Best Pet-Safe Weed Killers That Actually Work to Banish Weeds and Grass

Protect fur friends with a pet-safe weed killer while banishing unsightly weeds and grasses.

Best Overall

The Green Gobbler 20% Vinegar Weed and Grass Killer in a jug with a spray trigger next to it.

Green Gobbler 20% Vinegar Weed and Grass Killer

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Runner-up

A green spray bottle of Natria Grass and Weed Control With Root Kill on a white background with a magnified section listing the product's benefits.

Natria Grass and Weed Control With Root Kill

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Best Bang For The Buck

A jug of the Natural Armor All-Natural Weed and Grass Killer with a spray trigger next to it on a white background.

Natural Armor All-Natural Weed and Grass Killer

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Ugly weeds and grasses can muscle into yards and gardens, but for those who have pets, it’s risky to use weed killers made with harsh chemicals. Pets can pick up toxins through their paws and skin, or eat plants that absorb them. It’s possible to choose a pet-safe weed killer instead to protect furry family members while eliminating the invaders.

The best pet-safe weed killers are usually made with natural or organic sustainable ingredients such as vinegar or concentrated salts. These herbicides destroy plants by desiccation (drying the leaves) or disrupting their growth. They’re less likely to pollute waterways, disturb natural habitats, degrade the soil, or otherwise harm the environment. Pet-safe, eco-friendly weed killers are also less likely to affect human and wildlife health negatively.

However, “Labeling something as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ does not tell you anything about the toxicity of that particular substance and you shouldn’t assume that it is safe. In fact, the most toxic substance known to man, the Botulinum toxin, is 100 percent all-natural and organic,” says Bob Mann, senior director of technical and regulatory affairs at the National Association of Landscape Professionals, located in Fairfax, Virginia. He names poison ivy and mushrooms as examples. “An excellent (and completely free) source of information on all types of pesticides is the National Pesticide Information Center, which is based at Oregon State University and funded by the EPA. They’ll even hop on the phone with you to answer any questions about various product applications.”

Finding the best pet-safe weed killers for this list required thorough research. Pet owners shopping for weed killers that also keep their fur friends safe are sure to find an option included that will work for their specific needs.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Green Gobbler 20% Vinegar Weed and Grass Killer
  2. RUNNER-UP: Natria Grass and Weed Control With Root Kill
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Natural Armor All-Natural Weed and Grass Killer
  4. BEST SMALL-BUSINESS BRAND: Eco Garden Pro Organic Vinegar Weed and Grass Killer
  5. BEST FOR SMALL AREAS: Sunday Weed Warrior Grass and Weed Killer
  6. HONORABLE MENTION: Natural Elements Weed Killer
  7. ALSO CONSIDER: Just for Pets Weed Killer
A person wearing gloves while holding the Natria Grass and Weed Control With Root Kill over a grassy area next to a sidewalk.
Photo: amazon.com

Before You Buy a Pet-Safe Weed Killer

Some people try homemade weed killers before shopping for one. Before making a purchase, however, it’s a good idea for shoppers to make sure the product doesn’t contain chemicals known to harm pets, people, and the environment.

Look for natural weed killers that target the weeds and grasses that need to be eliminated. Selective weed killers will destroy only specific weeds or grasses and not other plants around them and are a good choice for spot-killing.

Nonselective weed killers destroy any kind of plant or grass they come in contact with. They’re better for larger areas where they can be sprayed or where granules can be scattered freely, without worry that they’ll damage nearby edibles, flowers, turfgrasses, and other desirable plants.

How We Chose the Best Pet-Safe Weed Killers

We researched 12 different products, including their websites, reviews, and ratings, to find the best pet-safe weed killers. We avoided products containing synthetic or toxic chemicals and focused on sustainable, natural, or organic choices. We considered the effectiveness of pet-friendly weed killers, nontoxic weed killers, and homemade weed killers; how long they take to work; and how long people and pets have to stay away from the treated areas.

If a product doesn’t specify when people and pets can safely re-enter the treated area, a rule of thumb is to wait 48 to 72 hours, or until a spray product is completely dry or absorbed. (Some products take less time.) We found that results vary depending on the weather, if weeds are young or fully rooted, and whether they’re wet from rain or dew. Not all pet-safe weed killers are rainproof. The best time to apply weed killer is when weeds first appear; when rain isn’t expected; and on warm, sunny, dry days.

