The garden can be one of the most dangerous places for our dogs to visit. Trying to find the balance between a dog-friendly and an aesthetically pleasing garden can be difficult. The garden harbors toxic substances to dogs without us adding chemicals, pesticides, and cleaners, so when looking for dog-safe weed killers, it can be a tricky business.
Often more natural and dog-friendly weed killers can simply not be as effective as those packed with harmful chemicals – the job of a weed-killer is to kill, and so they’re often not the friendliest products around.
Dog owners have to be especially careful when looking into cleaning products for the home. We’re gradually starting to avoid commercial products and opt for homemade, natural solutions to home cleaning and dog care and grooming, where possible.
Although it is possible to make a homemade weed-killing solution, I’ve taken the time to find those on the market that are safe for dogs and convenient for owners.
5 Dog Safe Weed Killers 2022 at a Glance
- Gallop Home and Garden Weed Killer – Our Top #1 Pick!
- Espoma Weed Preventer
- Bonide Weed Killer
- Avenger Organics Weed Killer
- Preen Organic Weed Preventer
Other Ways to Get Rid of Weeds
As well as using weed-killer, there are other environmentally friendly ways to eradicate weeds from a garden. Organic control methods don’t have the adverse health effects of chemical pesticides, but they can take much more persistence and are often not going to have permanent results.
Here are some tips I have come across during my research that provide temporary results:
Digging by hand
You can remove weeds manually with a hoe, shovel, or other garden tools to pull the weeds up from the ground. Doing this consistently is your best bet to gain a longer-term solution, as often the weeds will grow back and need to be dug up again.
Fill in the Borders
As a dog owner, it is unlikely that you’ll have flower beds all over the garden, and more reasonable to presume the flowered areas will be limited to borders. If this is the case, then you can help to reduce the weed population by planting up these areas. Weeds can’t take hold if there isn’t space for them. Just make sure that the flowers or plants you choose are safe for dogs.
Cover the Ground
Covering the top of the weed-infected area with a heavy plastic sheet should eventually kill the weeds underneath. This is called solarizing, and effectively it bakes the weeds, thanks to the sun omitting heat that will collect under the sheet. It is recommended to leave the plastic sheeting in place for 4-6 weeks or until the weeds are clearly brown and desiccated.
Home Made Solutions
There are two homemade weed killer solutions that I have found to receive the most positive feedback. The first is a mixture of 1 ounce of vodka, a couple of drops of dish soap, and two cups of water. The second is a mixture of 1 gallon of white vinegar, one cup of salt, and one tablespoon of liquid dish soap.
By spraying the homemade solutions directly onto the weeds, they should effectively dry up and die. These ingredients aren’t harmful to dogs if ingested, but it would be best to keep the dog away from the area until the weeds are removed.
A kettle full of boiling water poured over undesirable weeds between paving cracks, or larger areas should burn the weeds and cause no damage to the remaining lawn.
The Use of Fire
Called flame weeding, this is a process of passing a flame briefly over a weed to heat the plant tissues fatally. This, however, will only kill the visible weed above the ground and not the roots. Flame weeding should be done with caution and never during dry spells, or the results could be pretty disastrous.
Top 5 Dog Safe Weed Killers 2022[sc name=”dog-safe-weed-killer”]
1. Gallop Home and Garden Weed Killer – Editors Choice
The Gallop Home and Garden Weed Killer is in concentrated form, with the same volume of glyphosate found in professional weed killers, and so is a highly effective product. Glyphosate is harmful to dogs but only in its wet form – once dried, it is perfectly safe for dogs to be around as it leaves no odor or residue.
I would suggest keeping the dog away from the area in a playpen or indoors until the product is dry to the touch. As this leaves nothing behind, it can be challenging to know where it has been treated, so an idea would be to map out or even photograph the areas sprayed, so be sure that you know where to check before allowing the dog access.
Gallop Weed Killer is strong enough to kill deep-rooted weeds in a single application; however, it is non-selective and will also kill any other vegetation it comes into contact with. It is a good product for yards with no other flowers or plants that are experiencing weed growth in between paving slabs or at the sides of concrete edgings.
This weed killer comes with safety gloves and a 60ml measuring cup and is compatible with regular sprayers.
A weed preventer is different from a weed killer but effectively keeps a garden weed-free by preventing new weeds from sprouting. Essentially, products like Espona Weed Preventer target weed seeds instead of existing weeds. Weed preventers form a protective barrier to keep weeds from germinating and growing.
Finding a dog-friendly weed preventer is no easy task, but Espona has created an all-natural product made from pure corn gluten meal and so entirely safe for dogs and other pets – as well as children. Pets and children can play on the lawn immediately after Espoma Weed Preventer has been applied, which I find to be a great advantage.
This product is for use on established lawns only, and an excellent benefit for those less-green-fingered dog owners is that it only needs to be applied twice a year for full effectiveness. The corn gluten meal also acts as a fertilizer that will help the existing lawn’s health and save you from having to buy additional products.
