How Long to Keep Dog Off Grass After Weed Killer

How Long to Keep Dog Off Grass After Weed Killer?

Pets and lawns go together perfectly for most homeowners, but having a perfect lawn isn’t worth putting your pet’s health at risk. Many weed killers, which are also known as herbicides, contain toxic chemicals that can be harmful to dogs. Today, I’ll reveal how long to keep your dog off the grass after you put down weed killer.

The general rule is to keep your dog off a lawn for at least 48 hours after you have applied weed killer. However, there are some other factors that come into play. Also, there are some safer alternatives to eliminate this need to keep your dog from its favorite play space.

Dogs are very sensitive to the chemical compounds that are present in many weed killers.

Inhalation or skin contact with these chemicals can cause irritation and even nausea, vomiting, and seizures. There may be other more serious and long-term effects, too.

Trust and Accuracy Information

This article was last updated on by Lawn Chick Owner Sarah Jameson
Article content reviewed for accuracy by Horticulturist Arthur Davidson, A.S.

What Is Dangerous About Weed Killers?

The most dangerous elements in weed killers are the chemicals that are used to kill broadleaf plants or grasses. What is dangerous about weed killers is that they remain active on the plant until they are fully absorbed.

The Dangers of Weed Killers on Dog Health

Different weed killers have slight variations in how they’re absorbed by plants. However, the general rule is that it can take up to 48 hours before a weed killer will be completely absorbed.

Weed killers that are absorbed through the roots take longer before dogs can be let loose on the lawn. Foliar weed killers, on the other hand, are absorbed through the grass blades and so they’re a faster alternative, as long as the weather lets them be absorbed.

Being aware of the dangers of weed killers will help you not only make your lawn safer for your dog but also for anyone else who uses the lawn.

Dogs aren’t the only animals that are susceptible to lawn chemicals. Other pets such as cats, and wild animals like birds, can also be affected by the chemicals.

It’s always best to play on the side of caution. You should understand what you can do to mitigate the risk of chemical injury. is reader supported. If you make a purchase after clicking a link, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Others That Weed Killers May Impact

Dogs aren’t the only animals that weed killers can negatively impact. Other pets, such as cats, birds, and other animals, may also suffer from skin irritation or intoxication from pesticides.

And if you have kids, you’ll want to keep them away from the lawn for at least 48 hours as well.

Pets That Weed Killers May Impact

While weed killers target weeds, they can still be dangerous if ingested or inhaled. In some cases, the chemicals in weed killers may also cause allergic reactions in your family members.

Weed killers contain harsh chemicals that can cause potential harm to both animals and humans.

Being aware of the dangers posed to your kids, your pets, and local wildlife can help you to mitigate exposure and also risk.

Understanding the Impact, Planning Ahead

It’s important to remember when you apply anything to your lawn that kids and pets spend more time in contact with your grass than anyone else living in your household. In the warmer seasons your pets and kids may spend extended periods of their day in and on your turf.

When it comes to keeping your kids off the lawn, it can be a possible to figure out how to keep them away from the chemicals.

If your kids love to play on the lawn, taking them to a park can be a good alternative to consider while the grass is drying. You can also schedule lawn applications and apply herbicides just before going away for a weekend trip or holiday to minimize exposure.

Be proactive in protecting your pets and family, so you have peace of mind and keep everyone safe.

How Does Each Type Of Weed Killer Affect Dogs?

There are quite a few weed-killer brands on the market that target varying forms of plants.

The variation in ingredients can make it difficult to work out exactly what products are harmful to your canine friends. So, getting a good idea of what chemicals can affect them is crucial to their health.

How Does Each Type of Weed Killer Affect Dogs

If you have to use any of the following ingredients, it’s important to understand exactly how they can harm your pet so that there is more clarity on why you should keep your dog off the lawn until it is safe to do otherwise.

Here are some of the most common chemicals to look out for and their effect on dogs.

Diquat Dibromide

Diquat dibromide is a very effective herbicide that we use to control annual and perennial weeds.

It’s toxic to dogs primarily when ingested as it can cause damage to their stomachs and gastrointestinal tracts.

How Diquat Dibromide Affects Dogs

If high enough doses are ingested by your dog, it can cause convulsions and damage to the renal system.

If your dog comes into contact with diquat dibromide regularly each time you apply it to your lawn, the effects can become cumulative and severely harm your pet.

Playing it safe when it comes to this chemical is the best approach, as it can be very harmful to your pet if ingested and can also cause irritation on their skin.

