Last updated on October 3rd, 2022
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When you’re looking for a pet-friendly weed killer, one that is safe for pets, it’s a difficult one because there is a lot of mixed information about how safe different weedkillers are. Even though the strong weedkillers that contain Glyphosate are considered pet safe, there has been a lot of debate over the years about whether it is actually safe for humans, never mind pets.
Some studies have shown that it might be carcinogenic for humans and others that it’s non-carcinogenic. Now, I have tested and used this Gallup Home & Garden Glyphosate Weed Killer, which is the strongest weed killer I have used, as shown in the picture above. Although it is considered pet safe once dry, you can never be too sure. I’ll be honest, I use this weedkiller a lot as it’s very effective on both annual and perennial weeds.
With this in mind, I wanted to find and test some non-chemical weedkillers and this brings me to organic weedkillers. They are usually made from acetic acid which is the same stuff they use in vinegar (this is what this WEEDKIL Garden Weedkiller is made from). The Weedkil Garden Weedkiller worked amazingly well and much faster than I thought it would, and as an extra bonus, it comes ready to use.
After applying and clearing my drive and patio of weeds, I like to then apply a patio cleaner to remove the algae or get my patio pressure washer out and use my Karcher K5 pressure washer with the surface cleaner
Since acetic is what they use in vinegar, this is why I also use white vinegar. In the past, I have also used this Golden Swan White Vinegar (pictured in the photo above) and mixed it with salt and washing up liquid. This method also proved to be very effective. These weedkillers don’t contain any chemicals and are about as pet safe as you can get. However, I still wouldn’t let animals onto any treated areas until the area has fully dried.
So, the issue I have found with these pet-safe weedkillers is, that although they kill the weeds quickly and the smaller weeds don’t seem to grow back at all, larger perennial weeds will grow back again. Me, I use these weedkillers every few weeks to keep on top of the weeds. They are very effective on young foliage.
There are also other ways to deal with weeds that are 100% safe for pets too, and you can also do these with your pets around. The first one is by using a weed puller. I use this on my lawn and have this Fiskars Xact Weed Puller. It works amazingly well on larger weeds in lawns or flower beds. It isn’t any good for hard surfaces though such as patios. You do of course also have other weeding tools to try.
The only surface my weed puller is not great on is hard surfaces such as pathways, patios and driveways. For this, I like to use my electric weed burner. It is fairly slow going, but it gets the job done, and it’s safe for pets too. Just don’t let them touch it while you use it, they get extremely hot.
For me, the best weedkiller that is safe for pets, including cats and dogs, and contains no chemicals, has to be this WEEDKIL Garden Weedkiller. This stuff worked amazingly fast, and I started to see results within a couple of hours. The picture below is before spraying and the next picture is after a week, but I definitely saw noticeable results within a few hours
A week later, and after spraying just once, those weeds are dead. Most of the small weeds have simply broken down, while some of the larger weeds will probably need to be manually removed, but I’ve been very impressed with how effective this weedkiller has been.
I applied this weedkiller with my Hozelock knapsack sprayer (as you can see below) and it comes ready to use. No mixing or measuring, which is nice because I’m so used to using weedkiller concentrates that you need to mix with water. This stuff I just poured straight into the sprayer, and it just makes life easier.
You can apply with a watering can (like you can with moss killers) and a fine rose. However, this can be very wasteful and it actually goes a lot further if you use a garden sprayer to apply it. I have found it kills most of the weeds you find in patios and driveways such as dandelions, grass, and many more. Don’t expect it to kill brambles or horsetail, you will need glyphosate for this. You’ve been warned!
I talked briefly about using white vinegar as a weedkiller. Gardeners have been using this for years and I personally use this Golden Swan White Vinegar and then mix 5 litres of vinegar with 3 tablespoons of salt and 3 tablespoons of washing-up liquid. This mix is also organic and very effective, I find adding the washing-up liquid helps the vinegar and salt mix stick to the foliage and kill it.
Please note that all the weedkillers below are marketed as being safe for pets and children AFTER the treated area is fully dry.
5 of the best safe friendly weed killers after testing
- WEEDKIL Garden Weedkiller – My Best Pick – After personal use, I saw results within a few hours and it’s ready to use and glyphosate free.
- Golden Swan White Vinegar – Runner-up – I have used this for years for larger batches. Mixed with salt and washing up liquid it is deadly to weeds yet safe for pets.
- Gallup Home & Garden Glyphosate Weed Killer – Kills all weeds and roots, safe for pets but still contains glyphosate.
