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11 Best Vet Recommended Dog Safe Weed Killers of 2022

Who says homeowners have to sacrifice their landscaping to keep their dogs safe? While it’s true that many commercial products contain toxic or cancer-causing chemicals, there are organic and natural alternatives.

I used my experience as a retired veterinarian to research pet-safe weed control products to help you find the best dog safe weed killer.

After evaluating more than 30 dog safe weed killers, I chose the “Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed & Grass Killer” as my favorite because this weed killer uses all-natural ingredients that are non-toxic and not carcinogenic. The organic blend is gentle on the paws but hard on growing weeds. It takes effect in a day or less to kill the targeted plants. 

But I understand you might have different needs, whether you’re looking for a weed killer vinegar-based or a dog safe weed preventer. That is why I prepared a shortlist of our top favorite dog safe weed killers that address different needs. 

Before we dive into the review below, I’ll share with you which chemicals and products to avoid, how weed control products work, and what criteria you should use to make the best selection for your needs

In addition, I’ll answer some common questions from dog parents

So let’s get started.

What Dog Parents Need to Know About Weed Killers Before Buying

brown dog is stepping on garden full of weeds

Keeping a lawn green and well-manicured can be a real battle during the spring and summer months. So, many homeowners turn to the lawn and garden center of the local hardware store or a big box store. 

The challenge for pet owners is greater because they need to find something that’s effective and safe for their furbabies. Let’s talk about commercial products, how weed killers work, and what you should look for when shopping for a dog-safe formula.

Are Commercial Weed Killers Safe for Dogs? 

Many commercial weed killers contain chemicals that can be harmful to both kids and pets. For example, the substance glyphosate found in some over-the-counter pesticides such as Roundup can produce respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms in dogs. Another common herbicide,  2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), is linked to malignant lymphoma in dogs.

The best bet when shopping for dog-friendly weed killers is to find organic products with natural ingredients. We’ll go over some rules of thumb to help you find pet-safe weed killers below. In general, you want to look for products that state on the label that they are approved to be safe for dogs by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) or by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

How Do Traditional Weed Killers Work?

There are several different types of weed killers on the market. Their method of action depends on the active ingredients. Some block protein production and photosynthesis while others inhibit the roots. Products fall in the classes of pre-emergent (inhibiting germination) and post-emergent (preventing growth).

Some of the most common chemicals in weed killers are:

  • Glyphosate – This ingredient is found in Roundup and other weed killers. It’s a broad-spectrum agent that will kill all types of plants. Working on growing plants, the chemical is absorbed through the leaves and interferes with normal plant functions to kill it.
  • 2,4-D – Found in Trimec, this chemical attacks broad-leaf plants but leaves grass alone. It’s used in lawn treatments and causes the weeds(and other dicots) to grow too fast. Eventually, the overgrowth leads to the death of the plant.
  • Sethoxydim – Working on the opposite plants from 2,4-D, Sethoxydim targets growing grasses and other monocots. The chemical inhibits the growth process at the cellular level.

5 Rules of Thumb When Shopping for a Dog-Safe Weed Killer

dog staring at plants

When you’re shopping for a dog-safe weed killer, you want to know it’s safe for your pooch and effective as a herbicide. But being pet-safe means more than being non-toxic. For your pup’s sake, choose products that won’t cause him discomfort if he contacts the chemical. Let’s look at some guidelines to help your decision-making process.

Certifications

Check the label and product information for pet-safe certifications. Agencies such as the EPA, OMRI, a veterinary organization, or a pet-friendly organization may approve certain products as safe for pets.

Ingredients and Formulation

To avoid causing your pooch physical harm or discomfort, you must read the label. Be fully aware of all the ingredients in the formula and watch for potentially carcinogenic or toxic substances. Some chemicals to avoid include:

  • Ammonium Sulfamate
  • Borax
  • Disulfoton
  • Glyphosate
  • Metaldehyde
  • Sodium Arsenite

Weed Prevention vs. Weed Killer

This goes to whether the product is a pre-emergent or post-emergent treatment. A weed prevention treatment such as Preen is designed to go into the soil and inhibit germination. Weed killers act on the plant once it starts growing. There’s a higher potential for your furbaby to contact this type of chemical.