The liquid version of this fertilizer can be especially hazardous if it gets into contact with your dog’s fur.


The most common symptoms of intoxication from glyphosate in dogs include vomiting, hypersalivation, and diarrhea.

How Glyphosate Affects Dogs

As a very potent chemical in most herbicide fertilizers, this can be one of the more dangerous ingredients to use if your dog is likely to come into contact with it, and it poses a lot of risks to people too (learn more at the National Library of Medicine website and on WebMD.

It’s an herbicide I do not recommend, but feel obligated to mention in this article due to how widely available and aggressively marketed it is.

Glyphosate-based fertilizers are very effective but can also be very harmful to your dog if you don’t take the necessary precautions to keep them off your lawn.

Waiting the appropriate amount of time allows for this chemical to become passive as it is absorbed by the plants, so taking that extra time can help keep your pet safe if you choose to use this chemical.

Dimethylamine Salt

Using dimethylamine salt can be a great way to remove common weeds from your lawn. However, understanding its toxicity is a very practical way to understand the importance of keeping your dog off the lawn.

How Dimethylamine Salt Affects Dogs

Dimethylamine salts can cause damage to a lot of the vital organs in your dog, including the liver, kidneys, central nervous system, and even their reproductive system.

Because of the adverse effects it can have on your canine friend, you should take as many precautions as possible to keep them away from your lawn while the chemical is active.

Chlorophenoxyacetic Acid

Compared to the other chemicals I’ve mentioned, chlorophenoxyacetic acid has relatively low toxicity to dogs. However, it can still cause irritation.

How Chlorophenoxyacetic Acid Affects Dogs

As this isn’t a primary ingredient in weed killers, it will often come in combination with another more harmful chemical.

Treating weed killers with chlorophenoxyacetic acid as harmful can be a good way to play on the safe side and keep your pet as healthy as possible.

While many of the above chemicals can be hazardous to your pets, keeping an understanding of the ingredients used and their effects is a good way to keep your dog safe.

At the end of the day, it’s your ability to keep your your pet off the lawn until it is safe that will determine the outcome of their health. Using alternatives to these chemicals is a good way to approach things and be much safer.

What Are Some Weed Killer Alternatives That Are Safer For Dogs?

Avoiding the use of harmful chemicals altogether is a good way to remove the associated risks to your dog. The difference between post-emergent herbicides (which kill existing weeds growing in your lawn) and pre-emergent herbicides (which block weeds from growing) is one of the most significant things to be aware of to protect your dog as much as possible.

What are Some Weed Killer Alternatives That are Safer for Dogs

Post-emergent herbicides are one of the most common forms of weed killers and work by killing the weeds that have already grown. These are often more dangerous to your pet as they can be absorbed through their skin or consumed when they lick themselves if their fur is contaminated.

The main reason post-emergent herbicides are more harmful to pets is that they work in a way that is more actively damaging to the weeds. That means that they need to contain stronger chemicals.

Switching to a quality pre-emergent herbicide is a much safer option as they are designed to work on the weeds before they have already emerged.

This means that the chemicals will be much weaker and less likely to do any damage if the dog comes into contact with them before absorption.

Being prepared early by using pre-emergent herbicides and weeding established plants by hand will make the process much safer for your pet and reduce the risk of harm.

How To Stop Herbicides From Harming Your Dog

Apart from keeping your dog off of the grass for 48 hours after applying weed killers, you can take additional precautions to ensure their safety.

How to Stop Herbicides from Harming Dogs

You should also consider your own safety during the application process of weed killers, as well as in the time following application.

Before protecting your dog, always take precautions for yourself by wearing the appropriate protective clothing and using the right equipment while applying weed killers.

I recommend wearing long pants and sleeves, a N95 mask or respirator, eye protection, gloves, and closed-toe shoes. You should also spray at a time where there is minimal wind.

Horticulturist Arthur Davidson, a member of our expert panel, suggests that “the use of a spray funnel is a great way to directly apply a post emergent herbicide, plus it will eliminate spray drift.”

It’s also a good idea to think about keeping your dog away from your lawn in general while spraying.

Isolating Your Dog Until Weed Killers Are Dry

Having a plan to keep your dog in a separate area away from the lawn while you apply the weed killer is a great way to keep them safe.

If possible, try and time your application of weed killers when your pet isn’t around. If not, create a separate area where they can stay away from the lawn while you work.

Having an area in your home in which your dog can be safely contained can be the most effective way to keep your pet safe. If your dog is allowed indoors, you can eliminate contact by only allowing them out to go for a walk.