- Roundup Tough Weed Killer
- Roundup Fast Action Weed Killer Pump ‘N Go Ready To Use Spray
The Top 5 Pet-Friendly Weedkillers
1. WEEDKIL Fast Acting Organic Garden Weedkiller
I’ve already talked about this weedkiller earlier in the review but I can’t get over how effective this weedkiller is and how fast you actually see results. It’s practically the same as white vinegar because it contains acetic acid, which is the same stuff white vinegar is made from. What I will say is, I saw results faster than when I mixed Golden Swan White Vinegar myself with salt and washing up liquid. I don’t know how or why, maybe this weedkiller has some other organic ingredient in it as well.
What I like about this Weedkil Garden Weedkiller is that it’s ready to use and at the end of the day it’s both organic and glyphosate free. The important point here is that it definitely contains no dangerous chemicals, which mean it’s pet-friendly and safe to apply. This is important to me as I have cats, my mother in law often brings her dog around, plus we have some guinea pigs.
From my experience, it kills weeds very quickly, I’m talking about seeing results in just a few hours as they start to clearly die. The picture above is as I began spraying the weeds, the picture below has been taken only a few hours later.
And the picture below is after 7 days of spraying the weeds. As you can see all the weeds are dead, most of the smaller ones have totally died back and disappeared. The larger weeds will probably need removing by hand but they are dead.
- Starts to kill weeds within only a few hours, and weeds are dead within 7 days.
- Ready to use, no mixing or measuring required, simply pour into a sprayer and it’s ready to use.
- Organic, made using natural ingredients and being glyphosate free it ensures its pet, children and wildlife safe.
- Excellent for killing small and young weeds.
- The ready-to-use 5 litres of solution provides up to 175sq metre coverage when used with a sprayer.
- It will not kill large weeds and larger perennial weeds may grow back (best used on weeds under 10cm tall).
For most people, I think this is an excellent weedkiller and being made from acetic acid, it’s 100% organic and more importantly safe for pets. I like that it’s also ready to use so no mixing is needed. I love that even though it’s chemical-free, it does a great job at killing weeds.
The only downside is that it isn’t as effective on established taller weeds and perennial weeds can grow back, the larger ones that is. I find that if you spray more regularly, every few weeks when the weeds are small, it does a great job at keeping areas clear of weeds, even the perennial weeds. Overall, I think it is probably the best, truly pet-safe, weedkiller that’s ready to use.
2. Golden Swan White Vinegar – Homemade Weedkiller
You may wonder why Golden Swan Regular Household White Vinegar is at the top of my list of weedkillers that aren’t harmful to pets. Well, white vinegar is an important ingredient in making homemade and environmentally friendly weedkillers that are safe to use around pets or children. In addition, white vinegar is also used in DIY household cleaning products, can be used in your laundry and for getting rid of odours, including those from your pets.
This is a safe multi-use product but it really shows its worth when mixed as a weedkiller with salt and washing up liquid. I have been using this for years and although there is a little work in mixing it correctly, it is affordable and very effective at killing weeds.
White Swan vinegar is an established brand and at 5% acetic acid it’s less concentrated than the kinds of vinegar you can buy for cleaning (usually between 6-8%). This vinegar comes in 5-litre containers so it’s economical and much cheaper to buy than any of the other products in this review. White vinegar will last for 24 months if not opened and 6 months after you’ve started to use it so just bear this in mind.
Here is my list of ingredients I use to make my own pet-friendly weed killer.
- A bottle of 5 litre white vinegar
- 3 tablespoons of salt
- 3 tablespoons of washing up liquid
It’s easier to apply using a sprayer that you can pump and spray. Add the salt and the washing-up liquid first and then add the white vinegar. Shake well.
Reduce the ingredients proportionally if this is too much weedkiller for you.
For more homemade pet-safe weedkillers, see my guide on the best homemade weed killers that are easy to make.
- Very effective at killing weeds younger weeds quickly.
- Use for homemade weedkiller so you know what’s exactly in it; see the description above for the recipe.
- Organic and pet safe.
- The shelf life is 24 months when unopened and 6 months when opened.
- The concentration of this vinegar is 5% so it’s not harmful to your skin but I recommend wearing gloves.
- Can also use for household cleaning, laundry and getting rid of odours.
- Not great on large weeds
If you’d rather not use weedkillers that contain glyphosate, then turn to more natural products such as the Golden Swan White Vinegar. For me, this is a great alternative to Weedkil Garden Weedkiller, you are basically making your own with very similar ingredients.
