7 Pet-Safe Home Remedies to Kill Weeds: Safe & Natural

Filed in Dog Products by on April 14, 2022

pet safe home remedies to kill weeds

Are you looking for a pet-safe alternative to traditional weed killers that you can make at home?

Many weed killers contain harmful ingredients that aren’t just toxic to your pets—they can be harmful to you as well.

This article will explore DIY pet-safe home remedies to kill weeds that you can make for yourself, as well as ingredients you should avoid.

You can feel more secure with your dog’s safety with these more natural solutions without chemicals, at least toxic ones.

Why Are Chemical Weed Killers Toxic to Your Pets?

Many common store-bought weed killers contain chemicals that can be toxic to your pet, especially if the manufacturer’s instructions aren’t followed exactly.

Glyphosate, for example, is the main ingredient in RoundUp, and it’s known to cause canine cancer. Trimec, another popular ingredient in many weed killers can be poisonous to dogs if they ingest the grass before it has time to dry.

Even chemical ingredients that claim to have low toxicity to animals can still have side effects when used in large doses, like sethoxydim.

It’s best to opt for natural, pet-safe weed killers that you can DIY at home, or you can pick up a dog safe weed killer, if you’d rather purchase a pre-made solution.

My 7 DIY Pet-Safe Home Remedies to Kill Weeds

These home remedies all make use of natural, non-toxic ingredients or they remove the use of weed killer altogether to keep your dog safe.

1. Boiling Water

Boiling water is a great home remedy for the pesky weeds that grow in the cracks in your driveway or walkways. Simply bring water to a boil in a kettle or pot and pour the hot water directly onto the plants you wish to kill.

Be careful though. Boiling water will kill any plant it comes into contact with, including your grass and other flowers that you have in the area. Use this remedy only for small, isolated patches of weeds.

2. Vinegar and Dish Soap

vinegar and spray bottle as natural cleaning tools

Vinegar is a miracle worker for many of your common household chores, and weed killing is no different.

In a spray bottle, combine white vinegar with a teaspoon of dish soap. The dish soap helps to break down the outer coating of the plant which allows the vinegar to work more effectively.

This homemade DIY weed killer is non-selective, however, meaning it will kill any plants you spray it on, so use sparingly and only on weeds you want to get rid of. You may also need to reapply the spray to fully kill the weed at the root.

3. Salt

Regular table salt can also be used to kill weeds, but this DIY technique should only be used in specific situations.

Salt kills weeds by disrupting the water balance in the root systems, but it also disrupts the soil. This makes it difficult to ever grow anything, weeds or otherwise, in that spot again.

Only add salt to spots where you want to completely eliminate the chance for a plant to grow, like in the cracks of your sidewalk or driveway.

4. Cornmeal

Cornmeal is effective as a pre-emergent herbicide, which stops the seeds of some weeds from germinating and sprouting.

You can sprinkle cornmeal onto the soil in the area you want to prevent weeds from showing up, but it will not be effective against weeds that have already grown. Cornmeal also won’t work against perennial plants, as their roots are stronger than annuals.

5. Hand Pull Your Invasive Plants

Sometimes the most effective method is also the simplest. Hand pulling weeds is a natural and pet-safe home remedy to kill weeds without chemicals, although it’s more tiring.

By pulling your weeds, you’ll keep harmful chemicals away from your dog and won’t cause any damage to the surrounding soil and plants.

It may be more time-consuming, but it’s the most effective DIY way to make sure the roots of the weeds are eliminated, preventing them from returning later in the season. You can also use specialty weeding tools to make the process easier and faster.

6. Mulch

mulching the garden

Adding a thick layer of organic mulch like wood chips over areas where you want to prevent weeds from sprouting will help to smother them. The mulch blocks off the weeds’ access to light, stopping seeds from growing and killing the small weeds that have already germinated.

Because the mulch still allows water and air to pass through, it kills weeds and their seeds while keeping the soil healthy.

7. Switch to Non-Grass Ground Cover

While traditional grass lawns may be pretty, they are an ideal environment for opportunistic weeds to grow. Non-grass ground cover, like clover or thyme, is easy to maintain, requires very little mowing, and—because of its dense roots—makes it difficult for weeds to grow.

If you live in a rental property or an HOA, you may have restrictions on what you can do with your lawn, so check with your landlord or housing authority before making the switch.

You also need to choose a dog-safe ground cover plant, as some varieties, like lily of the valley, can be toxic to pets if ingested.

What Ingredients Not to Use on Your Invasive Plants

Some suggested home remedies for weed killers can actually do more harm than good to your yard.

Sugar, for example, is often recommended as a natural weed killer, but it can permanently affect the nitrogen balance in your soil, and it can attract pests and wildlife that can be an even bigger problem than the weeds.

Borax is also a common suggestion as a DIY weed killer because it can target the weed specifically while keeping your grass safe.

Unfortunately, Borax is toxic to dogs, causing vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and even kidney damage if ingested. Even without ingesting it, boric acid (the active ingredient in Borax) can irritate your dog’s eyes and skin.


Hopefully, this guide provided you several different DIY pet-safe home remedies to kill weeds.

These natural alternatives without chemicals can provide more comfort that your dog will not be exposed to toxins like in chemical weed killers.

While all of these remedies may be effective, they might be right for your specific situation.

Since many natural weed killers are indiscriminate about what plants they will kill, you should be careful in which areas you apply it.

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