After extensive research, we identified seven leaders of the pack. Here are our picks for the best pet-safe weed killers, along with some pros and cons to consider.

Our Top Picks

Healthy lawns and bountiful gardens need a quality natural weed killer or organic weed killer so people and pets can enjoy them without risk. Read on to discover why these products are among the best pet-safe weed killers.

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Product Specs 

  • Application type: Spray
  • Available sizes: 32 ounces; 1 gallon with or without spray trigger; case of 2, 4, or 5-gallon refills
  • Active ingredients: Vinegar, corn derivative

Pros

  • Biodegradable, nonselective formula safe for humans, pets, and other animals
  • Available with or without spray trigger to suit preferences of most users
  • Acts within 24 hours to eliminate weeds more quickly than other options
  • OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) certified for users who prefer an organic option

Cons

  • May have a temporary odor that’s disagreeable to some users
  • Weeds with big, tough roots may need more than 1 treatment

Made from ethanol distilled from corn grown in the U.S. and 20 percent acetic acid, the vinegar in Green Gobbler is four times stronger than regular table vinegar and kills weeds within 24 hours by desiccation (drying them out).

Free of glyphosate and other potentially toxic chemicals, it’s a nontoxic weed killer that is also pet-friendly. Certified by OMRI, this

organic weed killer

works efficiently on the most common weeds and grasses. It can be used on crabgrass, dandelions, white clover, creeping Charlie, oxalis, musk thistle, crabgrass, and broadleaf plantain. It’s available as a ready-to-use spray bottle and in 1-gallon refill bottles. While it can be used around food crops and ornamentals, it’s nonselective, so any overspray will kill any plant it touches. Weeds with large, strong roots may need repeat applications.

Get Green Gobbler pet-safe weed killer at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.

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Product Specs 

  • Application type: Spray
  • Available sizes: 24 ounces, 32 ounces, 1 gallon, 1.3 gallons
  • Active ingredients: Ammoniated soap of fatty acids, maleic hydrazide (a plant growth regulator and herbicide)

Pros

  • Available as ready-to-use or concentrate to suit the preferences of buyers
  • Doesn’t stain concrete, bricks, or asphalt
  • Spray option makes precise spot treatment easy
  • Won’t contaminate soil, so seeds can be sowed 5 days after application

Cons

  • Repeat applications may be needed for best results
  • People and pets should stay away from treated areas until product has dried

This nonselective, pet-safe weed killer from Natria eliminates weeds and grasses, including wild blackberry plants, poison oak, white clover, large crabgrass, kudzu, poison ivy, dandelion, black medic, algae, moss, plantain, mustard species, and more.

Spray until the weeds are wet and they’ll start dying within 24 hours after treatment. It can be used around flower beds, sidewalks, patios, stepping stones, driveways, and other areas. If this nontoxic weed killer is applied when the weeds are small and actively growing, it will kill them to the roots.

It’s available in a 1.3-gallon container with an ergo-grip sprayer to reduce hand fatigue. It’s also sold in a 1-gallon container with an easy-to-use nested sprayer for small areas and hard-to-reach spots. Shoppers can also buy it as a concentrate to mix with water for large areas. It’s not intended to be used around edibles, and pets and people need to avoid treated areas until the product has dried. Natria won’t contaminate soil, and gardeners can sow seeds 5 days after use.

Get Natria pet-safe weed killer at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or Walmart(32 ounces).

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Product Specs 

  • Application type: Spray
  • Available sizes: 1 gallon with or without spray trigger, 2.5-gallon refill, or case of 4 gallon refills
  • Active ingredients: Sodium chloride, citric acid, clove oil, sodium lauryl sulfate, vinegar

Pros

  • Premixed and prediluted for the convenience of shoppers; mo measuring necessary
  • Biodegradable formula safe for groundwater and the environment
  • Doesn’t stain asphalt, bricks, or concrete
  • Starts to kill within 24 hours

Cons

  • May have a temporary vinegar odor that some users won’t care for
  • Some reviewers noted that the included sprayer didn’t work very well
  • Repeat applications may be needed on some weeds

Safe for pets, people, and the environment, Natural Armor weed and grass killer contains no glyphosate or other chemicals. Sprayed weeds and grasses start to die within 24 hours.