The Golden Swan White Vinegar is my Runner-up pick for a weedkiller that doesn’t harm pets because it’s environmentally friendly, biodegradable and contains no chemicals.
3. Agrigem Gallup Home & Garden Glyphosate Weedkiller
Warning: Some studies have shown that Glyphosate might be carcinogenic for humans and others that it’s non-carcinogenic. In the UK, it is sold as safe for pets and animals once dry. I personally use this weedkiller and it is excellent. It kills everything but it’s just something to be aware of.
The Gallup Home & Garden Glyphosate Weed Killer comes as a concentrate with the same amount of glyphosate that you find in professional weedkillers, so it’s very effective. This weedkiller is nonselective, so it kills any vegetation it touches, meaning you need to be extra careful about where you use it. A single application kills most weeds but it also kills the roots which means they won’t grow back like they can with Weedkil Garden weedkiller and Golden swan white vinegar but they don’t contain Glyphosate.
There’s no residue or odour with this Gallup Home & Garden product. Once it’s dried you can’t even tell where you’ve applied it so keep a record of your application plan. You spray on this weedkiller, and to do this, you can use regular garden sprayers or a knapsack sprayer for ease of moving around the garden.
The Gallup Home & Garden Glyphosate Weedkiller comes with gloves and a 60ml measuring cup. The dilution ratio is 30ml of concentrate per 1 litre of water, but always read the instructions on the label.
Pets and children can go into the garden once the applied weedkiller is fully dried, it becomes inactive once it touches the soil.
- A spraying certificate is not needed with this, so you can use it when you want. Be very careful though because it is still very dangerous.
- The glyphosate amount is the same as found in professional weedkillers so the weed-killing ability isn’t diluted.
- Annual and deep-rooted perennial weeds both surrender to this weedkiller.
- A single application will kill most weeds.
- Comes as a concentrate; dilute 30ml of weed killer per litre of water before you use it.
- Works with regular sprayers; try it with a personal knapsack sprayer.
- No residue or odour.
- Comes with gloves and a 60ml measuring cup.
- Safe on paving, as long as you spray directly on the base of the weeds.
- Nonselective so will kill whatever vegetation it touches, including your lawn.
- Does contain Glyphosate and there are mixed views on this.
The Gallup Home & Garden Glyphosate Weed is a powerful wildlife-friendly weedkiller that comes as a concentrate. This is probably the best weedkiller that anyone can buy, it’s good stuff but you can’t get around the fact that it’s made from Glyphosate. They say it’s safe so I’ve included it here, I use it myself and have never had any issues with it.
If you are looking for a strong weedkiller and don’t mind that it contains Glyphosate, (this is really a personal choice) then this is probably the best weedkiller you can buy.
4. Roundup Super Concentrate Tough Weedkiller
Roundup is often the first brand that comes to mind when you think of weedkillers and the Roundup Tough Weedkiller is one of their pet-friendly options. The “Tough” is in the title because the weedkiller is super concentrated. The 1-litre bottle covers 3000m2. If you have weeds covering that much area, you really do need a tough weedkiller.
Roundup Tough contains glyphosate (like my previous pick) as its active ingredient, although it does not seem to be mentioned on the bottle label. This kills annual weeds and most perennials, including bindweed and docks. The information on the bottle label also says that you can use this to kill tree stumps and standing trees if you apply it between November and March when the sap isn’t rising. You can safely use this product on hard surfaces, including driveways and gravel areas.
You need some patience with this product because the weeds won’t show the first effects of the treatment for between one to four weeks. Most weeds need a dilution of 10-15ml of concentrate in 1 litre of water. But, as always, read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
Children and pets can play on the treated area once the weedkiller has fully dried.
- Kills the roots of weeds so they shouldn’t return.
- Suitable for treating large areas of weeds so you can do the strip along your fence all at once.
- Super-concentrated so a 1 litre bottle cover 3000m2.
- Kills annual weeds and most perennial weeds and destroys everything you don’t like.
- Kills tree stumps and standing trees so you can remove these bigger items as well.
- Can use on hard surfaces such as driveways, patios and gravel areas.
- Weeds show effects within 1-4 weeks so you have to be a little patient.
- Most weeds use a dilution of 10-15ml of this weedkiller in 1 litre of water.
- Nonselective so will, at the least, harm everything, including your prized flowers.
The Roundup Tough Weedkiller is one of a series of garden products from this well-known brand. It’s a super-concentrated weedkiller that you dilute and then use in a spray bottle. It kills both annual and perennial weeds as well as woody weeds and tree stumps. It’s pretty much a one-size-fits-all weedkiller. It’s safe to use on hard surfaces such as your paths and brickwork around your flowerbeds.