Effectiveness

Naturally, if you’re buying a weed killer, you want it to work. While glyphosate is highly effective, it poses some risks to your pup. If you choose a product with this chemical, you want something that will kill the plants in a matter of hours. 

Some weed killers require multiple applications over some time to kill the weeds. Usually, these are highly effective and prevent regrowth. For this type of product, you want something that will dry quickly and be water repellent. A quick-drying chemical poses less risk of irritating or poisoning your pup.

Made in the USA

One way to help ensure the safety of the product is to check that it’s made in the USA or another country that has strict standards for environmental and consumer safety.

Our 2022 Top Best 11 Dog Safe Weed Killers 

After reviewing more than 30 dog safe weed killers using the criteria mentioned above, we chose 11 that we think are the best for you and your dog: 

Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed Killer No Hormone Disrupting Chemicals

  • Active Ingredients: 4% NaCl, commercial-grade vinegar, soap
  • Pet-Friendly: Yes
  • Certifications: EPA registered
  • Made in the USA: Yes
  • Best for: Our Top Overall Pick / Best and Safest Weed Killer

Registered with the EPA, this product is safe for your kids, furbabies, and the environment. It contains a mixture of ocean saltwater, commercial-strength vinegar, and soap to effectively kill growing foliage.

The solution comes ready to use, and it contains no glyphosate or hormone-disrupting compounds. Simply spray it directly on unwanted plants to wet the leaves. You can expect to see results in 18-24 hours. 

This all-natural weed killer is made in the USA. It’s biodegradable and comes in an ECO-pour container that minimizes the use of plastics. There are multiple sizes available.

What We Like

  • It contains natural ingredients and no glyphosate
  • It’s safe and easy to use
  • It’s made in the USA and registered with the EPA
  • It’s effective to kill weeds within about 18 hours

What Dogs Love About It

  • It doesn’t have a strong odor
  • It has no harsh or harmful chemicals

What We Don’t Like

  • It kills grass too
  • It’s not concentrated and pricy for the amount of product

30% Vinegar Pure Natural & Safe Industrial Strength Concentrate

  • Active Ingredients: 30% vinegar
  • Pet-Friendly: Yes
  • Certifications: None
  • Made in the USA: Yes
  • Best for: affordable price

Containing 30% vinegar, this home and garden product from Natural Armor works as a household cleaner, a deodorizer, and a weed killer. The formula is safe for pets and the environment when used according to the directions.

With six times the concentration of store-bought vinegar, this product is powerful and effective. Spray it directly on your target weeds to kill them in a matter of hours.

There are no carcinogenic or toxic chemicals in the formula. Made in the USA, it comes with a money-back guarantee.

What We Like

  • It’s natural and organic
  • It’s easy to use
  • It’s made in the USA
  • It starts working quickly

What Dogs Love About It

  • There are no harsh chemicals
  • It’s safe for dogs

What We Don’t Like

  • There’s no certification for pet-safety
  • The sprayer can be leaky

Green Gobbler 20% Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer

  • Active Ingredients: 20% vinegar
  • Pet-Friendly: Yes
  • Certifications: OMRI listed for organic use
  • Made in the USA: Yes
  • Best for: dog safe weed killer vinegar based

Made with natural ingredients, Green Gobbler has no toxic or cancer-causing chemicals. It contains 20% vinegar and water to effectively kill weeds in less than 24 hours. 

This product is a broad-spectrum formula and will work on crabgrass, clover weed, dandelions, moss, and other common weeds. It’s OMRI certified for organic use as directed. 

Use this weed killer anywhere you have weeds by spraying the solution directly on the leaves. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.

What We Like

  • It’s OMRI certified
  • It’s made in the USA
  • It’s easy to use
  • It effectively kills weeds

What Dogs Love About It

  • There are no toxic chemicals
  • It won’t cause cancer

What We Don’t Like

  • It will also kill grass and other desired plants
  • The fumes can burn the eyes

Espoma Weed Preventer Plus Lawn Food

  • Active Ingredients: corn gluten meal
  • Pet-Friendly: Yes
  • Certifications: No
  • Made in the USA: Yes
  • Best for: dog safe weed preventer

Doubling as weed prevention and lawn food, this product from Espoma is all-natural. It features a corn gluten meal which offers a natural way to stop seeds from germinating. Spread the product on your lawn to feed the grass and keep weeds away.

