Does Pet Safe Weed Killer Really Exist?
The reason you might be finding pet-safe weed killers difficult to come by and why many weed killers leave their descriptions so vague, is because creating a weed killer that is completely non-toxic to pets is incredibly difficult.
To be effective, standard weed-killers need to contain all kinds of powerful chemicals and creating a solution without them just wouldn’t be as effective.
The most common chemical agents found in weed killer are:
- 2, 4-D (Trimec)
The most common of these is glyphosate, as it is a chemical associated with being the fastest and most effective at treating weeds. It is a complete herbicide which destroys all plant life and so you’d need to be careful when applying it, as it would wipe out any nearby flowers and shrubs too!
Some of the most popular weed killers in the world such as Roundup and Weedol use glyphosate as one of their main ingredients, and it’s a chemical widely used in the growing of our own crops.
Whether glyphosate weed killers are actually safe for pets or not is something that is often disputed, as the current data surrounding their effects is not large enough to draw a concrete conclusion.
However if you value the health of your pet above all else, there’s enough to suggest it isn’t the greatest option.
Although there is nothing yet to suggest using such products can be fatal, there are suggestions it can make pets quite ill.
Levels of glyphosate in weed killers are actually so low that it’s unlikely to be toxic for animals, and given how abundant the use of Roundup is, we’d probably be suffering from an international pet death pandemic if this was the case.
However, the surfactants used in combination with the glyphosate in order for it to effectively penetrate into plants are what can become irritants to animals.
If eaten while wet, it can cause skin irritations and gastro-intestinal upset.
This means if you can keep your pets out of the garden while the weed killer dries, they are probably fine to use, but this can be very difficult, especially if you own cats!
This is also the case for Trimec and Sethoxydim based products too, with Trimec having a worse effect on dogs and Sethoxydim being known to cause anemia in pets.
Features To Look Out For
If you can find a glyphosate free product, it’s likely to be far less harmful if accidentally ingested, as some of the surfactants needed for it to work will no longer be included.
However, this is likely still going to have things in it which aren’t 100% healthy for your pet, and so it’s recommended you keep them away from gardening areas after it’s use until things dry
It sounds bizarre that you can kill weeds with vinegar, but when you remember vinegar is often used as a homemade cleaning tool, it’s perhaps not so surprising.
This is not the kind of vinegar you chuck on your salad or chips either, so put the balsamic down before you go dressing those weeds with a nice drizzle.
You’ll instead need to look out for solutions containing at least 10 – 30% for it to be effective.
For our money, it’s undoubtedly the ultimate form of pet-safe weed killer.
Weed Removing Tools
Rather than pouring chemicals all over your garden, why not physically remove weeds with a weeding tool?
These days such devices are far more advanced than a simple root puller, with weed burners being a particularly good choice.
Although it’s slightly more effort, it’s a superb eco-friendly option which doesn’t require you to keep pets at bay!