tetrachloride, and chloroform are all ingredients to avoid in a weed killer for pet households.

Certifications

Look at labels and do some research to verify any governing bodies or organizations that certify weed killers safe for dogs and cats. For example, the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) is a private, nonprofit organization that certifies products as organic.

Prevention or Killer

Some products kill weeds while others prevent them. If your lawn is in good shape, look for a pet-friendly weed prevention product. If your lawn has a weed problem, a pet-friendly weed killer is the way to go.

Efficacy

Read a broad sample of reviews on the pet-safe weed killer or pet-friendly weed prevention product you’re interested in. How long do people say it took to work? Does it take hours, days, or weeks to see a difference? What weeds does it target? Not all weeds are created equal, as some products target dandelions, mosses, chickweed, and dollar weed, while others are explicitly designed to eliminate crabgrass.

How We Ranked Our Top Pet-Safe Weed Killers

In assembling this list, I’ve considered products I’ve used with success over the past decade. I looked at reviews, talked to an integrative veterinarian, talked to one of my best friends who has a green thumb to match her green pet-friendly lawn, and looked for a wide array of purported pet-friendly lawn products to kill weeds while keeping dogs and cats safe.

We also wanted to make sure that the pet-friendly weed killers on this list were easy to buy online and were effective without the need for a professional lawn-care service.

Our Favorite Pet-Friendly Weed Killers

If you plan to allow your dog or cat to roam around the yard and enjoy the great outdoors, one of these pet-safe weed killer products should be part of our lawn-care regimen.

Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer

Green Gobbler is OMRI certified for organic use and designed to use where grasses and weeds are not desired. I’ve personally used this product for years. The Green Gobbler formula is 30 percent stronger than traditional table vinegar and is safe to use right out of the container.

I love the removable trigger spray and the fact that it works almost immediately without bothering my dog’s paws or causing irritation. The fact that it is environmentally and pet safe and works like a charm without toxic chemicals puts Green Gobbler high atop our list.

Highlights

  • Derived from USA-grown corn.
  • No dyes or chemicals.
  • OMRI certified.
  • Weeds start to wither within 24 hours.
  • Nicely priced.
  • Can be used for regular cleaning when diluted with water.

Things To Consider

  • Use caution with surrounding plants, as it will affect them if contact is made.
  • There is a strong vinegar smell, but it dissipates quickly.
  • It is unclear what is used to dilute the vinegar in the actual product. Although it may be water, the information is not readily available.

Sample Buyer Review: “I have been fighting with weeds for three years in areas that have rocks in the yard from the previous owner and found the fabric below the rocks has rotted. This prevents granular and liquid weed control from reaching the dirt and only certain weeds died from contact on the leafy part of the plant. This vinegar destroys the weeds just from contact on the plant. I LOVE this stuff!!”

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Natural Elements Weed Killer

I have a small yard and patio area with a deck and wanted to get rid of some weeds earlier this summer. Formulated with salt water and concentrated commercial grade vinegars, this product actually sticks to the weed and strips the coating so weeds are gone in about a day. Many other so-called pet-friendly weed killers take days to work, but Natural Elements really delivered on its fast-acting promise.

There is no mixing, no drifting (don’t spray on a windy day), and it’s best to use in warmer weather so the weeds are gone quicker. In cooler temperatures, it may take at least five days to see the weeds disappear. It is glyphosate-free and the label is very transparent about ingredients and safety.

Highlights

  • Effective on most broadleaf weeds and grasses.
  • Easy to spray one-quart bottle.
  • Some reviews claim it worked to kill poison ivy, but we didn’t try that.
  • Great value for the price.
  • Not as pungent in vinegar smell compared to some other products.
  • Made in the USA.

Things To Consider

  • Will kill grass so do not apply directly to lawns unless that is your intent.
  • Not many reviews online but this product may just be “falling under the radar.”
  • For larger areas or more frequent use, consider upgrading to the larger size.

Sample Buyer Review: “Keeps the weeds under control and saves time and effort with a quick spray. Great value for money.”

Preen Weed Preventer

One of my closest friends, who is also a dog mom, has been using this on her lawn and garden for years. It is safe to use around over 200 different types of established flowers, trees, shrubs, and even vegetables. This made our list because it actually prevents weeds and can be safely used around pets. It stops weeds before they start, and who doesn’t want to save some time and effort these days?!