As an organic product, this formula is safe for pets and children. You can let Fido back in the yard immediately after application. There are no harsh chemicals or carcinogens in the mixture. It effectively prevents crabgrass, dandelions, and other common weeds from sprouting.

Espoma is made in the United States. One 25 pound bag is sufficient to treat 1250 square feet. Apply twice a year on established lawns for best results.

What We Like

  • It’s natural and non-toxic
  • It also fertilizes the lawn
  • It’s easy to apply
  • It’s affordable

What Dogs Love About It

  • It’s safe to let dogs out immediately after applying
  • It won’t burn or cause cancer

What We Don’t Like

  • It may attract flies
  • It can have a bad odor

Natural Armor Weed and Grass Killer All-Natural Concentrated Formula

  • Active Ingredients: vinegar, sodium, citrus, essential oils
  • Pet-Friendly: Yes
  • Certifications: None
  • Made in the USA: Yes

Easy to use and all-natural, this weed and grass killer has no glyphosate or other toxic chemicals. The solution is ready to use, so you can just point and spray the weed. No mixing is needed.

With fast-acting ingredients, the product will start killing weeds in a few hours. It’s a broad-spectrum weed killer that should be effective on a wide range of vegetation.  Use it where you don’t want any plants.

Natural Armor is a US-based company. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.


What We Like

  • There’s no glyphosate
  • It’s ready to use
  • It works fast
  • It’s biodegradable

What Dogs Love About It

  • It’s non-toxic and pet safe
  • It’s safe to use around kennels

What We Don’t Like

  • It’s not certified as pet safe
  • The sprayer doesn’t work very well

ECO Garden PRO – Organic Vinegar Weed Killer

  • Active Ingredients: 8 % vinegar, 5% salt
  • Pet-Friendly: Yes
  • Certifications: None
  • Made in the USA: Yes

With active ingredients that are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA, you can use this weed killer with minimal risk to your pooch and the environment. It’s an organic formula that’s designed to kill unwanted plants and weeds quickly. Expect results within 24 hours.

A blend of 8% vinegar and 5% sodium chloride works to kill growing foliage of all kinds. Use this where you don’t want plants to eliminate clover, dandelions, moss, poison ivy, and more. 

Made in the USA, ECO garden is safe for the groundwater.  It’s biodegradable and contains no phosphates. 

What We Like

  • All ingredients are GRAS by FDA
  • It won’t irritate the skin or eyes
  • It’s easy to use
  • It starts working fast

What Dogs Love About It

  • It’s non-toxic and has no carcinogens
  • It’s safe to use in kennel areas

What We Don’t Like

  • It will also kill grass
  • Weeds tend to come back

Bonide Products 7492 Not Available Weed Killer

  • Active Ingredients: citric acid 24%, clove oil 8%
  • Pet-Friendly: Yes
  • Certifications: No
  • Made in the USA: Yes

Designed for non-selective plant control, BurnOut from Bonide uses natural ingredients to kill weeds. Available in a ready-to-use solution you can spray it directly out of the bottle.

The formula uses highly concentrated citric acid and clove oil to attack growing plants. It’s a broad-spectrum herbicide, so you’ll need to spray it directly on your targeted foliage.

The product starts working within hours. You can use this on sidewalks, along fence and house lines, at the base of trees, or other locations to eliminate unwanted plants. It’s made in the USA with all-natural ingredients.

What We Like

  • It’s all-natural
  • It comes ready to use
  • It has lasting weed-killing effects
  • It’s environmentally safe

What Dogs Love About It

  • It’s safe to use around play areas and kennels
  • There are no toxic or carcinogenic chemicals in the formula

What We Don’t Like

  • The solution can clog conventional sprayers
  • It’s a non-discriminate plant killer

Energen Carolina LLC 578

  • Active Ingredients: 20% vinegar
  • Pet-Friendly: Yes
  • Certifications: EPA approved for organic use
  • Made in the USA: Yes

Using 20% vinegar, Energen Carolina weed killer is safe for the environment and your pooch. This fast-acting, broad-spectrum herbicide will kill foliage including grasses, broadleaf plants, and liverwort. 

You can use this product to kill crabgrass, dandelions, clover, and more. It’s intended for use where you don’t want plant growth such as sidewalks, pavers, mulch beds, kennels, and fence lines. 

