Last Updated: November 23, 2020
You love your pet and you love your lawn, and the last thing you want to do is choose between them. However, if your lawn gets overrun by weeds, you may feel like you have to decide whether it’s worth it to save your yard by using a harsh herbicide.
Fortunately, there’s a better way, as there are several pet-friendly weed killers on the market today. These products will snuff weeds out in no time, and they’re completely safe for use around pets.
They’re not all equally effective, though, and in the reviews below, we’ll reveal which ones we trust to keep our yard looking immaculate.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed & Grass Killer||
|Best Value||Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer||
|Premium Choice||BioSafe Systems 7601-1 Weed and Grass Killer||
|Natural Armor Weed and Grass Killer||
|ECO Garden PRO Organic Vinegar Weed Killer||
The 10 Best Pet-Friendly Weed Killers — Reviews 2020
1. Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed & Grass Killer — Best Overall
If you have pets at home, the last thing you want to do is expose them to a ton of toxic chemicals. That’s why a weed killer like Doctor Kirchner Natural is so attractive.
Instead of noxious herbicides, this formula uses a mix of salt water, food-grade vinegar, and soap. It may not sound that intimidating, but the concoction kills weeds dead.
There aren’t any hormone-disrupting chemicals inside either, so you don’t have to worry about your pet ingesting grass that’s been treated with the stuff. They probably wouldn’t eat it, anyway, as the vinegar tends to be a strong deterrent.
The formula is easy to use, with no mixing or measuring required. Just pour it into a spray bottle and go to town on your yard.
The biggest issue is that while it absolutely kills weeds, it takes a large amount of it to do so. You’ll go through a bottle fairly quickly, but that’s a small price to pay for beautifying your yard in a pet-friendly way.
Doctor Kirchner Natural is the best pet-friendly weed killer that we’ve found. Your pets will be safe around it, but the weeds won’t — what more could you ask for?
2. Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer– Best Value
Green Gobbler is a “biopesticide” that’s as notable for what it lacks as what it offers.
You won’t find any chlorine, fluorine, phosphates, sulfates, or any other potentially troublesome chemicals inside. It’s just 20% corn-derived vinegar.
It’s four times more powerful than regular table vinegar, and it’s effective at killing plants. It’ll absolutely kill your grass too, so be careful where you spray it.
The formula works quickly, killing weeds in around 24 hours or less. Using it is quite simple, as all you have to do is put the included sprayer head into the jug and fire away.
The sprayer is well-made, with no trickling or leaking. You can choose between a mist or stream.
The overall quality of the product is somewhat surprising, given the price. It’s one of the least expensive “natural” herbicides around, and it’s our pick for the best pet-friendly weed killer for the money.
In addition to killing grass, it can also deface concrete and other surfaces, so don’t spill it. We’d also recommend storing it someplace that your pet can’t get into it either.
If you want a strong, effective natural weed killer at a budget-friendly price, you won’t find many better than Green Gobbler.
3. BioSafe Systems 7601-1 Weed and Grass Killer– Premium Choice
If you want a product that works incredibly quickly (and are willing to pay extra for it), BioSafe Systems 7601-1 is the weed killer for you.
It kills pretty much any plant that it touches, and it often does so within an hour. If you need to clean up your yard in a hurry, this is the product that you should reach for.
Even hardy and persistent weeds will succumb to this stuff. If you have any plants that you can’t get rid of, a dose of this should do the trick.
Most of the stuff you kill with it stays dead too. In most cases, it kills plants down to the roots. This makes it a long-lasting formula, mitigating its high price somewhat.
All that power may make you wary of using it around your pets, though. It’s generally safe, but you shouldn’t let your pets interact with it until it’s fully dried. Also, it can kill bees and other beneficial insects, so try to keep it away from them.
BioSafe Systems 7601-1 is an expensive option, but it’s worth it if you need the most powerful natural weed killer that you can find.
4. Natural Armor Weed and Grass Killer
Natural Armor is a great way to not only kill weeds and other unwanted plants but also prevent them from cropping up in the first place.
You can use it to line walkways or flower beds, and it will keep any new growth from coming up. It usually works within 24-48 hours, so you should know quickly whether it will knock out your weed problem.
It will kill over 250 different types of weeds, so it’s likely to work on whatever you have growing in your backyard. It comes with a sprayer, but it’s only suitable for use on smaller areas, as using it for large-scale applications is a pain.
It will discolor concrete or any other surface that it touches, so be careful. Also, it has a strong odor that lingers for a few days.
