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Best Pet-Safe Weed Killers and Pesticides for Pet Safety in 2020

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Best Pesticide

MDX Concepts Home Pest Control Spray

No one likes dealing with weeds or crawling invaders. These noxious pests are the bane of our existence. However, eradicating them puts our pets at risk. Luckily, there are pet-safe weed killers and pesticides on the market to ease your worries.

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You spent weeks tending to your lawn and garden. You nurtured those baby plants through early frosts and harsh storms. But what’s that creeping along the fence line. Is that a WEED? You know that leafy invader isn’t alone. Oh, yeah – there’s some nasty crabgrass sneaking along the driveway. And are those ANTS? They’ve got to go. But your dog goes outside. Maybe they even snack on the grass (our dog thinks she’s part-cow). Anything you put out might get on the grass. You don’t want your dog to get sick from a toxic weed killer or pesticide. Those weeds and ants are spreading, though. Time to invest in the best pet-safe weed killers and pesticides for your household.

Reading Pet-Safe Weed Killer and Pesticide Bottle Labels

When you’re considering pet-safe weed killers and pesticides, you need to take the time to look at the labels on the bottle. It’s tempting to fall for hype such as “chemical-free,” but the reality is EVERYTHING is a chemical. What you want to avoid are toxic compounds.

  • Glyphosphate
  • 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyoacetic acid (2,4-D)
  • Malathion

Yes, these compounds are champions when it comes to tackling crabgrass and crawling pests, but they’re also at the top of the list of toxins. Most parts of the world ban their use. They’re THAT toxic.

Your best bet is to look for one of two certifications:

  • Organic Material Review Institute (OMRI)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

If these organizations have passed the product, odds are they’re a pet-safe weed killer and pesticide. Will they be as strong as synthetic compounds? No, but they also won’t pose harm. That’s your trade-off.

Non-Chemical Pet-Safe Weed Killers

Do you HATE the idea of any kind of chemical – organic or otherwise? That’s understandable. After all, even essential oils have the potential for harm. If those encroaching weeds are making you twitch, but you want to keep your dogs and cats safe, you DO have options.

Hand-Pulling Weeds

That’s right – good old elbow grease. This method of killing weeds is 100% pet-safe. It’s not exactly fun (unless you enjoy that kind of thing), and it takes more time than other methods. However, if you stay on top of things, it IS successful. There are a variety of tools available to assist you and save your hands. This method even works on those pesky dandelions. Just make sure your dog doesn’t observe you and decide to pitch in and start digging!

Boiling Water

Heating a pot of water to the boiling point and dousing weeds with the result is another option. The weeds die within a day. This method of weed-killing is ONLY pet-safe if you keep your pets OUT of the way while you work. (Please, no burns!) The downside to this method is boiling water kills ALL plants. So you can only use boiling water away from your lawn. It’s great for the driveway, but those dandelions in the middle of the yard are safe. Also, you need to keep YOURSELF safe from potential burns.

Plant Warfare

This pet-safe weed-killing method involves a little research and plant know-how. Allelopathic plants produce airborne chemicals that kill other plants. You simply add them to your garden and watch the weeds shrivel up. It’s not the fastest process, but it’s completely natural. Just make sure you find plants that target the weeds and not the other plants in your garden.

Proper Use of Pet-Safe Weed Killers and Pesticides

You’ve checked the label, you’re confident you have pet-safe weed killers and pesticides, and you’ve decided today is eviction day for those weeds or creepy crawlies. Pet-safe weed killers and pesticides or not, you need to observe some precautions. Remember, a chemical is still a chemical. You need to keep your pets as safe as possible.

  1. Read the instructions. Every product has a specific amount for proper use. Too much doesn’t make it work better or faster, but it WILL increase the safety risk.
  2. Keep your pets out of the area. If you’re working outside, your pets need to stay inside. Pet-safe or not, you don’t want them to ingest these products.
  3. Avoid wind. The wind will carry your product where you DON’T want it. A lot of these products aren’t specific – they target plants, in general. Unless you’re aiming to destroy the entire lawn (not likely), wait for a day without wind. Besides, do you want to bathe in the weed killer or pesticide? Probably not.
  4. Avoid wet days. This isn’t a safety issue, just an effectiveness issue. Water dilutes chemicals. Using a product when rain is sitting on the plant wastes your time and effort.
  5. Keep your pets away for 24 hours. Most of these compounds need time to take effect. Unless the label specifies how long to keep pets out of the area, 24 hours is your best bet.

