Your dog spends much of its time in your garden, and as much as you want the garden to look good, you need to use products that won't harm the dog. Herbicides, or weed killers, are on the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals top 10 list of pet poisons of 2010. Get rid of unwanted garden growth using dog-friendly grass and weed killers. You can buy organic products that specify the ingredients, or you can use homemade products with all-natural, household ingredients.
Check with your veterinarian before using any of these methods around your dog.
Boiling water is the most basic weed and grass killer, and is safe for animals as long as they are not close by when you use it. Pour boiling water directly onto the base of the plants at the roots, repeating daily until you see results.
Vinegar contains high acidity levels and will kill anything that it is poured on. Household vinegar with 5 per cent ascetic acid solution might not be strong enough, so use vinegar with a strength of 15 to 20 per cent for the best results. Spray it onto the leaves and stalks, or pour it onto the roots in the area you want to clear. Avoid using it on soil you plan to use for other plants, as it might make the area sterile for some time.
Sugar and salt both can be used to kill weeds. They are effective when sprinkled around the roots of the plants. Mix in some chilli pepper to keep ants away from the sugar.
"Roundup" is a glyphosate-based commercial weed killer that is non-toxic to dogs, but it must dry before the animal comes into contact with it. During laboratory tests at Cornell University animals were fed glyphosate for up to two years, without any negative side effects.
"Burn-Out II" is another commercial product that contains only pet-safe ingredients, including citrus oil, clove oil, mineral oil, gum arobic and water. Although the product is biodegradable and safe for pets, it might cause allergic reactions in some animals.
"Scythe" is a concentrated spray composed of pelargonic acid and related fatty acids. The product is mixed with water and sprayed on grasses and broadleaved weeds to suppress new growth. It is non-selective and care should be taken not to spray it on other plants, as it will kill anything it comes into contact with.
Homemade Weed Killer Recipes
Recipes are available for a variety of homemade weed killers. One makes use of 5 tsp of vinegar and the juice of a lemon mixed with 1 litre of water and 5 tsp of salt, and suggests the use of a spoonful of dishwashing liquid so the mixture will stick to the plants. Another recipe calls for a bottle of cheap gin or rubbing alcohol and the juice of two lemons.
Pull out or cut back the weeds and grass, and then sprinkle corn meal on the area to prevent future growth. If the unwanted growth is on a paved pathway, use your edge trimmer to cut it down. Pour gasoline into the cracks where the weeds were. Keep your dog away from the area for 24 hours, and then wash down the pathway with clean water to remove the smell of the gasoline.
- American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Animal Poison Control Center -- Top 10 Pet Toxins of 2010
- Petlane: Pet Friendly Weed Killer
- Moscow Food Co-op: "Vinegar as an Organic Weed Killer"; July 2002
- Cooperative Extension Offices of Cornell University: Extension Toxicology Network - Glyphosate
- The Weekend Gardener: Burnout Weed Killer
- Growers Solution: Scythe by Dow Herbicide Concentrate