Tips to Prevent Dog Urine Spots on Your Grass
We’ve all wondered about it… Why does dog pee kill the grass? And is there anything we can do about it? We work hard on our landscaping and go to great lengths to make our yard look nice. No one wants to have patches of dead grass around their lawn.
Dog diets are high in protein, which produces high levels of nitrogen. Their urine contains a variety of nitrogen compounds which in and of itself does not kill the grass. (Nitrogen is actually the same thing we use in our fertilizer.) Dogs tend to go in the same locations repeatedly which increases the nitrates in certain areas. Female dogs tend to create circular patches of dead grass because of their squatting position which concentrates the urine in one spot. If you fertilize your lawn, your grass already has an elevated level of nitrates in it, so adding more can kill your grass.
Is there anything we can do about this?
Here are some tips to help improve your lawn:
Location – Train your dog to pee in specific areas that are not as visible, or even non-grassy. Maybe there’s a spot behind the garage that isn’t as visible to people walking by, or an area of dirt by the woods. You can also construct an area for this made of gravel, mulch or artificial turf. Give your dog treats to praise them for going in this area and encourage them to go back next time.
Dilute – After your dog pees, pour water immediately in the area. Grab the hose or a bucket of water and spray the area to dilute the urine. If the nitrates are not concentrated in one small area, this can actually work as fertilizer.
Limit Fertilizer – If you do use a fertilizer in your yard, be careful to not overdo it in the areas your dog urinates. You can actually avoid fertilizer all together in the dog’s potty areas, particularly if you’re spraying the areas with water to dilute the urine.
Hydrate – Encourage your dog to drink more water. Not only is this healthy for your dog, but the more they drink, the less concentrated the nitrogen in their urine will be.
Grass Type – Pay attention to the grass you select. Bluegrass and Bermuda grass seem to be the most sensitive to dog urine. Others like Ryegrass and Fescue seem to be less delicate.
There are dietary supplements and medications available that you can give to your dog to help save your yard, but these are generally not recommended. A dog’s natural body chemistry shouldn’t have to be altered for our benefit or convenience. We love our pets and want them to be happy and healthy. These supplements can have side effects such as crystals and stones because they alter the dog’s pH environment. They also have high levels of salt which can be problematic and create other health issues.
Owning a dog and having a beautiful lawn does take some extra thought and planning. But, with a little extra effort, you’ll see improvements in your yard. Your dog certainly loves grass… eating it, rolling in it, digging. The two of you can enjoy your lush yard together.