This nontoxic weed killer can be used around flower beds, mulched areas, walkways, fence lines, pavers, cracks in driveways and sidewalks, and other areas. It’s also safe to use around wells and water systems.

Two applications may be needed on large weeds or weeds with resistant roots. Natural Armor is ready to use and eliminates over 250 kinds of weeds and grasses. This nonselective, pet-safe weed killer contains organic ingredients and comes from a family-owned and operated business.

At approximately $0.19/ounce (without the sprayer), it’s just a little cheaper than the other weed killers on the list of top picks. Individual savings may vary depending on the size of the product purchased and whether repeat applications are needed.

Get Natural Armor pet-safe weed killer at Amazon or Natural Armor.

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Product Specs 

  • Application type: Spray
  • Available sizes: 1 gallon, case of 4 gallons
  • Active ingredients: Acetic acid (vinegar), sodium chloride

Pros

  • Ready-to-use formula is convenient for users who prefer to not have to mix and measure
  • Biodegradable; safe for groundwater and the environment
  • Works on weeds quickly, typically within 24 hours upon contact

Cons

  • Some users dislike the temporary odor
  • Some weeds may require more than a single application
  • Nonselective, so care must be taken to use it only on undesirable plants

Safe for pets and other animals, kids, fish, livestock, and bees, Eco Garden Pro Organic weed and grass killer works on contact within 24 hours. It can be used to eliminate poison ivy, clover, moss, chickweed, thistle, crabgrass, dandelions, dollar weed, and other weeds and grasses.

The ready-to-use formula in this organic weed killer is 100 percent phosphate-free; does not contain dicamba, glyphosate, or other toxic ingredients; and will not harm groundwater. The active ingredients in this eco-friendly weed killer include natural white vinegar, biodegradable plant activators, and organic rock salt. Stubborn weeds that don’t die completely, or that are prone to grow back, may need a repeat application. This vinegar weed killer is nonselective and kills grasses, ornamentals, and other plants on contact, so users will want to make sure to apply it only to unwanted plants.

Get Eco Garden Pro pet-safe weed killer at Amazon.

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Product Specs 

  • Application type: Spray
  • Available sizes: 32 ounces, 1 gallon with electric sprayer wand
  • Active ingredients: Ammoniated soap of fatty acids

Pros

  • Ready-to-use formula for the convenience of shoppers
  • Doesn’t stain concrete or bricks
  • Sprayer is great for spot treatments and hard-to-reach places
  • Kills some weeds and grasses within 20 minutes of application

Cons

  • Users may need to re-treat big weeds and grasses
  • Not meant to be used in vegetable gardens or on edibles
  • May take 24 hours or more to kill large unwanted plants and grasses

Sold in spray bottles or gallon-size refills, Sunday Weed Warrior is a glyphosate-free, ready-to-use weed and grass killer. It works fast and starts to dehydrate and kill many weeds and grasses within 20 minutes of application, including algae, bluegrass, stinkweed, thistle, lambsquarters, lichen, crabgrass, dandelions, and more. This nonselective, pet-safe weed killer also kills anything it touches, so it’s important that users not spray it on turfgrasses or other desirable plants. It can be used in cracks in sidewalks and driveways, and also around patios, gardens, flower beds, sidewalks, flower beds, and mulched areas.

The manufacturer says it’s safe for people and pets, but it’s a good idea to wait until the treated areas are completely dry before re-entering them. OMRI listed and approved for organic gardening, Sunday Weed Warrior contains a strong soap made from fatty acids that removes the waxy coating that protects most leafy, green vegetation.

For best results, users can apply it to target small, early-growth weeds less than 5 inches in size and repeat if needed. Larger weeds and grasses may take 24 hours or more to die. This nontoxic weed killer is effective for about 21 days, but it should not be used in vegetable gardens.

Get Sunday pet-safe weed killer at Amazon (2-pack), Lowe’s (1 gallon), or Walmart (32 ounces).

