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Weeds are annoying for any homeowner. Whenever you seem to get on top of a weed problem in one area of your property, several more spring up in another. Worse, you're paranoid that your beloved children or pets are going to stray from the house and accidentally ingest some of the toxic chemicals within conventional weed killers.
You've got every right to be concerned. Until recently, pet safe weed killers didn't even exist, and it's still the case that most weed killers on the shelves of your local garden center contain some very nasty man-made chemicals indeed. Worse yet, many claim to be pet-friendly weed killers when, in fact, they're not.
So how can you find the best pet safe weed killer?
What Should You Look for in the Best Pet Friendly Weed Killer?
Ingredients that are Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS)
Biodegradable and Non-Persistent in the Soil
Organic or Naturally Derived From
Non-Irritating to the Skin
Not Tested on Animals
Start by Assessing the Weed Killer's Ingredients
It's no secret that the chemicals put in weed killers are not good for us, and they're even worse for our four-legged companions. Thus, the best place to start when trying to find a pet-friendly weed killer is with the ingredients label. Look specifically for any signs of ingredients such as glyphosate, 2,4-D (Agent Orange), atrazine, picloram, and dicamba.Why, you ask? Because they are all toxic chemicals. While they all have their problems, let's focus on the two most widely-used chemicals (glyphosate, 2,4-D) as they both have a long and checkered history.
Dangers of Glyphosate and 2,4-D
This weed killing substance may seem unfamiliar to you because you probably know it by another name; Roundup. Glyphosate is the active ingredient within Roundup, and it has been deemed 'likely carcinogenic' by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
The parent company responsible for Roundup, Monsanto (which is in turn owned by Bayer), has already lost numerous cases in court against individuals who have contracted cancer due to consistently using Roundup products. The company has already amassed $2.4 billion in damages payments judged against them. That figure is set to rise further as thousands of individuals have only just filed suit.
As a result, dozens of countries have now banned the use of glyphosate. In the U.S., many states, counties, and cities have taken similar action. Given these are so dangerous to humans, pets are likely to feel even worse side effects from coming into contact with glyphosate.
The chemical 2,4-D was used in the Vietnam War as one of the active ingredients in Agent Orange, a defoliating agent to remove the cover for soldiers hiding in the trees. Today, the issues plaguing glyphosate also apply to 2,4-D.
Studies have shown its links to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and on pets specifically, the chemical has been found to cause Canine Malignant Lymphoma. It's also linked to diarrhea, loss of appetite, and sickness in animals when ingested by them.
Always Read the Label
Bearing this information in mind, you must read the labeling when trying to ascertain whether a weed killer is safe for pets or not. You shouldn't see any of the chemicals named above. If you do, avoid that weed killer at all costs as it's toxic to your pets.
Look for organic and natural ingredients. Many organic and 100% natural products will have badges on the product to delineate that this is the case. Similarly, you want to opt for environmentally-friendly phosphate-free products because they are difficult to break down pollutants that could affect your local water supply, particularly if sprayed near watercourses.
As badges will make you aware of a product's natural credentials, warning labels will do the opposite. If a weed killer has 'Toxic' or 'Corrosive' labels, you can safely assume that it's not pet friendly.
Evaluate How the Pet-Friendly Weed Killer Works
Pre-emergent vs. Post-emergent
Once you've taught yourself what to look out for in terms of ingredients, you need to think about which type of pet safe weed killer you would like to use. In this regard, you've got two options. You can go for a post-emergent treatment or a pre-emergent treatment.
With a pre-emergent weed killer, you are applying the solution as a preventative measure. These types of weed killers prevent germination, but they do nothing to stop the weeds you already have in your garden.
However, with post-emergent weed killers, you can apply the treatment to the visible weeds and kill them almost immediately. By applying to leaves, the plants take the solution back down to their root systems, helping to prevent regrowth.
Selective vs. Non-Selective
Once you've decided on the type of weed killer you want to go for, you need to understand the difference between selective and non-selective products. Selective products only affect weeds and leave other plants (such as your lawn grass) alone.
By contrast, non-selective weed killers will damage or kill anything they come into contact with. For that reason, non-selective weed killers are great for large surface areas you want to rid of weeds such as your driveway, back yard patio or walkways leading up to the house.
