Tips to Prevent Dog Pee Killing Grass

Did you know that dog urine can damage your lawn? Dog pee contains different types of nitrogen and salt compounds that can burn grass and kill them.

However, this should not discourage you from owning dogs. After all, they are man’s best friend. Owning a dog while maintaining a lush lawn is possible. However, knowledge is key!

Most dogs love to play in the grass so it’s understandable if you allow your pet to run and play in your lawn.

But before you do that, it’s important to remember that if your dog pees everywhere, it won’t take long before you see ugly patches of brown grass or bare spots.

To avoid brown spots, you should understand how dog pee can damage your lawn and what you can do to prevent and fix it.

Why Does Dog Pee Kill Grass?

There’s a common misconception that dog urine is “acidic” and this is why dog pee kills grass. The truth is, the high levels of nitrogen in dog urine are responsible for turning your beautiful lawn brown.

While this compound promotes lawn growth, too much nitrogen is toxic to plants, causing discolouration and even death.

Curious to know why dog urine has high levels of nitrogen?

Is Dog Urine Causing Your Lawn Damage? copy

The answer lies in what your dog is eating.

If your pet’s diet is composed of high-protein dog food and dietary supplements, you can expect its urine and faeces to contain a high concentration of nitrogen.

Urea which is a form of nitrogen is produced when dogs digest proteins.

Is Dog Urine Causing Your Lawn Damage?

If you see brown spots on your lawn, you can’t blame them all for dog pee. Lawn grass can turn brown for a variety of reasons including excessive foot traffic, fungal disease, poor soil condition and grub infestation.

It’s important to know what dog urine damage looks like so that you can fix it before you get dead grass. Dog urine spots can appear in either brown spots or dark green spots.

Is dog urine causing your lawn damage?

If the dog urine contains too much nitrogen while the soil is already fertilised, you may see brown spots in your lawn. 

However, the discolouration is gradual. At first, the grass turns yellowish before turning brown in colour. You will also see a dark green ring on the edge.

Sometimes, dog urine leaves dark green spots instead of brown. This happens when the soil is unfertilised or when it does not have enough nitrogen in it. In this case, the dog’s urine helps fertilise the lawn, giving the grass darker green colour.

Are Female Dogs The Only Culprit?

It may seem that female canines are behind dog spots. Others think that there is a huge difference between the chemical makeup of male and female dogs’ urine and that the former is more toxic.

You will be surprised to know your green lawn could suffer from yellow spots or brown spots regardless of your pet’s gender. All dogs that squat when they urinate can cause grass damage.

Female dogs tend to squat more than male dogs. The same is true for puppies and elderly dogs. Some adult male dogs also squat, but generally, they pee on vertical objects such as posts, fences and trees to “mark” their territory.

Ways To Prevent Dog Pee Killing Grass

1. Walk Your Dog

You can avoid getting grass damage from dog urine by walking your canine companion in the neighbourhood.

Walking your dog is a good exercise for you and your dog. It is an inexpensive and healthy way of protecting your lawn from urine damage.

The best time to take your dog out for a walk is in the morning and after eating and drinking as these are also the times when dogs will most likely pee.

Walk Your Dog

The best time to take your dog out for a walk is in the morning and after eating and drinking as these are also the times when dogs will most likely pee.

2. Train your dog to pee in a designated area in your lawn

Some dog owners are able to successfully train their dogs to urinate in a designated spot instead of allowing them to pee anywhere they want.

A good spot would be somewhere where brown spots are less noticeable. You can also choose an area that is covered with gravel instead of grass.

We understand that training pets can take a lot of effort. There are different methods such as positive reinforcement that could help you train your dog to pee or potty in a specific area on your lawn. 

You can also try a dog pee post.

A Dog Pee Post

3. Change your dog’s diet

What you feed your dog can have a tremendous impact on the nitrogen levels in their urine. Here are some tips that you can try to adopt:

  • Keep your dog hydrated. Water is not only healthy but it will also dilute the nitrogen content in dog pee.
  • Introduce more fresh proteins rather than processed food. Fresh protein generally produces urine with lower nitrogen content. 
  • Try Dog Rocks. This product is designed to filter and neutralise impurities in the water that generally contributes to the nitrogen and salt content of dog pee.
  • Consider feeding your dog wet food. It is generally a better option for dogs with urinary tract problems.

Consult your veterinarian first before changing your dog’s food and overall diet. Your veterinarian can recommend the right diet for your dog’s health.

4. Mow your entire lawn higher

Mowing your lawn a bit higher could help prevent spots from dog pee. The taller the grass, the more established its roots. This gives the grass a better chance of surviving urine burn.

Mow Your Lawn Higher

Additionally, tall grass can also cover dog pee damage. Even if there are dead patches in your lawn, they may not be that noticeable when there are other tall grasses covering them.

The ideal mowing height to protect grass from dog pees varies depending on the variety you have:

If you have a different variety of grass, you could consult a lawn care professional for the ideal height to mow to cover your dog’s pee.

How To Fix Urine Spots

While prevention is better than fixing dog urine damage, it helps to also learn what you can do in case you see dog urine spots in your yard.

1. Water the spot thoroughly

Right after your dog pees, water the same spot thoroughly to dilute the nitrogen in the pee spot. You can use a watering can or spray bottle, but the best option is a water hose.

Identifying The Weeds In Your Garden

Be generous with the water. The more water you can use to flush the dog’s urine, the better as it allows you to distribute the nitrogen in the surrounding soil.

2. Use baking soda solution

This solution is a natural way of fixing yellow spots on the lawn. Yellow grass is not yet dead so you may be able to save it by applying a baking soda solution.

To prepare the solution, simply add a cup of baking soda per gallon of water. Pour it into the affected grass.

The solution neutralises the high concentration of nitrogen and this could potentially save the grass.

3. Remove dead grass

If your grass turns brown and is already dead, the first thing you need to do is remove it.

Identifying The Weeds In Your Garden

Apart from being an eyesore, dead patches could also weaken the grass around it, causing more to die.

4. Prepare the area for new grass

It’s also important to till the soil in the same area where the dead grass was. Tilling aerates the ground in preparation for planting new grass.

Urine spots in the middle of a lush green lawn are unsightly. Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent dog pee damage.

If the lawn damage gets out of hand, the best thing to do is to contact your lawn care provider to assist you. They can recommend the best course of rejuvenating your backyard.

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