Best Pet-Safe Weed Killers and Pesticides

No one likes weeds. Even if you don’t mind insects and arachnids, odds are you don’t appreciate it when they invade your house. You want to keep these invaders at bay, but you don’t want to risk your pets or yourself. Luckily, there are manufacturers out there heeding the call for pet-safe weed killers and pesticides.

Best Pet-Safe Weed Preventer

Maybe you don’t have weeds yet. However, the very thought of those weeds encroaching on your hard work is giving you hives.

Don’t worry, Espoma has you covered. Espoma is a corn gluten meal that doubles as a lawn feeder. It helps keep your lawn healthy and green while stopping dandelions, crabgrass, and other weeds from forming roots. Sprinkle the granules on your lawn twice a year (spring and fall are the recommendation) and rest easy that weeds will never gain a foothold.

Downsides? People weren’t wild about the smell, but local wildlife found it appealing. (Probably NOT what you want for your beautiful lawn) This ONLY works on the grass, so if you have a garden, you’ll need something else. Also, if you already have weeds, you’re out of luck – it doesn’t work.

The Good

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Best Pet-Safe Weed Killers

All right, so the weeds have already invaded. Those sneaky plants have infiltrated the lawn, the garden, and they’re even pushing up through the driveway. You’re ready to wage war – safely, without posing a risk to your pets. We’ve got your arsenal ready with these pet-safe weed killers.

Avenger’s primary ingredient is d-limonene from citrus oil, naturally obtained from oranges and lemons. Lucky you, this means it smells fantastic. D-limonene works by stripping a plant’s cuticle (the outer waxy layer). The plant then dehydrates in the sun and dies. People usually see results within TWO HOURS! Get some reliable rain showers in (or spray the weeds with the hose), and the withered husks dissolve and wash away. You mix the concentrate with water, and the label provides instructions for mixtures. My fiancé uses this weed killer on the driveway and loves it.

Downsides? This weed killer is NOT specific – it works on ALL plants. That means you have to be careful where you spray it. As such, it won’t work on lawns. Also, it’s best if the weeds are less than 6 inches tall, or you may not kill them.

The Good

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Want to understand exactly what’s in your pet-safe weed killer? Dr. Kirchner to the rescue! There are just four ingredients: salt, water, vinegar, and soap. The salt is the star of this particular product, desiccating the plant. The sizes range from a quart up to five gallons, with an extended shelf-life (in case you want that five-gallon jug). The spray nozzles make application a breeze, and there’s no need to worry about staining on hard surfaces, like your driveway.

The downsides? Again, this is a non-specific weed killer. You’ll kill any plant you spray, so avoid your lawn like the plague. People also complained the nozzle tended to leak, so be VERY careful where you’re spraying. While salt is useful for killing plants, it’s terrible for soil and runoff, so consider whether your environmental impact is worth the weed-killing spree.

The Good

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Do you have a variety of weeds? Natural Armor is the choice for you. Their mixture of vinegar, citrus, sodium, essential oils, glycerin, and water target over 250 types of weeds and grasses! No need to dilute or mix the liquid – just twist the nozzle and spray. They provide multiple sizes, just in case you have a massive invasion to cope with. Even better, every bottle comes with a 100% money-back guarantee!

So what are the downsides? Well, when you aim to kill 250 weeds and grasses, odds are you’ll take out some plants people want to keep. This product is another non-specific plant killer. This was also another bottle with spray nozzle leakage complaints, so be careful with your spraying. People noted the smell lingered for a while, and not everyone appreciated the scent.

The Good

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Ready to give up with all of these non-specific weed killers? Don’t worry, Ortho’s got you. You may about an active ingredient of ammonium nonanoate, but Ortho has OMRI approval. (Just wash it off if you get any on you – it’s water-soluble) Ortho works on all kinds of grass and weeds. The handy applicator lets you spray it directly onto the pesky weed, which starts to die within 15 minutes. If you prefer, a concentrate is available so you can dilute to the concentration you want. Best of all, it’s safe for use on the driveway, around landscaping, and vegetable beds!

Downside? It isn’t the strongest pet-safe weed killer out there. You may need to employ more than one application to eradicate the weeds.

The Good

The Bad

BioSafe is another alternative for tackling those pesky weeds out on the lawn. With approval from both OMRI and the EPA, you can rest easy knowing you’re using a pet-safe compound. The concentrate is potent: 2 fluid ounces are enough to tackle 200 square feet! The herbicidal soap mix destroys the cell walls of your weeds, without harming any nearby plants or entering the soil. It starts working fast, so wave good-bye to your weedy invaders.