Roundup Tough is a nonselective weedkiller so don’t apply it near your prized ornamental plants or vegetables you want to continue growing. The bottle comes without a spray nozzle so you need a sprayer of your own. If you’re not one of the people who just know that Roundup products are famous for being based on glyphosate, then you have to search a bit on their website to find out. There are no other ingredients listed there.
If you’re a fan of the Roundup brand, then Roundup Tough Weedkiller is a good choice of a super concentrated weedkiller and comes with a long list of vegetation that it’s suitable for.
5. Roundup Fast Action Weedkiller Pump ‘N Go Ready To Use Spray
The name Roundup Fast Action Weed Killer Pump ‘N Go Ready To Use Spray explains most of the features of this weedkiller. It’s part of the line of Roundup Prevent and Protect garden products. Its fast action, in that Roundup, claims that the weeds show the first effects of the weedkiller in just one to two days. This is much faster than the claims of one to two weeks, or longer, made by other brands. This product kills annual and deep-rooted perennial weeds with just one application.
The Pump ‘N Go Ready to Use spray deserves some explanation. Ready to Use shows that the solution comes pre-mixed in the 5-litre bottle. You don’t have to measure anything out. The bottle is also refillable, so that’s a cost saving for you. The Pump ‘N Go part is an included pressure sprayer that comes with a hose and wand that you operate with one hand. The one-touch trigger is easy on your hand with regard to fatigue. The spray refers to the nozzle that comes with the pump. After you’ve primed the pump (by pumping) you can spray continuously for three minutes.
The 5-litre bottle treats 150m2 of weeds including those on hard surfaces.
As always, keep the children and pets away from the treated area until the weedkiller is completely dry.
- Weeds show effects in 1-2 days so you don’t have to wait too long for results.
- Kills annual and deep-rooted perennial weeds and their roots with just one application for efficient weed control.
- Comes with a Pump N Go pressure spray that’s easy to use.
- Leaves no harmful residue so you can replant in the area where the weeds were.
- Degraded in the soil by micro-organisms.
- Premixed, so you don’t have to worry about diluting it.
- Comes in a 5-litre bottle and treats up to 150m2.
- Can be used on hard surfaces including paths, patios and stone walkways.
- The bottle is refillable, so you can treat your expanse of weeds.
- The ingredient list on the website only lists glyphosate.
- Some weeds resist this product, especially those with really deep roots.
- Can stain hard surfaces.
- The spray nozzle and wand may be a little too short.
- Can be a little difficult to build up pressure (by pumping) in the Pump ‘N Go.
The Roundup Fast Action Weed Killer Pump ‘N Go Ready To Use Spray is the fastest-acting weed killer from the selection in our Best Pet-Friendly Weedkiller review. The 5-litre bottle of ready-made solution covers up to 150m2 of the weediest parts of the garden. This weedkiller comes with a pump pressure sprayer with a one-touch trigger, a hose and a wand.
Although the Roundup Fast Action weedkiller can be used on hard surfaces, it sometimes leaves a white stain that is hard to remove but not impossible.
If you’re looking for a convenient weedkiller to use, this is the one for you. You just need to pick it up from your local garden centre or nursery, take it home and use it.
While the products in this review of wildlife-friendly weedkillers may seem to be very similar, there are some important differences. In this Buyer’s Guide, we tell you about the main features to look for. They are usually mentioned on the label on the back of the bottle.
The first thing to look for is a list of ingredients on the bottle. None of the weedkillers in our review had a formal list. Some have the ingredients written on the label but in various places. Only one had both the active ingredient and what was used as the solution. You need to go to the manufacturer’s website to find out what the ingredients are, and even then most websites don’t have the full list.
This is one industry that obviously doesn’t advertise what’s in the bottle which is why a mix of white vinegar, salt and washing-up liquid is worth considering.
What you’re mainly looking for is the base or active ingredient. Most of the time its glyphosate, and there’s some debate about whether this chemical is safe for humans and pets. At the moment the majority of scientists and scientific reports seem to think that it’s non-carcinogenic. Please see the discussion in my FAQs for more information.
How the weedkiller is packaged
Some weedkillers come in a bottle with a pouring spout while others come with a hose and spray nozzle. Still, others come in a pre-measured tube that you just add to a litre of water. It’s up to you how much you want to get involved with measuring the concentrate and finding a sprayer or spray bottle big enough.