Preen Weed Preventer is not washed out of the soil by rain and using it early means the need to hand weed is eliminated. Because it is made from corn gluten meal and does not contain glyphosate, it’s a win-win. My neighbor says she’s noticed her lawn to be a lot greener and that could be because the corn gluten meal works as a fertilizer, too.

Highlights

  • Stops weeds before they become problematic.
  • Contains 60 percent protein compared to other weed preventers that contain significantly less. More protein = more effective.
  • Safe around plants that are two to three inches tall.
  • Prevents weeds from sprouting on the lawn if used multiple times per year.

Things To Consider

  • It is on the pricier side.
  • Some complain corn gluten-based weed killers are less effective, but remember that this is a weed preventer, designed to be used to prevent and not kill weeds.
  • Do not confuse this product with Preen’s Grass and Weed Killer, which does contain glyphosate and is not safe for pets.

Sample Buyer Review: “I have used Preen Weed Preventer for many years around my yard, driveway, etc. The product does exactly what it says when used as directed. Never been disappointed with my results.”

Wondercide Outdoor Pest Control

I am a huge fan of Wondercide products and use their flea and tick preventative on my dog. In addition to their spray-on-the-dog treatments, Wondercide also makes an outdoor pest control to kill and repel pests from a lawn. However, after reading that it stopped weeds in their tracks on another customer’s lawn, I decided to give it a try.

Because we recently added a patio to our backyard, I was able to test these products on a large area of grass before the contractors got to work. Oddly enough, when I sprayed Wondercide Outdoor Pest Control on weeds in the yard, they were gone a few weeks later. Granted, it didn’t work as fast as some products, but this was my own personal test. I love that this product is safe on grass for my dog to lay on, roll on, and walk on but effective in killing and repelling ticks and fleas while eliminating weeds!

Highlights

  • Enjoy a bug-free yard and possibly eliminate weeds.
  • Safe around butterflies and bees.
  • Great for lawns, patios, and landscapes.
  • No harsh chemicals.
  • Spray and play, as there is zero wait time after application.
  • Made with cedar oil, sesame oil, seeds, and fruit in the USA.

Things to Consider

  • Not touted as a weed controller, but it worked for me.
  • Must be diluted and requires a separate applicator.
  • Available in a variety of sizes, be certain to get the sprayer version for complete spraying application.

Sample Buyer Review: “I know you don’t advertise this as a feature, but I am thrilled to have this in my arsenal. I can now treat my weeds and allow my pets to use the yard. It also doesn’t seem to be affecting the plants I want in the yard at all. What a win!”

Eco Garden Pro Organic Weed Killer

This is the first pet-friendly weed killing product I encountered that combines organic white vinegar with Himalayan rock salt. The two ingredients work so well together that they kill weeds and prevent immediate regrowth. In addition to being safe around dogs and cats, the company touts it as safe for bees, fish, and other live stock.

In addition to weeds, it can kill moss, clover, and poison ivy and is 100 percent biodegradable and environmentally friendly. Since it contains no phosphates, it’s also safe for groundwater. If I could hug this bottle, I would because it is slowly becoming my new favorite.

Highlights

  • In addition to being safe around pets, the products on this list are touted as safe around kids, and Eco Garden is no exception.
  • They only use pharmaceutical-grade ingredients that are sustainably sourced whenever possible.
  • 100 percent satisfaction guarantee or your money back.
  • Perfect for residential areas as well as commercial, industrial, and agricultural areas along with driveways, sidewalks, concrete, mulch beds, pavement, flowers beds, parking lots, and farm lands.

Things To Consider

  • Some complain it takes too long to kill clover and dandelions.
  • Some reviewers say weeds came back too fast.
  • Complaints of strong smell but others say it goes away soon.

Sample Buyer Review: “I bought this to get rid of the dandelions in my backyard. It came premixed. I sprayed it in the afternoon and it worked overnight. I have a 2 years old Golden Retriever, it is nice not having to worry about him after spraying the yard.”

Which Pet-Safe Weed Killer Is Best?

I like each of the above pet-friendly weed killer products equally—but for different reasons. Never use all of them at one time and give each product enough time to dry and test before moving to another formula.

Despite the pet-safe and pet-friendly labeling, I never apply any product in the presence of my dog. Canine noses are sensitive and I wait until the products dry before allowing my pup to traipse, roll, walk, and play on the lawn.

When walking your dog, be careful about letting your dog walk in other people’s lawns, since you never know if chemical products were used.