The downsides? It’s expensive. The jug WILL last you, but you have to decide if it’s worth the cost. Also, there’s some concern the compound poses a threat to bees. While you won’t harm the soil, bees are still a critical part of the environment.

The Good

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Best Pet-Safe Pesticides

You’ve handled the battle outside, and now it’s time to tackle the inside. You know insects and arachnids are essential. You’re aware they serve a vital function on this planet. You just don’t want those functions carried out in your house. If your arm’s about to fall off from wielding the fly-swatter (face it – not effective against a lot of creepy-crawlies), or your cat is a failure at bug patrol (mine’s available for rent – reasonable prices), it’s time to consider these pet-safe pesticide alternatives.

EcoRaider provides a 32-ounce bottle with a spray nozzle and a tube extension. That means you can reach every possible nook and cranny to lay down this pet-safe insect killer and repellent. The formula has a pleasant citrus scent (helpful note: citrus is offensive to most insects and arachnids!), and it won’t stain fabrics or carpets.

Downsides? The initial punch of the scent might offend some noses. It calms down quickly, but be prepared. The liquid can cause mild skin irritation, so avoid spraying yourself.

The Good

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Are you fed up with the fly-swatter? Can’t stand disgusting flypaper strips? RESCUE! has the answer. These outdoor traps feature a water-soluble bait that flies find irresistible. You fill the bottom with water to the indicated line then hang the trap where you deal with the most fly problems. The flies go through the yellow cap and become trapped and drown. When the trap’s full, you throw it away – no muss, no fuss. We use these traps near our outdoor trash can, and they work brilliantly.

The downsides? As the trap gets full, it DOES develop an odor. While it’s a great tip-off that it’s time to toss the trap, it’s not pleasant to walk past. Also, the trap needs to stay 20 feet from your usual activity – may or may not be practical.

The Good

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Want to keep those crawlies from getting into the house in the first place? Eco Defense works in and out of the house. The active ingredients are geranium oil, cedarwood oil, and sodium lauryl sulfate – all pet-safe. It kills a wide range of pests instantly (cockroachs, ants, fleas, earwigs, stinkbugs, mites, silverfish, spiders, and scorpions), and it repels those same invaders for up to 14 days. You’ll feel confident deploying Eco Defense – professional exterminators developed the formula! There’s no risk of staining fabrics, either, so feel free to wield it around carpets.

So what are the downsides? There is a distinct odor when you first spray the formula, though it does disperse. Those essential oils only last 7-14 days, so expect to refresh trouble areas.

The Good

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Are you troubled by strong odors? MDX Concepts has a great alternative. Their formula of essential oils leaves a minty smell people didn’t object to. However, pests like ants, cockroaches, earwigs, fleas, mites, silverfish, spiders, and scorpions HATE mint (bet you didn’t know that). The 16-ounce bottle has a handy trigger, and the formula works to kill pests instantly. MDX is so sure of their product, they provide a 60-day 100% money-back guarantee (not too shabby!).

Downsides? MDX is excellent as a pesticide, but it WON’T repel those same tiny invaders. You’ll need another product for that. Also, if you find yourself the victim of giant cockroaches (you know the ones I mean – they bring luggage and furniture with them), you’ll need something stronger.

The Good

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Pet-Safe Pest Control

You work hard to maintain a beautiful lawn and home. The last thing you want to see are troops of evil weeds and voracious insects. Eradicating these loathsome pests shouldn’t put your dogs or cats at risk. Pet-safe weed killers and pesticides are your best bet for keeping the unwanted armies at bay.

You’ll keep your house and yard looking fantastic, and you’ll keep your pets safe. It’s the best of both worlds!

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Andria Kennedy

Andria Kennedy

Andria Kennedy worked as a Licensed Veterinary Technician for 10 years, focusing on Emergency/ICU and later Cardiology, as well as volunteering at both the Philadelphia Zoo and Virginia Living Museum for over six years. She's now a freelance writer, but she gravitates toward writing projects with a focus on animals (once an animal-lover, always an animal-lover). She lives in Virginia with her husband, three cats (one "works" as her personal assistant), and a Greyhound who thinks she's a big cat — all of them rescues.


    • Hi Sarah,
      Thank you – glad you found the article helpful!

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