How to protect your grass from dog urine
Dog owners and lovers alike will already know that dog urine and grass do not mix! We have some ideas that will help you protect your grass from dog urine damage and save yourself time and money. Fact: Did you know that female dogs’ urine is more damaging than a males?
Dog Urine Resistant Grass
We should start by sharing our view on dog urine resistant grass. There is no grass variety that we are aware of that can resist the damage from dog urine and we have been in the business for almost 200 years!
On a technical note, grass seed is resistant to urine but not the grass itself, this is perhaps where the confusion arises.
How to stop the urine damage?
You have a couple of tactics to prevent damage to your grass lawn from dog urine:
Healthy Keep your grass healthy, look at fertilisers that can help keep your grass in the best condition possible. This will not only help with potential damage but it will also keep your lawn looking great.
Water When a dog urinates on your grass, immediately use water to dilute the urine ideally with a hose or bucket.
Training Teach your dog to use a certain place in the garden as its toilet, it may take a little time but will be great in the long run as it will keep your grass and other areas of the garden clean. It will also leave you with only one area to clean each day.
There are products on the market that you can feed your pet, usually via their drinking water, to make the urine less damaging but we have no knowledge of how they work or if they work. We would also suggest researching any claims these products make and whether they can have any negative impact on your dog’s health.
Do not allow them access to the lawn at all. This option is likely the least useful as dogs love a good run and sniff around the garden!
To sum this all up, if possible stop your dog urinating on your grass all together, if not try reducing the damage done by watering it down.
How to repair urine burnt grass
It is worth repairing any existing damage which is an easy enough process, especially since you now have your damage prevention tactic in place.
• Remove the dead grass, use a rake / fork depending on the size of the damaged area
• Aerate the soil, basically use a fork to add small holes about 1cm deep
• Add some lawn seed, I would recommend FAMILY: Kids and Pets grass seed as it is ideal for dogs
• Flatten the soil down a little, be gentle but firm
• Water a little each day for the next couple of weeks (do not go overboard
Keep It Healthy
We have a series of guides that are designed to keep your grass healthy [ https://thegrasspeople.com/help-advice/keep-it-healthy ], have a look and see how they can benefit you.
Although we love our dogs, we do not always love the side effects to owning one. Case in point: brown “burn” spots on the lawn caused by our dog’s urine. They make the yard unsightly and seem just about impossible to get rid of. If you have multiple dogs, you can quickly find yourself with a dead lawn.
Why Does Dog Urine Turn Grass Brown?
Of course, not all dog’s urine does this, which just adds to the mystery dog owners.
Denise Petryk, DVM, Trupanion’s Director of Veterinary Services, has some advice on what pet owners can do to protect their lawn and keep their pet healthy and happy.
“The lawn turns brown primarily because of the nitrogen content in a dog’s urine,” explains Dr. Petryk.
So, if your dog has a high nitrogen content in his urine, he is going to turn your grass brown. Where does the nitrogen come from? According to Vetinfo.com, “Dog urine regularly contains high levels of nitrogen because of the protein they eat. The more protein your dog eats, the higher the nitrogen levels in the urine.”
Forget Your 401k if you Own a Home (Do This)
DO NOT switch your dog’s food to a low quality, low protein food just to save your lawn. There are other ways that will not compromise your dog’s health.
DO NOT put fertilizer on your burned lawn to try and bring it back. Fertilizer’s are also high in nitrogen, so you will just speed up the killing.
How to Prevent Brown Spots
“The safest approach to stopping those brown spots is to focus on the lawn and give it all the TLC it needs to be resistant to the urine. Focus on the soil pH levels, a watering schedule, aeration, fertilizers, and the type of grass you have,” suggests Dr. Petryk.
Dr. Petryk also provides the following tips to help prevent the brown spots:
• Use a leash to control where your dog urinates
• Water the lawn right after your dog urinates to dilute the nitrogen on the grass
• Dilute your dog’s urine by encouraging them to drink more water. You can use ice cubes, very dilute juices, diluted coconut water, or watered down food. However, the more your dog drinks, the more it will have to urinate, so beware of accidents in the house!
• Try a different high quality dog food. Sometimes this helps, as it might alter the pH or nitrogen content of the dog’s urine. Talk to your veterinarian about which diet could be best for your dog.
NaturalLawn of America, makers of safe and effective, organic-based lawn care since 1987, deals with dog spots all of the time with their lawn care clients.
Bryan Kratz says the one sure-fire way to prevent the spots is to “train your dog to pee somewhere else. If you create a patch of area out of gravel or mulch in your backyard for your dog to urinate and train them to pee there you will be able to prevent any future dog spot issues in the lawn.”
Like Dr. Petryk, recommends immediately diluting the area with water. Also, he cautions pet owners about products on the market that claim to fix the issue by either changing the dog’s diet or by applying the product to the lawn itself.
“Please, keep in mind the damage these products can cause to your pet; puppy paws absorb everything they step on, so what’s more important to you? The health of your dog or a few brown spots in the lawn?” he asks
There is one product on the market that is all-natural and does not involve chemicals of any way: Dog Rocks.
Originally discovered by an Aboriginal gardener, Dog Rocks®are 100 percent natural rocks mined from a deep Australian quarry. To use this one-of-a-kind product, just drop a few rocks in your dog’s drinking bowl and it filters out impurities such as nitrates, which is the cause of lawn burns. Laboratory testing proves this product is safe for dogs. While Dog Rocks can’t reverse the damage already done to the lawn, one bag will safely prevent new urine burn patches from appearing for two months.