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Product Specs 

  • Application type: Spray
  • Available sizes: 32 ounces with spray trigger, 1 gallon, 2-pack of 1 gallon, 2.5 gallons, case of 4 gallons
  • Active ingredients: Commercial grade vinegar and saltwater

Pros

  • Ready-to-use formula, which some shoppers prefer
  • No waiting required before pets and people can enter the treated area
  • Effective on broadleaf weeds and grasses
  • Biodegradable and environmentally friendly
  • Wet, sprayed weeds start dying within 24 hours

Cons

  • Large or tough weeds may require repeat application or manual removal
  • Some users dislike the temporary odor
  • Weeds may take up to 5 days to die when sprayed at cooler outdoor temperatures

Made from commercial-grade vinegar and saltwater, Natural Elements weed killer is environmentally friendly, contains no glyphosate, and banishes broadleaf weeds and grasses. This nontoxic, organic weed killer is safe to use around pets and children right after it’s applied.

Users only need to spray it on weeds until the leaves are wet and they will start dying within 24 hours. If the outdoor temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer, it may take less time to see results. At lower temperatures, weeds may take up to 5 days to die.

Natural Elements is nonselective, prediluted, and premixed. It’s especially effective on crabgrass, chickweed, dandelions, and thistles. To avoid harming grass, it’s important for users to apply it carefully to weeds embedded in lawns. This product is made in the U.S.A.

Get Natural Elements Weed Killer at Amazon or Natural Elements.

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Product Specs 

  • Application type: Spray
  • Available sizes: 1 gallon with sprayer, 1 gallon, 2.5 gallons
  • Active ingredients: Sodium chloride, citric acid, clove oil, lemon juice, vinegar

Pros

  • Ready-to-use formula for shoppers who prefer not to have to mix ingredients
  • Effective on broadleaf weeds and grassy weeds such as crabgrass
  • Purchasing this product benefits animal shelters nationwide
  • Kills weeds quickly within 24 hours after application

Cons

  • Some users have mentioned that they dislike the odor
  • There have been some reports of problems with the sprayer
  • Nonselective, so this product should not be used near desirable plants and grasses

Safe for pets and people, this eco-friendly weed killer, made by Natural Armor, contains no glyphosate and kills many weeds within 24 hours of application. It’s an organic weed killer that won’t harm bees; dries quickly; and can be used around shrubs and trees, flower beds, barns, edging, fence lines, foundations, gravel areas, walkways, paths, well and water systems, and more. It comes ready to use, so no premixing or diluting is required.

This nonselective weed killer is effective on dandelions and clover, broadleaf weeds, and grassy weeds such as crabgrass. It’s made from all-natural ingredients including vinegar, salt, clove oil, lemon juice, and citric acid. Portions of each sale are donated to animal shelters nationwide. Just for Pets weed killer is made in the U.S.A.

Get Just for Pets pet-safe weed killer at Amazon.

Or, DIY Your Own Pet-Safe Weed Killer 

Your hands are the best pet-safe, natural weed killers if you can pull up the entire root system of weeds and grasses you don’t want. Tip: it’s easier to do this after a soaking rain. If you prefer garden tools to DIY weed killers, opt for a Cobrahead weeder and cultivator hand tool, which is an ergonomically designed hand tool with a forged steel blade for digging, edging, and planting; a standing Fiskers four-claw weeder; or choose one of the best garden hoes.

Concentrated vinegar can be used as a DIY weed killer. Whip up a homemade natural weed killer by mixing a gallon of white vinegar with a cup of salt and a tablespoon of liquid dish soap. Spray it on a dry, sunny day and weeds should die in about a week. Salt, sugar, bleach, and baking soda can also kill weeds. However, these DIY weed killer ingredients can harm soil, poison small mammals, or, if sugar is used, attract undesirable pests and wildlife.

Russell Taylor, vice president of Live Earth Products, a company located in Emery, Utah, that mines and manufactures ingredients used in a number of industries, including lawn care products, says, “It’s important to note that high salt content, which kills the weed, can hinder grass regrowth after weed removal. Consider drenching those dead spots with liquid humic acid to counter salt damage and maintain a pet-friendly, spot-free lawn.” Pouring boiling water on weeds also works, although they’ll regrow if the roots don’t die. It’s a good idea to wear shoes to protect your feet from splashes and handle the hot water carefully.