Natural Armor is a safe and effective choice, but the options above are just a little bit better.
5. ECO Garden PRO Organic Vinegar Weed Killer
If you’re more concerned with keeping your pets safe than anything else, ECO Garden PRO is your best bet. It’s safe for all manner of animals, including bees, so you can spray it without fear. It’s also safe for groundwater, so you don’t have to worry about it soaking into the soil.
It makes an excellent poison ivy killer, and it seems to dispatch that particular plant better than any other. It does have a strong vinegar odor, but it clears up quickly.
Although you should see results within a day or two, you may need to reapply it to finish off persistent weeds. The weeds will most likely grow back before long too, so keep the bottle handy.
There’s no sprayer included, so you’ll need to provide your own bottle. That can make things messy when transferring the liquid.
ECO Garden PRO is a safe choice that does a good job of killing weeds, but it’s not quite as powerful as the options listed above.
6. Espoma CGP25 Organic Weed Preventer
Espoma CGP25 is different from many of the other options on this list, as it’s designed to prevent weeds from cropping up rather than killing existing plants.
Made from corn gluten meal, you simply spread it over your lawn twice a year. It will nourish the grass while preventing weeds from growing at the same time.
It’s absolutely safe, so your kids and pets can play on the lawn immediately after application.
The powder certainly helps keep growth under control, but it’s not foolproof, so you’ll need to buy a spot-killer as well. It takes quite a bit to cover your lawn, and you’ll need to buy several bags to have any hope of preventing weeds.
Also, be sure to check the forecast before putting this stuff down. If it rains within a few days of application, it will just wash away.
If you’re looking for a way to nourish your lawn and prevent weeds at the same time, Espoma CGP25 is a good choice, but don’t expect it to work miracles.
7. OrganicMatters Natural Weed Killer
OrganicMatters Natural dries extremely quickly, so you don’t have to keep your pets off the lawn for long. You won’t have much time to rinse it off your grass if you misfire, though, so it may lead to dead spots on your lawn.
Unfortunately, grass tends to stay dead, while weeds come back within a few weeks. You’ll need to buy several bottles of this stuff to get you through an entire summer.
Also, while the liquid dries quickly, the smell lingers for days. It’s not a pleasant aroma either; it’s quite a toxic odor, so you may want to stay out of the backyard for a few days after application.
The attached sprayer is prone to leaking as well, so you may get drips in your garage or shed. That could lead to the entire place stinking to high heaven.
It’s not likely to stain surfaces, though, making it an excellent choice for killing weeds that crop up on your sidewalk or patio.
It has limited use compared to some other options on this list, but OrganicMatters Natural is a quick-drying formula that works well on surfaces around your home.
8. Preen 24-63782 Vegetable Garden Weed Preventer
Preen 24-63782 is another spreadable weed preventer, except this formula is designed for use in vegetable gardens and the like.
Each application lasts for 4-6 weeks, so you’ll have to reapply it every few months. You can use it as often as you’d like, though, as it’s safe to apply even when harvesting fruit.
Of course, if it’s safe enough to apply on food that you’ll eat, it’s probably not as powerful as some other options, and that’s definitely true in this case. It’s not going to prevent every single weed, but it should help keep the population manageable.
It’s not terribly effective against morning glory or similar, viny plants, so if that’s your problem, you’ll need to find another option.
It’s expensive, and that makes it costly to reapply, but if you don’t, there’s little point in applying it at all.
Preen 24-63782 is a good choice for keeping vegetable gardens in relatively pristine shape, but it simply can’t compete with some of the more highly-rated products out there.
9. Just for Pets Pet Friendly & Pet Safe Weed Killer
As you might expect given the name, Just for Pets is made with your four-legged kids in mind. It’s definitely safe to use around pets, so you can spray it without fear.
While it’s safe for pets, it’s also fairly safe for weeds. You’ll need to spray weeds again and again to see results, and even that may not be enough to finish some plants off.
For some reason, though, it’s much more effective at killing grass than weeds. You’re liable to have yellow spots all over your lawn if you’re not precise with how you apply it.
You’ll need to provide your own sprayer and be careful about how you store the bottle, as it’s prone to leaking. It doesn’t smell good either, so you don’t want to get it all over your garage.
We certainly respect the intention behind Just for Pets, but the formula needs fine-tuning before it can expect to rise in the ranks.