This weed killer is made in the USA. It’s safe for use in commercial, industrial, and residential settings.

What We Like

  • It’s glyphosate free
  • It’s organic and safe for the environment
  • It works on a wide variety of weeds
  • It’s affordable

What Dogs Love About It

  • It’s pet-friendly
  • It comes ready to use

What We Don’t Like

  • It can burn or irritate the skin
  • There are unidentified ingredients in it

Just For Pets Weed Killer Spray 

  • Active Ingredients: Vinegar, Citric Acid, NaCl, Clove Oil, Lemon Juice
  • Pet-Friendly: Yes
  • Certifications: No
  • Made in the USA: Yes

Containing no glyphosates or other toxic chemicals, this product from Just For Pets is safe to use if you have dogs. The formula features a blend of acetic and citric acids along with salt, clove oil, and lemon juice.

The solution comes ready to use and is designed to kill unwanted foliage quickly. It’s a broad-spectrum herbicide, so it’s best applied in areas where you don’t want any plant growth. This product also dries quickly so it’s less likely to rub off on your pooch.

The US-based company has a community mindset. A portion of every sale is donated to animal shelters. There’s a money-back guarantee from the manufacturer.

What We Like

  • It contains all-natural ingredients
  • It won’t irritate the skin or eyes
  • It’s easy to use
  • It dries fast and works fast

What Dogs Love About It

  • It has a pleasing aroma
  • It’s safe for use around kennels and in puppy play areas

What We Don’t Like

  • It’s indiscriminate and will kill grass if you get the product on it
  • The spray nozzle is hard to operate

Harris Vinegar Weed and Weed Grass Killer, for Organic Production

  • Active Ingredients: Vinegar, Citric Acid, NaCl, Clove Oil, Lemon Juice
  • Pet-Friendly: Yes
  • Certifications: EPA registered
  • Made in the USA: Yes

Featuring industrial strength vinegar that’s 4 times more concentrated than store-bought products, this weed killer has no glyphosates or harmful chemicals. The natural ingredients are pet and eco-friendly.

The product is ready for use out of the bottle. It’s effective on a wide variety of grasses and broadleaf plants. You can expect to see results in a few hours of application.

As an EPA registered product, this formula works well in kennels, around fence lines, in gardens, and on walkways. It’s made in the USA. A trigger sprayer is included with the bottle.

What We Like

  • It’s registered with the EPA
  • It kills weeds in about a day
  • It has natural ingredients
  • It comes ready to use and has its own pump

What Dogs Love About It

  • It won’t burn the paws
  • It’s not toxic or carcinogenic

What We Don’t Like

  • The sprayer doesn’t work well, and some bottles are leaky
  • Weeds tend to come back after several weeks

Preen Vegetable Garden Weed Preventer

  • Active Ingredients: corn gluten meal
  • Pet-Friendly: Yes
  • Certifications: No
  • Made in the USA: Yes

Pet-friendly and organic, Preen uses corn gluten meal to prevent weed growth. This product has no glyphosates or other harmful chemicals. It works by inhibiting seed germination.

Apply this product directly to the soil after removing any unwanted foliage. You can safely sprinkle this around new plants that have true leaves and stand at least 2-3 inches tall. It should be effective for 4-6 weeks.

Made in the USA, this product is designed to be safe for the environment. It’s a broad-spectrum formula that can inhibit the growth of grasses and broad-leaf plants.

What We Like

  • It’s organic and natural
  • It won’t hurt the groundwater
  • It keeps weeds away
  • It’s safe, no gloves or protective equipment needed

What Dogs Love About It

  • It’s safe to sprinkle in play areas and kennels
  • Dogs can be on the grass immediately after application 

What We Don’t Like

  • It only works for about a month before weeds come back
  • It won’t work on weeds that spread by rhizomes

Common Questions from Dog Parents

Vizsla dog smelling garden weeds in the garden

Is Glyphosate (Roundup) safe for dogs?  

Glyphosate can be irritating if inhaled or swallowed. Dogs can have diarrhea, vomiting, drooling, difficulty breathing, or convulsions if they contact this chemical.

Is 2,4-D (Trimec) safe for dogs?  