If you’re a dog owner who likes to have a garden full of flowers, plants, and shrubbery, then the Espona Weed Preventer is a good product to choose as it won’t disturb the living greenery that’s already in existence.
3. Bonide Weed Killer
Bonide Weed Killer is an all-natural product and a good choice for dog owners who are particularly sensitive to the smell of vinegar, as the clove oil masks this somewhat and provides a more pleasant smell over other weed killers. This is a waterproof, effective and safe product to use around dogs, but they should be kept away from the treated areas until they’re fully dry.
The Burnout Bonide Weed Killer is a non-selective weed control product, meaning that it will destroy any other vegetation it comes into contact with, including lawns. It is very fast-acting, too, with results evident in just a couple of hours, and the fact that it is waterproof is an added bonus over other products that could be washed away before their job is done.
Professional landscape gardeners, with a conscience about their carbon footprint, are happy to use this product and claim that it is effective for professional gardening with quick results. The all-natural ingredients mean it doesn’t harm the planet and is safe to use around dogs, other pets, and children.
4. Avenger Organics Weed Killer
With results showing in just 2 hours, the Avenger Organics Weed Killer is incredibly fast-acting. There are just so many things about this product I like. It is entirely non-toxic, so as well as being safe for our own dogs, it also won’t cause any issues for wildlife, and it is highly biodegradable too. The Avenger Organics Weed Killer dissipates quickly – it does everything fast!
This is an organic herbicide made from citrus fruits, including oranges and lemons – and their odor should make a dog want to avoid the area anyway. However, the aroma is pleasant for us, which is an added benefit to this product over the harsher, more vinegary-induced competitors.
Citrus oil is the active ingredient in this product, and it works quickly by causing the weed to dehydrate by stripping the waxy plant cuticle, which will cause the weed to die. Another great feature of the Avenger Organics Weed Killer is that it won’t stain any hard ground, like brick, pavement, or concrete. I haven’t actually found any drawbacks to this product.
5. Preen Organic Weed Preventer
Another organic product to consider is the Preen Organic Weed Preventer. Again, this is not a weed killer for existing weeds but a dog-friendly preventer for the new growth of weeds. The main ingredient is corn gluten meal. Unlike many other corn gluten meal products, the corn gluten meal used in this weed preventer is 60% protein – other similar products feature around 20% protein. The higher the protein content, the more effective the product I have learned.
If you are an owner with a vegetable patch or garden, then the Preen Organic Weed Preventer is almost a 2-in-1 product, acting as a weed preventer as well as a fertilizer for the desired vegetation in place.
Many dogs love vegetables as treats, so if you’re considering a small vegetable garden, I would recommend purchasing this weed preventer to help the area bloom. Preen Organic Weed Preventer is a 5lb product that covers 250 square feet and is recommended to be used every 4-6 weeks for the best chance to eliminate weeds before they start to grow.
It is easy to apply the Preen Weed Preventer as it comes in a jug-handled bottle for easy grip and comfort when holding and has a flip-top shake applicator for simple application. You can also buy the product in bag form to pour into the original bottle and re-use to save on plastic waste. One of the greatest things about this product is that dogs can roam in the garden immediately after application.
How to Best Protect Dogs When Using Weed Killer
Dogs can be exposed to weed killers if they’re in the garden at the same time the product is applied. However careful you may be to keep the dog away from the affected areas, a simple breeze can blow a treated piece of vegetation his way before you know it.
It would be best to keep dogs indoors until the treated areas are completely dry – to the touch. This may mean hours, hours, or even a day or more. Of course, if you’re dealing with the garden on a hot summer’s day, without the hint of any breeze, then a restricted area for the dog to be in would be sufficient.
An important factor for fellow dog-owners is storing weed killers and other products that may contain chemicals within the home. Some dogs can mistake these products for toys and ingest the substances while playing with the item. These items should be stored in high-up, unreachable areas to prevent any potentially fatal mistakes.
Dog Safe Weed Killer Reviews – My Verdict
Every product I have featured in this guide is effective and dog-safe.
If you’re looking for preventative measures, then the Espoma Weed Preventer is a good choice as an all-natural product that allows dogs instant access to the treated areas. For a preventer that will also contribute to the growth of desired plants or vegetables, the Preen Organic Weed Preventer is highly rated and offers great value for money as a 2-in-1 product.
Bonide Weed Killer is made from all-natural ingredients and comes with a reusable container. I love how easy this is to use, with the comfortable-grip handle and flip-up lid. Professional gardeners are proud to use Avenger Organics Weed Killer, and a great feature of this product is that it doesn’t stain any hard ground. Avenger Weed Killer also leaves a pleasant (to us, not to dogs) citrus fruit aroma.
My personal choice is the Gallop Home and Garden Weed Killer. This has the same amount of glyphosate found in professional standard weed killers, meaning it is incredibly effective. My only concern with this is that the treated areas must be 100% dry before allowing a dog near, which could be troublesome for dogs who live outside if you can’t contain them elsewhere.