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Pet-Friendly Lawn and Weed Killer

By Kimberly Sharpe ; Updated September 21, 2017
Cats enjoy lying in landscape plants, but they can come into contact with pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides.
A cat laying in the garden. image by Saskia Massink from Fotolia.com

Pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers pose a danger to animals. Pets can come into contact with the toxic substances by ingesting, inhaling or skin penetration when frolicking in the lawn and garden areas. Dogs and cats lick their paws and other skin areas, which makes accidental ingestion extremely easy. Natural lawn-care products offer safety around pets and provide the gardener with a suburb product for the landscape.


A leading cause of pet poisoning is snail or slug baits and insecticides applied to the garden or lawn, according to Dog Times. Snail and slug baits contain metaldehyde. When a pet accidentally ingests the substance, it causes tremors, seizures and death if not treated. Pesticides containing disulfoton pose a special danger to dogs and cats because the substance is often mixed with blood meal, which makes it exceptionally palatable. Disulfoton causes intestinal upset, seizures and death when ingested.


Slug and snail bait that contains ferric phosphate are far less toxic to animals. Other natural alternatives include making homemade snail and slug traps from beer and pans buried in the soil. Sprinkling corn gluten on the lawn and garden also works as a natural herbicide. Aged manure and bone meal make ideal, non-toxic fertilizer choices.

Aquatic Pets

Applying excessive lawn fertilizers and herbicides can pose a serious danger to aquatic pet life in garden ponds. The chemicals run off with rainfall or irrigation and can easily kill fish. Care should always be taken when applying chemicals near a pond. Choose to fertilize lawns around ponds by utilizing the grass' own clippings instead of chemical fertilizer applications. Grass clippings spread throughout the lawn at the time of mowing help to naturally fertilize the lawn.

Natural Weed Killers

Choose to use natural weed killers in yards frequented by pets. Distilled vinegar applied directly to weeds is safe around pets and effective. Consider natural bug control by the release of predator insects into the garden. Ladybugs can be purchased at garden centers and are a natural predator to aphids instead of using an insecticide. Washing ornamental plants and lawns with a heavy spray of water every few days helps to remove numerous garden pests without utilizing pet harmful pesticides.

Natural Lawn Fertilizers

Besides grass clippings, other natural lawn fertilizers include seaweed or kelp drenches. Both are safe for use around pets. Wood ash also works well for greening up a lawn when applied lightly and watered in. The ash contains phosphate, potassium and trace elements.


About the Author


Based in Oregon, Kimberly Sharpe has been a writer since 2006. She writes for numerous online publications. Her writing has a strong focus on home improvement, gardening, parenting, pets and travel. She has traveled extensively to such places as India and Sri Lanka to widen and enhance her writing and knowledge base.