What the weedkiller kills
The first distinction between weedkillers is whether they are selective or nonselective. Selective weedkillers kill only a particular range of plants or grasses and are mainly used on lawns while nonselective ones kill all the vegetation the liquid touches. All the pet-friendly weedkillers in this review article are nonselective, so be very careful about where you point the sprayer. Avoid lawns, they will all kill the grass!
The next distinction is the plants that the weedkiller can kill. Most of the weedkillers list the same annual and perennial weeds – including grasses, docks, nettles, willowherb, dandelion, bindweed, nettles, etc. – which is to be expected because they’re all nonselective. But some also list tree trunks and growing trees as well. The online reviews show that some brands of pet-friendly weedkillers work better on some types of weeds.
Where and where not to use it
If you want to kill the moss on your paving slabs or the weeds growing through the cracks on your driveway, read the label to be sure that you can use the solution on hard surfaces. Most pet-friendly weedkillers say you can, although one of those we reviewed made it clear that the surface can’t be impermeable. In that case, the solution could run off and touch plants you don’t want it to.
Other than that, you can use the weedkiller on whatever plants are growing where you don’t want them. Just don’t get any of it on your lawn.
How to use the weed killer
Ready to use or concentrated?
Some weedkillers come ready to use and you just use the attached sprayer or put the solution into your own sprayer. Others come as a concentrate that you measure out and mix with water. Read the instructions carefully to know how much concentration to use to how much water. The success of the weedkiller is often related to how accurately you carry out this step.
How to apply it
Most of the weedkillers require you to use a sprayer, so make sure that you buy one as well if you don’t already have your own. One of the products in this review offers an alternative application method too, using a watering can. As always, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for a successful application.
Most weedkillers should be applied when the weeds are actively growing and have enough leaves to absorb the spray. Established perennial weeds should be treated at the start of their flowering period. Apply the solution on dry, windless days when no wet weather is forecast for the next few days. Use your weedkiller at the right time for the best results.
How often should you use it?
This is an important distinction to look for between weedkillers because it differs between brands. Some say to wait a certain length of time between applications for example 7 days, while others say to apply only once a year or every 3 months. The annual application is because, if you apply it more often, the active chemicals can build up in the soil and harm it.
How do you kill weeds without harming pets?
- You read the back of the bottle of weedkiller to make sure it says that it’s suitable to use around pets and animals. It’s usually safe when the weedkiller has dried on the leaves of the weeds. You can also select one of the weedkillers in this review.
- You can make your own weedkiller by using food and household ingredients. Simple ingredients such as white vinegar, salt and a little dishwashing liquid together can kill weeds. (See our recipe under the review for Golden Swan vinegar.) Other natural weedkillers to use are boiling water or lemon juice. Search for “natural weedkillers” on Google.
Is Roundup pet friendly? Is glyphosate dangerous to dogs?
People can’t agree on the answer to this. The main ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate which is the most widely used herbicide in the world. It’s used by farmers, as well as professional and amateur gardeners. Some countries, such as Luxembourg and Thailand, have already banned its use and others are going to do so in the coming years. That being said, many countries still use it.
The World Health Organisation has said that it is “probably carcinogenic to humans”. However, the Environmental Protection Agency in the US has stated that glyphosate is safe when used according to the directions on the label. And regulators in Canada, Australia, Germany and New Zealand classify it as non-carcinogenic.
The Roundup weedkiller labels state that the weedkiller is safe for use around pets (and children) once it has dried. If you’re at all concerned about this, consider making your own weedkiller from natural products.
Killing your weeds is obviously not an exact science. A great deal depends on how you mix the weedkiller and the water, how you apply it, what the weather is on the day, what the weather is on the following day and how tough your weeds are. And all this is before you look at the quality of the weedkiller itself.
This review of weedkillers that aren’t harmful to pets has presented different options, including making your own solution. They do sound somewhat similar but the differences are in how you mix them, what containers they’re in and whether they come with a spray nozzle. Most of the weedkillers here give different times for seeing your first result, though online reviews have shown that that’s often a hit-or-miss prediction.
My Best Pick of these weedkillers is the organic ready-to-use WeedKil Fast Acting Weed Killer. A single application of this weedkiller kills most weeds and I have seen results within a few hours.
The runner-up spot had to be this Golden Swan White Vinegar mixed with salt and washing-up liquid. White vinegar features in a number of recipes for homemade weedkillers that are pet-friendly, environmentally friendly and biodegradable. This is something I have used many times, especially on large areas.
Last update on 2023-11-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API