10. Natural Elements Weed Killer
You may get excited after seeing what Natural Elements can do within a day or two of application, as weeds generally start to wilt in that time. However, many don’t actually die unless you come back several times to reapply the formula.
You really have to soak them too. A light spritzing won’t do much at all, so they’ll need to be dripping with the stuff if you hope to have any effect.
It works much better in warm weather than cold, so if you live in a chilly climate, it may not be of any use to you at all. You can put it away during the fall and winter as well.
Even if it does work, it’s not likely to kill the roots, so the dead weeds will come back sooner or later. You’ll get a brief respite at best.
The good news is the product doesn’t have much drift, meaning it won’t spread beyond the area in which it’s applied. Your lawn (and your pets) should be safe.
Natural Elements is a good spray for protecting your lawn, but we wouldn’t rely on it to keep weeds at bay.
Unless you’re a lawn care expert, you likely have no idea what to look for in a weed killer that won’t kill your pets too. Below, we’ve put together a guide to walk you through what to look for, so you can find a product that decimates weeds without affecting your furry friends.
What Ingredients Do I Need to Be Wary Of?
There are more potentially problematic ingredients in traditional herbicides than we could possibly list here, but the “big three” to worry about are glyphosate, Trimec, and sethoxydim.
Glyphosate is the primary ingredient in RoundUp, and according to a 2012 study, it increases the risk of canine cancer by 70%. It’s popular, though, because it kills just about anything it touches — including, apparently, your pets.
Trimec is a plant hormone that causes weeds to grow in strange and improper ways, ultimately resulting in their death. The manufacturer claims that it’s safe for use around pets, but many owners are understandably wary about using a product that interferes with hormone production around their animals.
Sethoxydim is classified as “slightly toxic.” Supposedly, it will only cause irritation of the eyes, skin, or throat if your pet comes in contact with it. Even if that’s the extent of the damage, it’s probably not something that you want your animals rolling around in.
How Do Pet-Friendly Weed Killers Work?
Most use vinegar as their primary ingredient instead of a toxic chemical. Vinegar draws moisture out of the weeds, causing them to shrivel up and die.
Many natural weed killers also use dish soap, which is a surfactant; this means that the spray will stay on the leaves instead of being absorbed by the plant, causing the formula to work extremely quickly.
Some products are designed to prevent weeds from growing in the first place, and these usually use corn gluten. Corn gluten prevents seeds from forming roots after germination, so they never get the chance to grow into an actual weed.
Are There Any Downsides to Pet-Friendly Weed Killers?
Yes. The simple fact is that they’re not as effective as harsh herbicides like RoundUp, but that’s a sacrifice that many pet owners are willing to make if it keeps their animals safe.
Many vinegar-based solutions can increase the salt content in the soil over time, which could cause brown spots in the lawn. They’re also bad at killing root systems, so weeds often come back before too long.
Most natural weed killers are nonselective as well. This means they’ll kill any plant that they come in contact with, including your grass or vegetables. As a result, you have to be careful when applying them.
Also, many solutions will stain surfaces, including metal or concrete.
Our favorite pet-friendly weed killer is Doctor Kirchner Natural, as it’s extremely effective and equally safe. Best of all, most pets will leave it alone, so you don’t have to worry about them getting sick while your weeds die.
For a budget-friendly option, consider Green Gobbler. It’s fairly inexpensive yet works quickly, so you’ll have tons of dead weeds and a healthy bank account on your hands.
Finding an effective pet-friendly weed killer isn’t easy, and we hope that our reviews have made it easier for you to make an informed choice. All the products shown above are capable of killing weeds without harming your pet — and they all beat standing outside in the hot sun with a hoe in your hands.
Image Credit: Igor Normann, Shutterstock
An avid animal lover, Roland started this blog to help all varieties of pets and their owners on their journey to living their best lives.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Pet-Friendly Weed Killers — Reviews 2020
- 1. Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed & Grass Killer — Best Overall
- 2. Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer– Best Value
- 3. BioSafe Systems 7601-1 Weed and Grass Killer– Premium Choice
- 4. Natural Armor Weed and Grass Killer
- 5. ECO Garden PRO Organic Vinegar Weed Killer
- 6. Espoma CGP25 Organic Weed Preventer
- 7. OrganicMatters Natural Weed Killer
- 8. Preen 24-63782 Vegetable Garden Weed Preventer
- 9. Just for Pets Pet Friendly & Pet Safe Weed Killer
- 10. Natural Elements Weed Killer
- Buyer’s Guide