Having your dog urine killing grass is a concern among a significant number of pet owners. You take good care of your lawn. You water it regularly and keep it mowed at all times. Still, there are many yellow or brown spots, thanks to your dog’s pee. What causes this? What should you do to stop this? Can you make the grass grow back? Read on to find out all this and much more.
Does Dog Urine Kill Grass?
- Does Dog Urine Kill Grass?
- Is Dog Urine Killing Grass?
- What Causes Dog Urine To Burn Grass?
- Factors That Can Contribute to Dog Pee Killing Grass
- How to Neutralize Dog Urine on Grass Lawns
- Dilute your Dog’s Urine
- Pay attention to your dog’s diet
- Give Dog Rocks or a Similar Product to Your Dog
- Other Ways to Stop and Prevent Dog Urine Spots on Grass
- Not Every Dog Urine Burning Grass Remedy is Necessarily Helpful
It is possible for your dog’s urine to burn the grass in your lawn. This manifests itself in brown or yellow spots. You should, however, keep in mind that other factors such as lawn grub may be to blame for the discoloration. The key is to know how to accurately determine if your dog’s urine is actually responsible for killing the grass.
Is Dog Urine Killing Grass?
Before you conclude that your dog’s pee is the actual reason for the discolored grass in your lawn, you should check out the following:
- Do the brown or yellow spots occur in areas where your dog commonly pees? If you are keen enough, you will notice a spot in your yard where your canine friend prefers to urinate.
- How firm is the grass in the discolored sections of your lawn? Lawn grub feeds on grass’ root which makes it loose. Pulled up, grass affected by lawn grub will come off easily. On the contrary, the grass will not come off that easily if you are actually dealing with a case of dog urine killing grass.
- Are the green rings on the outer edges of the brown or yellow spots? It is not uncommon for the yellow or brown grass burn spots to have a typical green outer edge. This is usually the result of dilute urine in these areas, which then acts as a fertilizer.
- Could your neighbor’s dog be finding a way into your yard? This is just as important a question. Taking measures to neutralize your dog’s urine will not be a conclusive solution if your neighbor’s pooch has a role to play in the problem.
What Causes Dog Urine To Burn Grass?
There is a myth on the reason for dog urine killing grass stating that it has to do with urine acidity. While that sound like a logical explanation for the problem, it is not true. The actual causes of lawn burn include alkaline urine (the pH should be between 6.0 and 6.5) and the nitrogen excreted in dogs’ urine.
As carnivores, dogs take lots of proteins in their diet. Once in the body, protein is broken down, with the process giving off nitrogen-laden by-products. These are excreted in urine. When your dog urinates on the grass, the nitrogen is transferred to the lawn. This may be beneficial to the grass. However, when the urine is too concentrated or is availed to the same spot way too frequently, grass burns occur. A similar effect is seen when nitrogen fertilizer is poured in excess amounts.
Factors That Can Contribute to Dog Pee Killing Grass
Dog urine burns are likely to occur when one or more of the following factors are involved:
- Female dogs: It sounds strange, but female dogs are more likely to kill the grass in your lawn than their male counterparts. This is attributed to the fact that, unlike male dogs that lift their hind leg and pee around to mark their territory, female dogs squat and empty their entire bladder in one spot.
- Stressed grass. Is your grass recovering from drought or disease? It may be more susceptible to dog urine burn. Recent seeding is also a factor in dog urine killing grass.
- Fertilized lawns. Grass to which fertilizer has been applied are more prone.
- Certain species of grass. Some grass species (such as Bermuda and bluegrass) are relatively less resistant to nitrogen in dog urine compared to others (such as fescue and rye).
How to Neutralize Dog Urine on Grass Lawns
Now that we have covered the factors behind dog urine killing grass, what should you do about it? Well, there are several measures you can take to prevent or treat dog urine spots on the grass. Below are some of them:
Dilute your Dog’s Urine
Dilute urine has less of solutes, which makes it less likely to burn your lawn. This approach is multifaceted in that you have to dilute your dog’s urine internally as well as externally.
- Water down your dog’s urine: The first thing you want to do is to pour or spray water on urinated spots as soon as your dog is done with her business.
- Encourage your dog to consume water. To do that, add some water to your pooch’s meals. Better still, add a salt-free broth to her drinking water.
Pay attention to your dog’s diet
Feeding proper diet to your dog can help to lower urine pH level as well as normalize urine levels of nitrogen. This can then stop dog urine from burning grass.
Dogs are carnivores and are naturally meant to feed on proteins. When fed on cereals or cereal-based diet, the pH of their urine rises, to the alkaline side of the scale. Alkaline urine is known to kill grass. It can also cause a problem such as urinary tract infections and urine crystals. Dry foods also have their implications to your dogs’ health. They increase urine concentration as well as ammonia levels, leading to pH as high as 10.
To maintain the right balance, feed your dog high-quality species-specific, low carb diet that is devoid of grains (cereals) and potatoes. Fresh or canned foods also go a great way in increasing moisture content. Check that the food variety doesn’t have higher protein levels than your pet’s need. Most high-quality foods also contain digestible proteins that are better utilized by your pooch, amounting to less nitrogenous waste.
Give Dog Rocks or a Similar Product to Your Dog
Dog Rocks (Amazon) may also be beneficial to burned grass. Manufactured in Australia, this product helps to lower the levels of nitrogen in a dog’s urine. Some bloggers think that it is the best natural remedy for lawn burns. All you have to do is drop the rocks in your pooch’s drinking bowl and you are good to go.
Other Ways to Stop and Prevent Dog Urine Spots on Grass
- Plant urine resistant grass. Fescues and rye are among the best choices.
- Go slow on fertilizers. As already mentioned, regular fertilizing can augment the effect of dog urine on grass.
- Keep your neighbor’s dog out of your yard. In addition to treating your dog (and your lawn), you will want to rule out your neighbor’s dog as a potential contributor to lawn burn. A fence can come in handy and so can motion-activated sprinklers.
- Dr. Becker of Mercola.com recommends applying compost to the soil to help balance the pH. About an inch in depth is ideal.
Not Every Dog Urine Burning Grass Remedy is Necessarily Helpful
Search online for ‘how to stop dog urine from killing grass naturally’ and you will be flooded with dozens of home remedies. Ranging from vitamin C to baking soda, apple cider vinegar and tomato juice (or ketchup).
Some proponents of these remedies claim that they help to neutralize the acidity in dogs’ urine, thus curbing their lawn burning effect. As you have picked by now, this is really not true as alkalinity is usually the real reason for dog urine killing grass and not excess acidity.
While these remedies often work, it may be due to their ability to induce thirst and thus water intake and not the latter explanation. This then dilutes the urine, thus fixing lawn burns, says Doctors Foster and Smith Pet Blog. There is no guarantee that any of these home remedies will work.
Fixing those yellow or brown spots on grass is about diluting the urine to make it less damaging while lowering nitrogen levels in the urine. Adequate hydration and lawn watering, coupled with proper diet are central to achieving this. As for a case of dog urine killing grass that still persists even with these interventions, Dog Rocks may be the ultimate solution.
- Doctors Foster and Smith Pet Blog. How to Prevent Your Dog’s Urine from Killing Grass
- Drs. Foster & Smith Pet Supplies: Lawn Burn Solutions
- Mercola.com: 3 Reasons Your Dog’s Urine Kills Your Grass – And What to Do about It