Removing the Spots
There is no real way to remove the spots once they are there. In fact, as mentioned above, trying to use a fertilizer to get your grass to grow back will actually make it worse. It is best to just wait until the grass comes back on its own. In the meantime, try to not let your dog go in the same place, which will just continue to burn the grass, making it impossible for it to grow back.
About the Author
Based in Wilsonville, Ore., animal lover Kristina N. Lotz is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and works as a full time trainer. She is the founder of, A Fairytail House, a unique all-positive all-sport dog training facility that helps rescue dogs in her area and provides free seminars and training classes for the community. In her spare time, she trains and competes in herding, agility, obedience, rally, and conformation with her Shetland Sheepdogs. She smartly married a Veterinary Technician, who helps keep the fur kids happy and healthy, and provides a quick resource for articles.
Have you ever noticed that one patch of grass in your garden that’s inexplicably dry or burned?
Ever wondered how it got there?
Here’s a hint. Watch where your dog goes to the toilet. Is it in the spot with the dried up grass? Bingo! Guilty as charged.
Dog urine is like the arch nemesis to your humble backyard grass. The levels of Nitrate in your dog’s wee can cause some long term damage to grass every time your fur baby needs to do their business.
Why does dog urine burn into grass?
Dog wee actually has a variety of nitrogen compounds which burn your grass, leaving yellow patches behind. If your dog picks different spots on the lawn to do their business, then urine burn is unlikely to become an issue- BUT- if your dog has a favourite spot they always return to then you may be in trouble!
5 Ways to Stop Those Yellow Pee Spots
1. Go pee somewhere else!
The grass is suffering – there’s no more hiding the dry brown patches – but your dog insists on peeing on the same tuft of grass. If your dog insists on going to the toilet on your grass, you will probably need to train them to urinate in a grass free area of your yard. This might include beds of soil, sand, tanbark or gravel. If there’s a specific area of grass you’d prefer they use then encourage them to go to the toilet here instead. To train your dog to select a different area to go to the toilet, accompany them when they go outside to wee. When they make a bee line to the lawn, get their attention and shepherd them to an area without grass in your back garden. You could also use a citrus spray on the lawn to deter them from weeing in the area. This method is time consuming, so if you’re quite time poor, consider pee posts for the garden to encourage them to wee in the exact spot you want them to.
Pee posts contain dog enticing pheromones. Your dog will be attracted to the stick because of its bright yellow colour and once they’ve sniffed out the area, they’ll wee in that exact spot.
2. Use a Pet Loo
No, this doesn’t mean training your dog to sit on the toilet and do their business on command. The Pet Loo replicates a small, square patch of grass for your dog to pee on. It’s a sustainable and economic alternative to a big lawn in a backyard garden. Ideal for those who live in apartments or units with minimal outdoor space, the pet loo is super easy to install and maintain. It keeps odours to a minimum, so while it is best placed in an outdoor area or well ventilated space, it won’t stink up the laundry if you have no other option but to keep it inside.
Best of all, the pet loo comes in different sizes to suit your home and the breed of your dog. Training your dog to use the pet loo is easy because the grass on top looks and feels authentic. It’s hygienic and environmentally friendly so you can’t go wrong!
3. Use Dog Rocks
What on earth are dog rocks? While they’re relatively new to the market, Dog Rocks have actually been used for years! These rocks help to remove the nitrates in your dog’s drinking water. You are what you eat (and what you drink), so it makes sense that the reason why your lawn is not pushing up daisies can actually be traced back to your dog’s drinking water. Dog Rocks are non-invasive – in fact all you need to do is put them in your dog’s drinking bowl. As they sit in the water, removing any small amounts of rubbish, including Tin, Ammonia and Nitrates.
Best of all, while this is happening, the rocks do not alter the pH level of the water or your pets urine. Technically speaking, dog rocks are a unique natural remedy for turning your dog’s pee into a fertilizer, and provides a stable matric and micro porous medium, in which active components are made to act as a water purifier instead of an acidic fluid. – you will be giving your dog a cleaner source of water by using Dog Rocks. They do need to be replaced every 2 months.
4. Give the area some love
Even if you combat the problem at the source now, the weeks or months of urinary damage your dog has inadvertently done may not be erased easily. What we do know is that some fertilizers are quite useful in helping grass with minimal burn regain some green colouring. You can also take some steps to ensure that the lawn is being adequately watered and has sufficient irrigation. By giving your lawn some TLC and encouraging your dog to wee elsewhere, eventually you will see the results.
5. Give ‘em a drink!
Bottoms up! Or tails up… Whatever it is, it’s mighty important that you provide your dog with enough water throughout the day. It goes without saying but leaving your dog with sufficient water is the best way to keep them healthy. By drinking more and more water, your dog will ultimately end up with diluted urine which means there’s less chance of your lawn suffering from urine burn. It’s a win-win, although unfortunately if your grass is already showing signs of burn, it may be too late to solely use this as a preventative method. Regardless, encouraging your dog to drink has multiple health benefits.
If you’re not at home to supervise how much water they’re going through, try install a water fountain that keeps the water fresh throughout the day. This encourages them to continue drinking while also ensuring that water stays sanitary throughout the day.