Most natural and pet safe weed killers are non-selective, meaning you have to take care when spraying around your lawn and other plants you want to protect.
Decide on Your Preferred Weed Killing Methodology
When many people think of weed killers, they think of a spray bottle. But that doesn't have to be the case; there are many options. You could lay down a weed control barrier in your borders, or pour boiling water over weeds in problem areas. But of course, alternative methods come with their own drawbacks.
For instance, installing a weed control barrier, for example, is a laborious process that requires time and patience. On the other hand, using a method like boiling water presents a danger to your kids and pets. Scald burns from hot water comprise 35% of overall burn injuries admitted to U.S. burn centers, with 61% of these incidents involving children less than five years old.
Spraying is by far the most cost-effective and time-efficient method for killing weeds. Thus, it makes sense to look for a liquid-based solution for spraying the problem areas of your garden.
Pet Safe Weed Killer FAQs
What Do You Need to Apply a Pet Safe Weed Killer?
As mentioned, the highest-performing and time-efficient products are spray-based, which means you'll need a spray applicator on hand to apply the weed-killing solution to the offending plants. You can use a spray bottle for small areas, or you can invest in a specialized knapsack sprayer if you have a large surface area to cover.
How Do Pet-Friendly Weed Killers Work?
All-natural ingredients such as white vinegar and rock salt can combine to kill weeds on contact. They work in the same ways as man-made products because they use the plant's natural transport system to infect the plant at the leaf before traveling down to the root system to eradicate it.
Which Weeds Can All-Natural Solutions Kill?
Just because these products are safe for pets that doesn't mean they aren't just as good. They can kill pretty much anything that their chemical counterparts can such as:
- Dollar Weed
- White Clover
This list is by no means exhaustive, and for any weed not listed, you can always experiment to see how effective a weed killer safe for pets is.
Shall I Spray Pet Safe Weed Killer Everywhere?
No. Most pet safe weed killers are non-selective; they kill anything they come into contact with. That's great if you're treating a driveway, but be extremely careful when it comes to treating areas such as your lawn, as it will also kill your grass. You may want to look out for a specific selective weed killer for your lawn areas.
Are Products Such as Roundup Safe for Pets?
No. Many leading brands of weed killers are not safe around pets or children for that matter. They contain harmful chemicals such as glyphosate and should be avoided at all costs.
What Precautions Should I Take When Spraying Pet-Friendly Weed Killer?
Just because a solution is not toxic to animals, that doesn't mean it won't cause any issues (such as an upset tummy) if they come into contact with an all-natural weed killing solution. Therefore, it's sensible to wait at least 24 hours before letting pets get back into recently-treated areas.
When Should I Spray Pet Safe Weed Killer?
You should avoid spraying weed killers when it's wet, as the concentration of the solution will become diluted and not as effective. That goes for morning dew too. When using vinegar-based, weed killers wait until a dry, sunny day to apply for maximum impact.
Buy the Best Pet Friendly Weed Killer You Can Trust
Here at Eco Garden Solutions, we have worked tirelessly to develop a weed killer that is safe for pets and children. Our 100% natural ingredients get to work fast and can clear large surface areas of persistent weeds permanently.
Our Eco Garden Pro solution draws on the natural weed-killing properties of white vinegar, organic rock salt, biodegradable plant activators, and fermentation-derived co-factors, which are all designed to eliminate weeds and grass effectively and quickly. It can kill all manner of weeds, even including stubborn plants such as moss and poison ivy.
Finally, by using materials that are Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the FDA, we can ensure that your family, friends, and beloved pets are always protected from harmful pesticides, herbicides, and ecotoxins.
Better yet, if you are ever unsatisfied with any of our products, for whatever reason, you can return immediately for 100% money back, GUARANTEED!
So what are you waiting for? Try our Eco Garden Pro range of pet and children safe weed killers today!
Shop Eco Garden Solutions Product Range
This may be a silly question but if I spray your organic weed killer on the weeds and the soil, how long does it take to break down? If after 48 hrs of the initial spraying, I til and mix the soil and spray the soil again, will that be ok to do?