Bob Mann advises, “When in doubt, hire a professional lawn care company … Or if you decide to do it yourself: One, read the product label; two, read the product label; and three (you guessed it), read the product label. Everything you need to know to safely use any pesticide is contained on the label.”

Jump to Our Top Picks

Our Verdict 

There are other common weed killer options, including Roundup, Spectracide Weed and Grass Killer, and Scotts Turf Builder WinterGuard Fall Weed & Feed3. However, these do not meet our sustainability guidelines and are not recommended in our top picks because they contain harsh chemicals, may harm pets, and may negatively affect human health and the environment.

Our top picks, including Green Gobbler and Natria Grass and Weed Control With Root Kill, were chosen for their natural or organic ingredients, effectiveness, and ease of application.

What to Consider When Choosing a Pet-Safe Weed Killer 

Look for weed killers labeled “pet safe” that don’t contain harsh chemicals. Even if you use a natural or organic weed killer, follow all directions to keep your pet safe. Check to see how long to keep your pets away from treated areas, and don’t store or leave any kind of weed killer within their reach. For a list of organic herbicides that are considered toxic to animals, see the Merck Veterinary Manual. You may want to protect yourself by wearing protective goggles and clothing when using vinegar-based or other strong-smelling herbicides.

Ingredients 

Most pet-safe weed killers contain organic or natural ingredients such as acetic acid, potassium, or sodium salts. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says corn meal gluten, a byproduct of milled corn, is pet-safe, but it prevents weeds and doesn’t kill them. Sea salt eliminates weeds and grasses and won’t harm pets or bees.

Selective vs. Nonselective

Selective weed killers are products that kill weeds, but not desirable plants like ornamentals or turfgrasses. Nonselective weed killers destroy any kind of vegetation they touch, whether they’re liquid sprays or granules applied to the soil. If you’re trying to kill all the plants in a large area, you may want a nonselective weed killer. Choose a selective weed killer if you’re trying to kill small, weedy patches in a lawn or working near desirable plants. Be aware of where the product may wash onto or drift on the wind beyond the area you’re treating and take precautions if necessary.

Application

Most pet-safe weed killers come as ready-to-use liquids. Some are sold with spray attachments, and others are available as refills you can put in a sprayer you already have. Concentrated pet-safe weed killers must be diluted before you spray them. Liquid weed killers can be used as spot-killers or sprayed over areas of any size.

Weed killers are also available in granular form. Many are safe for pets immediately after application and can prevent weeds from growing around established plants that are at least 3 inches tall. However, these will not kill weeds that have already sprouted. For best results, existing weeds should be removed before applying pre-emergent, granular weed killers. Weed killers that come as granules should be applied to bare soil or added to mulched areas and gently raked or watered in.

FAQs

Weeds and unwanted grasses often sprout up in lawns and gardens, robbing the desired plants of much-needed water, nutrients, and room to spread their roots. Some grow big enough to shade the intentional plants and block the sun. Using a pet-safe weed killer made with organic or natural ingredients can be an effective, sustainable way to banish them, but there’s a lot to know about different products. The following frequently asked questions may address any lingering concerns.

Q. Does vinegar kill weeds permanently?

Vinegar kills weed leaves but they can grow back from their roots. Make a stronger solution by adding a cup of table salt and a tablespoon of dishwashing soap to a gallon of vinegar.

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

Drying time varies depending on the weather, the product, and how heavily it’s applied. A good rule of thumb is to keep people and pets off treated areas for at least 48 to 72 hours unless the label says differently.

Q. What do I do if my pet comes into contact with poisonous weed killers?

Get your pet safely away and immediately call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435. Tell them which weed killer your pet encountered, and have the label or original container handy.

Q. Are pet-safe weed killers as effective as traditional weed killers?

Some are, but it depends on what you’re targeting. Some require repeat applications and take longer to work. Many gardeners don’t mind the trade-off, if any, to keep their pets safe.

Why Trust Bob Vila 

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

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