If you’re a dog owner, it’s likely at some point you’ve dealt with yellow or brown dead patches on your lawn where Fido likes to do his business. While this may frequently frustrate owners, it’s no doubt a common occurrence. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to prevent dog urine from killing your grass.
Why Does Dog Urine Affect the Grass?
Dog urine is naturally high in nitrogen – a waste product from your dog’s protein consumption. Highly concentrated nitrogen can begin to deteriorate the quality and color of green, luscious grass.
While all dogs have nitrogen in their urine, owners of female dogs, puppies and older canines may notice more lawn discoloration as these pooches squat to urinate in one single area. Agile male dogs, on the other hand, typically lift a leg to relieve themselves, which helps spread the urine over a larger, less concentrated area.
To help reduce noticeable patches, try the below tips to keep your lawn looking fresh and green, even in spite of your four-legged friend’s bathroom habits.
Create a Designated Bathroom Area
If your lawn allows, Pennington suggests creating a designated space with natural, pet-safe mulch for your pooch to do his business. Training your dog to relieve himself in a specific area may take time, but overall, mulch is a cost-effective, low maintenance way to keep your lawn blemish-free.
Avoid using cocoa bean mulch, as this is toxic to dogs if ingested.
If mulch does not fit in with the landscape, you could consider placing a pee pad – a small mat of artificial grass – in a corner of your yard for your pooch to complete his business.
Water the Grass to Dilute Urine
If Fido has trouble training to use one specific area, most veterinarians and lawn companies suggest dumping water or using a hose to spray the area immediately after Fido urinates. This helps disperse and dilute the nitrogen from the soil.
While it may be cumbersome to frequently water your dog’s urine marks, this is one of the safest methods to reduce grass scald.
Plant Hardy Grass
Fescue and Perennial Ryegrass are generally the most resilient against nitrogen-rich canine urine, veterinarian Shea Cox told The Bark magazine. If your fur baby insists on using his normal bathroom spots, consider seeding those patches of lawn with Fescue or Perennial Ryegrass seed.
Bermuda and Kentucky Bluegrass, on the other hand, typically don’t withstand dog urine well.
Avoid Over-the-Counter Products Without Your Vet’s Approval
Most veterinarians caution against buying products or supplements for your pooch that promise to eliminate the problem. Oftentimes, such products can end up harming your furry friend.
Some claim to fix the problem by altering your dog’s urine pH levels, and others contain high amounts of sodium to create excessive thirst in your pooch, encouraging him to drink more water and thus dilute his urine. Both of these options may cause serious side effects for your pooch.
Never give over-the-counter products without first checking with your veterinarian. Typically, the first line of defense against grass scald is making changes to the lawn, not your pooch.
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