Why Your Dog’s Urine is Ruining Your Grass
Summer arrived and our backyard looked like someone dyed yellow circles into the grass! How embarrassing. We take pride in our yard and work hard at maintaining a lovely curb appeal. We had to get to the bottom of these polka dots and fix it, ASAP.
We knew it was our puppy’s urine causing the dead grass, but simply reseeding the areas wasn’t enough because as new grass grew, she would just pee in a new location. So here we are, sweaty, dirty, and frustrated - but we aren’t getting rid of the dog over burnt grass.
According to Spruce Pets, grass turns yellow where dogs urinate due to:
- Nitrogen: While nitrogen is an essential component of healthy soil, high concentrations of it can cause patches of grass to turn yellow or brown. Urine is naturally high in nitrogen, and nitrogen alone can cause grass burns. Lawn fertilizer also contains nitrogen. An excess of either or a combination of urine and fertilizer may result in an overdose of nitrogen, thus "burning" the grass.
- Salt: Salts and other compounds found in dog urine also contribute to grass damage. Highly acidic or alkaline urine may alter the pH of the soil, adversely affecting the grass in the portion of the yard where your dog goes.
- Gender: Some people believe that female dog urine causes more trouble to the lawn than male dog urine. However, the composition of a dog's urine doesn't vary that much between male and female dogs, especially when they're spayed or neutered. While it may seem that the urine itself is the cause, it's actually the way the dogs urinate. Female dogs can cause more damage to grass simply because most tend to squat and urinate in one place; many males lift a leg and "mark" upright objects in multiple locations.
How to End the Yellow Spots
While you can’t paint the old spots green, you can try to prevent new spots from showing up.
According to Doody Calls, Pet Wast Management:
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.
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.
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.
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.