10 Pet-Safe Weed Killers

Removing weeds by hand is time consuming, and many weed killers are dangerous to pets who come into contact with them. Here are 10 pet-safe weed killers that will squash those pesky weeds while keeping your furry friends healthy and happy.


5 Commercial Pet-Safe Weed Killers

Most of the products we’ve picked are certified by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), a nonprofit group that reviews and certifies organic products.

Here are our top five picks for pet-friendly herbicides you can buy online or in most home improvement stores.

1. Weed Warrior 

Get Sunday’s Weed Warrior is certified organic by the USDA and made with OMRI-listed ammonium soap and fatty acids. It’s a non-selective weed and grass killer, meaning it will kill all weeds.


  • Makes grass stronger and greener
  • EPA approved ingredients
  • Kills broadleaf weeds
  • Easy to use


  • May stain concrete and clothes

2. Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer 

OMRI certified as an organic weed killer, Green Gobbler is designed to kill both weeds and the grass growing between sidewalk cracks and pavers. It works on all types of weeds, including dandelions and crabgrass.


  • Environmentally friendly – no dyes or toxic chemicals
  • OMRI certified
  • Made from corn grown in the United States
  • inexpensive
  • Results are usually noticeable within 24 hours


  • Will kill surrounding plants
  • Strong vinegar smell, but dissipates quickly

3. Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed & Grass Killer

Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed & Grass Killer is a biodegradable weed control that’s made from ocean salt water, vinegar, and soap. The University of Florida found Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed and Grass Killer to be effective in eliminating more than 250 common weeds.


  • Eco-friendly – the acetic acid quickly degrades and won’t affect soil health
  • Safe for pollinators, aquatic life, pets, and children
  • Useful on seams in cement and walkways, flower and mulch beds
  • Has a long shelf life


  • The vinegar in this product emits a strong odor until dry
  • Not certified by OMRI or the EPA

4. Natural Elements Weed Killer

Made with salt water and concentrated commercial grade white vinegar, Natural Elements is glyphosate-free. It’s effective against common weeds like clover, dandelions, chickweed, crabgrass, thistle, and broadleaf weeds.


  • Works on broadleaf weeds and grasses
  • Budget-friendly
  • Made in the USA
  • No strong odors
  • Easy to use a sprayer


  • Kills surrounding grass, so use caution when spraying
  • Works best in small areas

5. Preen Weed Preventer

Preen Weed Preventer is a pre-emergent weed control, meaning it stops weeds before they sprout, so you have to think ahead and apply it before you see the first weed. It’s safe to use around pets, established flowers, trees, shrubs, and vegetables. It is made from corn gluten meal and does not contain glyphosate.


  • Safe around plants that are over 2-inches tall
  • Saves time on weeding by stopping weeds before they sprout
  • Effective and has 60% more protein compared to other preventatives
  • It can be used throughout the year to keep your lawn weed-free


  • It’s easy to confuse this product with Preen’s Grass and Weed Killer, which contains glyphosate and is not safe for dogs and cats
  • It’s a weed preventer and will not kill weeds that have sprouted

A good rule of thumb is to keep your pets off the lawn for 24 hours after applying both pre-emergents and weed killers. Many of these products dissipate with water, so to be certain it’s safe, water your lawn the next day before letting your kids, cats, and dogs play on it.

5 DIY Pet-Safe Weed Killers

Pet parents can make several homemade pet-safe weed killers and avoid exposing their dogs and cats to harsh chemicals.

1. Salt Solution

Make a weak solution with three parts water and one part salt. Dissolve rock or table salt in water and pour it into a sprayer. A shot of dish soap will increase its effectiveness.


  • Salt kills the roots as well as the weeds, so there’s little chance of the weeds returning
  • Salt can also kill grubs and harmful garden pests


  • Salt will prevent anything from growing, including flowers and grass
  • Salt will also kill earthworms and other beneficial insects

2. Boiling water

Pour boiling water over the weeds. Cover the area with cardboard or a tarp for four to six weeks to prevent seeds from germinating.


  • Fast-acting weed killer
  • Environmentally friendly


  • This natural weed killer won’t prevent seeds from germinating
  • Boiling water will immediately kill any plants or grass it touches

3. Sugar 

Layer a cup of sugar around the base of the weeds, making sure to cover the area surrounding the roots. You may need to reapply another cup in a few days if the weeds are persistent.  


  • Environmentally friendly
  • Attacks broadleaf and annual weeds faster than the surrounding grass


  • Sugar can attract ants 
  • Sugar depletes the nitrogen in the soil and may kill other plants in the area

4. Borax

Mix 1-cup of borax powder and 2 gallons of warm water in a sealable container. Stir until dissolved and let it rest for at least an hour before pouring it into a spray bottle. Apply it directly to the weeds. 


  • A potent weed and ant killer


  • Borax will kill any plant you spray it on, so watch your aim. 
  • Borax is poisonous in its concentrated form, so it needs to be stored away from pets and kids

5. Clove Oil Solution

Boil  2 cups of water and add 10 drops of clove essential oil. Mix well, let cool, and pour into a spray bottle to treat weeds. Sunlight decreases the efficacy of clove oil, so it’s best to spray weeds after sundown.


  • This is a natural weed and grass killer that doesn’t hurt other plants or the soil
  • Clove oil also works as an insecticide


  • Clove oil may keep beneficial insects like bees away

Dangers Of Herbicides To Cats And Dogs

Using the wrong products while trying to kill weeds could cause serious harm to your four-legged friends. A common active ingredient in chemical weed killers, like Roundup, is glyphosate which is a toxin often overlooked by pet owners.

  • Even if a product is listed as being pet safe, you should always use caution. Here are some tips for choosing a pet-safe weed killer
  • Check the ingredients
  • Read labels
  • Follow the directions

A Purdue University study concludes that common lawn and garden chemicals may increase the risk for cancer in dogs. Those chemicals include dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and 4 -chloro-2.


1. How long does it take for my pet to show signs of poisoning?

Two to 36 hours, depending on how much your pet ingested.

2. How long does it take for weed killer to dry?

Some products dry within 3 hours, however, it’s best to wait for at least 24 hours before allowing pets or people into the treated area. Humidity can affect drying time.

3. What do I do if my pet comes in contact with poisonous weed killers?

Veterinarians recommend you separate your pet from the poison, make a note of the weed killer they ingested, and contact your vet.

4. My vet is closed. What should I do?

Call ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) and the Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661) for expert advice or contact your local 24-hour emergency vet.

Got a yard full of weeds but little time to get rid of them? We can help you find an eco-garden pro or lawn care professional who can handle the problem while you and your furry friend relax.

Main photo credit: Rawpixel

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!