Products containing 2,4-D are not safe for dogs because this substance may be linked to malignant lymphoma in canines.

Is Sethoxydim safe for dogs?  

Sethoxydim is classified as mildly toxic to pets. It won’t cause serious illness but can be irritating to the eyes, throat, and skin. 

Is broadleaf weed killer safe for pets?

Some broadleaf weed killers may be safe for pets. Look for organic or natural products that do not contain toxic or carcinogenic chemicals.

Is Ortho Weed Killer safe for pets?

Ortho weed killer contains 2,4-D and can be dangerous for pets if they contact it.

How long after spraying weed killer is it safe for pets?

Most weed killers will break down, dry, or be absorbed by the plants after a day.

Can dogs go on grass after weed killer?

The best practice is to keep your dog off the grass for 24 hours after applying weed killer.

What if my dog licks roundup/ Glyphosate?

If your dog licks plants that were recently treated with glyphosate, watch for signs like vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, or drooling. Call your veterinarian immediately if you note anything abnormal. 

How long does it take for a dog to recover from poisoning?

The length of recovery will vary depending on the type and amount of poison a dog ingests or contacts. 

What to give a dog if it is poisoned?

The best first step is to contact your veterinarian. If you know what your dog ate, have the container or a list of ingredients handy. Once your doctor knows what chemicals are involved, he should be able to instruct you about what you should do.

How does a dog act when poisoned?

Common signs of weed killer poisoning include:

  • burns or sores around the paws, mouth, or nose
  • Itchy skin and rashes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Restlessness or anxious behavior
  • Seizures or convulsions

Veterinary Pet-Friendly Weed Killer Ideas to Keep Your Pet Safe

Some practices can help protect your pooch from potentially harmful chemicals when you’re applying a weed killer. There are also alternative ways to minimize or eliminate plant pests without using potentially harmful commercial products. 

When Applying Commercial Products

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. By following the directions, you’ll reduce the risk to your pooch. 
  • Keep Fido inside when applying weed killer. Any time you’re spraying chemicals, keep your pup out of the area. That way you won’t accidentally spray your pup, and they won’t be tempted to lick up the interesting liquid.
  • Pick a still day. Spraying weed killers in the wind can be disastrous to your plants and your pets. You have less control over the stream and could get some in your dog’s water dish, dog house, or common play areas.
  • Keep your dog out of treated areas for 24 hours. Most products will dry, be absorbed by the plant, or break down after a day or so. To protect your pup, keep them away from sprayed areas. You can either use a tie-out/leash or take your pup for a walk when he needs to go potty.

Dog-Friendly Alternatives

  • Weed by hand. Don your gardening gloves and pull the weeds yourself. It gets you out in the yard with your furbaby.
  • Smother the weeds. Use dog-safe mulch, compost, or another landscaping cover to bury the weeds and keep them from popping up. Landscape fabric covered with stone or gravel is also effective.
  • Scald the plants. Pouring boiling water on unwanted plants is another way to kill weeds. This approach works best on isolated weeds because it will also kill grass and other plants.
  • Apply concentrated vinegar to the leaves. Like me, you may have tried to make a weed-killing mixture with store-bought white vinegar and found it was less effective than expected. Here’s why: the concentration of the solutions you buy in the store is too low(about 5%). To be effective, you need a 10-30% concentration of vinegar, and that will cost about the same as a pet-safe commercial product that contains vinegar. Like boiling water, vinegar is indiscriminate and will kill all plants, so use it when you can easily target your weeds.
  • Sprinkle cornmeal on the soil before weeds appear. This inexpensive staple contains a chemical that interferes with seed germination but will not affect mature plants. Sprinkle it in areas where you want to prevent weeds. 
  • Salt or sugar solutions can be applied to the base of the weeds. However, these can both have unwanted effects such as damaging the nutrient balance in the soil or attracting pests. There are better options above.

The Final Woof

girl is working in the garden with her dog and using dog safe weed killer

After reviewing the above products and comparing them against our rules of thumb, we recommend Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed & Grass Killer as the best dog-safe weed killer.

This product uses all-natural ingredients that are non-toxic and not carcinogenic. The organic blend is gentle on the paws but hard on growing weeds. It takes effect in a day or less to kill the targeted plants. 

With an EPA registration for use as an organic product, this solution is safe to apply in your yard. 

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