If you are using a strong herbicide, consider seeking an alternative location for your dog to stay. Sending them to a close friend’s or relative’s house, can be the safest option.

Spraying Your Yard In Separate Parts

Dividing your yard into separate parts with temporary fencing can allow you to apply only small amounts of herbicides to parts of your lawn at a time. This can significantly reduce the amount of risk to your canine friend.

How to Protect Dogs from Weed Killers

If you only have a small lawn for your dog to use, this can be difficult. However, if you have a larger lawn, it can be more practical.

You can re-use temporary fencing each time you spray your lawn. So, you can make it part of your long-term solution.

Lawns can sometimes be divided between the front and back of the home. This allows for a practical space to separate your dog from the lawn which has been sprayed. It’s also easy to share with family members and for everyone to remember.

It may be slightly inconvenient to organize your dog in a separate part of the yard. However, it can be worth it to protect their health against harmful chemicals.

Switching To An Organic Solution

Yes, going organic can present a significant challenge. But choosing organic weed killer solutions can be a great way to protect your lawn (and family) for the longer term.

Organic Weed Killers

Not only are organic herbicides and pesticides a safer option, but they also tend to be longer-lasting.

There are a variety of options for organic fertilizers that can be used to treat weeds in your yard.

The main difference between these and synthetic fertilizers is that organic fertilizers aren’t as fast acting. You’ll usually have to apply them further in advance to ensure the best results.

Organic fertilizers utilize natural ingredients like compost, natural oils, manure, and other natural substances. They create an environment that lets grass flourish without weeds becoming a problem.

Solid and spray-on fertilizers are available with organic solutions. They can give you a lot of flexibility with how you’d like to apply them.

If you have children or pets, spray-on fertilizers are usually the best option. They don’t require you to come into contact with the ingredients.

Organic fertilizers do take longer to work, but they are much safer for your pet and the environment. That makes them a better choice for many homeowners in the long run.

Weed killers that target broadleaf weeds are absorbed through the leaves of the plants. They usually aren’t anywhere near as toxic as most synthetic herbicides.

It’s still best to keep your family and pets off the lawn for 48 hours. Organic herbicides aren’t as toxic, but they’ll likely still cause irritation.

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Organic Herbicide Spot Treatment

It’s not just full-lawn solutions that you can find in the organic market.

You can find great spot treatments, too. One that I like is Sunday Weed Warrior Herbicide Spot Treatment, which is a highly effective natural weed and grass killer.

Sunday Weed Warrior Herbicide

This product comes in a 2-pack, and it kills not only weeds but also moss and algae.

If you’re looking for something that’s more targeted (that won’t kill your grass along with your weeds), they also make a terrific iron-based selective broadleaf herbicide called Dandelion Doom, which I’ve used and recommend.

Sunday Dandelion Doom Selective Broadleaf Herbicide

Final Thoughts About Keeping Your Dog Off Grass After Weed Killer

So, now you know how long to keep dogs off the grass after weed killer. I recommend a minimum of 48 hours, with more time recommended if possible.

The tips and safety measures I’ve shared in today’s article can be a good way to protect your dog. However, understanding why these herbicides can be harmful to the environment and your pet is important.

It’s important to take extra steps to ensure that your pet stays safe. It will also help to protect your kids and local wildlife.

Taking preventative measures to keep your dog safe after applying a weed killer should be a top priority.

Taking extra protective steps such as using pre-emergent herbicides instead of traditional weed killer, isolating your dog until weed killers are dry, and switching to an organic solution can help reduce the risk of harm to your pet.

I hope that this article has given you a good understanding of the measures you can take to keep your dog safe after applying a weed killer. And if you’re looking for tips to grow a beautiful lawn with dogs tearing through your yard on a daily basis, check out my article on that topic right here before you go.

At Lawn Chick, I am committed to publishing accurate, useful, and trustworthy resources for my readers. As part of this commitment, I’ve invited subject matter experts to review our articles for accuracy. I invite you to read our editorial policy and publishing standards which outlines in detail how every article on this site is sourced, edited, fact-checked, and vetted.



Sarah Jameson’s blog, Lawn Chick, is read by over 2 million homeowners each year and she is regularly cited as an expert source of lawn care knowledge by major publications. Her goal is to meet you where you are, and help you achieve a yard you’ll be proud of. Ready to take the next step toward improving your lawn? Grab her free lawn care cheat-sheet: What to Do When - Take the Guesswork Out of Lawn Care, or upgrade your garage by browsing her favorite DIY lawn care products.

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