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Will Weed Killer Hurt Your Dog? All You Need to Know

Will Weed Killer Hurt Your Dog? All You Need to Know

Learning the answer to will weed killer hurt your dog is simple – yes. Any weed killer made from common toxins will harm your pets unless it is made from a pet-friendly solution. 

This way, you can still get the weed killing capabilities needed for a beautiful garden and lawn while keeping your pups safe as they run around.  

Wondering if Weed Killer can Kill a Dog?

The amount of weed killer your dog ingests has more to do with increasing the risk of death than anything else. 

If your pup walks up to a recent area where you have sprayed weeds and sniffs with a little lick, they will probably be okay (and likely learn a valuable lesson). However, if your dog gets a hold of the bottle and drinks a bunch of weed killer, it could cause severe problems and death.

A Few Words about Pesticides

Pesticides are created to destroy invasive plants like weeds or other harmful organisms that get in the way of cultivating plants to eat, enjoy, or save. There are different types of pesticides according to what is being prevented. 

Herbicides are primarily for weeds and plants, insecticides work for insects/bugs, fungicides are for unwanted fungus, and rodenticides are for mice/rats. There are more, but we are going to stick to herbicides in this post.

Is there a Weed Killer Safe for Dogs?

Yes! There are many pet-friendly weed killers designed to be safe for your pet. 

Most of these are also organic weed killers that help you avoid harmful toxins on plants you may wish to harvest for consumption. 

Two Basic Types of Herbicides to Avoid

Almost all weed killers will be bad for your pets unless they are organic and specifically designated safe for dogs on the side of the bottle. 

The two basic types of herbicides you will come across include:

  • Selective (Weed Killers) –  These are designed to work with specific weed species while leaving the rest of your crop relatively unharmed.
  • Non-Selective (Total Weed Killers) –  These eliminate all plant life in an area regardless of species.

blue tick beagle puppy

Other Chemicals that Can Harm Your Dog

While weed killers are manufactured herbicides designed to work with weeds, there are also other chemicals found in your backyard that could be harmful to your dog. 

It is worth knowing a bit more about:

  • Insecticides –  These are chemicals created to control the spread of insects around a target area by killing them or preventing them from reaching a location and engaging in destructive behavior.
  • Fungicide – These chemicals are specific to preventing the growth or killing of fungi species as well as the spores used to disseminate the species around a target area. Fungi can damage plants and animals.
  • Rodenticides – This is a common chemical used to kill or prevent infestations of rodents around a home or commercial space. They are often toxic and sprayed on a home’s interior and exterior.
  • Fertilizers – These are intended to help plants grow with added nutrients. However, some companies include toxic chemical additives to some species of plants, humans, and pets like dogs or cats.

What are the Health Risks if You use High Toxic Weed Killers

Continual exposure to weed killers that use a great deal of highly toxic substances has repercussions not only for your dog but also for you and your children. 

This is because the chemicals used are so dangerous that they can seep into your skin, watershed, and ingestible plant life. Such health risks include the following. 

Short Term Effects

Acute health effects include irrigation to the nose, throat, and skin, usually from a rash or burning sensation that leads to itching and blisters. Nausea is also a common symptom, followed closely by dizziness and diarrhea. You should be especially careful if you are dealing with asthma, as most weed killers are air-based applications.

Long Term Effects

Continual exposure to high-toxic chemicals in weed killers can be drastic. They include chronic issues like growing cancerous tumors, brand/nervous system damage, birth defects in pregnant women, infertility, damage to internal organs, and more. The main problem here is these health effects may not show up until weeks or months after exposure, so preventative measures are best.

Most Common Chemicals You Want to Avoid

Any weed killer using the following chemicals should be avoided for your dog’s health just as much as your own. 

There are plenty more on this list, but these are the most common you will come across at a local hardware or farming store.


A widely utilized herbicide that does work on weeds by blocking an essential enzyme for growth. This can cause immediate effects in dogs if ingested.


Used to control annual grasses and weeds growing among crops, but is slightly toxic to dogs through ingesting and some skin contact.


This herbicide may be okay for dogs, as long as they are not in the same general area when it is applied or if they do not ingest a large amount.


This is a dangerous weed killer that can cause many different cancers, including ovarian, thyroid, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and hairy cell leukemia.


This herbicide is commonly applied to vegetable crops and can lead to adverse health effects like cancer, birth defects, and more.

2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid

Cats and dogs known to ingest 2,4-D developed vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, drooling, staggering, or convulsions.

Few Tips on How to Properly use Organic Weedkillers

The first thing you want to do is find a true organic-certified product approved by the FDA. After that, you are looking for ones that deal with pre-emergent or post-emergent weeds. That is young versus fully grown weeds. The younger the weed, the easier it is to kill.

Most organic weed killers are contact herbicides, meaning they must cover the entire plant. That is another reason to use them on younger weeds where the plant is smaller. Organic weed killers work best in temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit when they are in full sunlight. The safest course is to wait 24-48 hours after applying organic weed killers before allowing your dog to play in that area of your yard.

Are there any Alternatives to Commercial Weedkillers?

Yes! Luckily there are many alternatives to commercial weedkillers made from organic materials that can be used throughout the year. Some are stronger than others and will not need complementary processes like hand weeding to ensure their effectiveness.

Your best bet is to visit a local nursery and talk to the owners. If they sell vegetables or edible plants, they will have at least heard of an organic option because of the popularity and awareness of chemical use by most consumers.

If you wish to avoid all commercial solutions, you can hand weeding, salt, boiling water, sugar, and cornmeal.


Hopefully, this valuable information answers can weed killer hurt your dog well enough for you to feel safe purchasing an organic alternative for your yard. 

In today’s marketplace, it is surprisingly easy to find something safe for your dog, and that effectively removes weeds from your lawn. You may pay a few more dollars up front, but the lowered risk is well worth the cost. Good luck!


My name is James. A passionate veterinarian who is dedicated to providing the best care for all animals. With a gentle touch and a kind heart, I have earned a reputation as a trusted and respected member of the animal healthcare community.