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Is your dog’s urine killing your grass?

Sep 9, 2019 | Garden, Tips and Tricks

Have you ever experienced having a dog urinate on your grass and then finding a dead yellow spot in the grass the next day?  All of us pet owners have probably experienced that before which made me curious as to why this happens.  

This happens because dog urine is rich in nitrogen, which is known to kill grass when concentrated amounts collect over time. The effects of dog urine on your lawn are similar to that of a nitrogen-rich liquid fertilizer.

A small amount of fertilizer makes your yard healthy, but too much will kill your lawn. To prevent burns, you need to reduce the amount of nitrogen that comes into contact with your grass.  We all know when this happens, your yard does NOT look healthy.  I’ve researched some ways that can help with this problem.  

Fertilize your lawn less, or not at all, in areas where your dog urinates.
Fertilized lawns may already have as much nitrogen as they can handle. Even a small amount of nitrogen in dog urine may be all that is needed to burn the lawn.

Spray areas where your dog urinates with water.
Pouring water on the area after your dog urinates will help to dilute the urine and lessen the effects of the nitrogen on your lawn.

Encourage your dog to drink more water.
The more your dog drinks, the less nitrogen will be concentrated in the urine and the less damaging it will be to your lawn. It will also be healthier for your dog as well.  Have you ever noticed that more burnt spots appear after letting your dog out first thing in the morning?  This is because their urine has not been diluted by drinking all day.  It is the first urination of the day with high levels of nitrogen.  

Replant affected areas with a more urine-resistant grass.
Ryegrass and Fescue are the most urine-resistant type of grass, while Kentucky Bluegrass and Bermuda are the most sensitive.   I found this interesting because who would have thought the type of grass is more resistant and hardy over another type which is not.  

Feed your dog a dietary supplement.
Certain dietary supplements, such as Green-UM and Drs. Fosters and Smith “Lawn Guard,” bind with the nitrogen in the urine, making it less harmful to your lawn.  I have never tried any supplements so I cannot speak to these recommendations.  I would talk with my vet first before trying any.  

Train your dog to eliminate in one area.
Some products, such as the Simple Solution Pee Post, are impregnated with pheromones to encourage your dog to pee on or near them.  Designating an area for your dog to eliminate in will save the remainder of your yard.

Apply a lawn repair treatment.
Some treatments, such as Dogonit Lawn Repair Treatment, contain organic enzymes with soil cleansers to flush the salts from the root zone.

We have always had more than one dog at a time and I automatically assumed that the females were the culprits.  But after researching this topic, I found that it doesn’t matter the gender of the dog. It’s all about the level of nitrogen in your dog’s urine.  The difference in the effect on your yard come from dilution. Most female dogs squat when urinating causing their urine to stay in a smaller area of the lawn and be concentrated more heavily there which can damage the grass more seriously. Males, however, generally lift their leg and spray a wider area when peeing. 

​Nitrogen happens to be one of the substances excreted when protein is broken down; the more protein your dog eats, the more nitrogen released. And the more nitrogen, the bigger chance your dog is killing your grass.

“Isn’t this picture funny?”  “Look at Jake’s face and look at Maggie looking at him”.  LOL. “They both are so expressive!”

Besides the Dogonit Lawn Repair Treatment recommended above, I went onto Amazon.com to find all natural products that are safe for you and your pet and found See Spot Run Lawn Protection.  It is 100% all natural and effective and 100% safe.  See Spot Run is a 100% USA made lawn care product.    The built in hose-end sprayer hooks to any standard garden hose and all you have to do is use a light spray as it is applied to the yard.  This product covers 5,000 square feet and is $29.99/bottle.  It even comes with a fertilization schedule.  Check out the product video here:

https://www.amazon.com/vdp/c8cb34fb106e45899e6e2398061fa15d?ref=cm_sw_em_r_ib_dt_of2QBTkyZwCTC

There are many products out there that you can “give” your dog but I would rather check with my vet first before I go out and buy anything on the market.  I don’t know enough about the products nor have I tried any but See Spot Run looks promising.  I would also discuss your pet’s diet with your vet. If you are experiencing lawn damage as a result of your dog’s urine, you might want to look at what you are feeding them.  

If you have had this problem and have found a product or products that have worked, please leave me a comment.  I would love hear about your experience.  

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