I don’t understand, why is dog pee is killing my grass? I have had dogs for decades, and they have never caused my lawn to have some serious brown spots on it. All of my last 3 dogs have been boy dogs, and I always thought that it was only girl dogs that could damage your lawn like this.
Did you know that all dogs were capable of ruining your lawn? I know I didn’t. Well now that I have this issue I wanted to understand what it is that causes this and what if any solutions could there be to help fix it. Everybody wants to have nice green looking lawn.
What causes it
There has long been a thought that anyone that has a dog, can’t have nice lawn. The 2 just don’t work. I have always tried everything to make that statement untrue. We all know that having nice looking lawn, comes with work and care, so when brown spots start showing up, it can be a bit deflating.
Why does nice green grass develop brown spots? Well we know that lawn and nitrogen have a partnership or balance effect in how our lawn looks. The balance of the 2 is key to nice green looking lawn.
Did you know that dog pee has an extremely high content of nitrogen in it?
Many fertilizers contain low amounts of nitrogen, so that is why I find this interesting. If fertilizer has nitrogen in it, then why does my dogs pee that also has nitrogen in it cause brown spots on my lawn.
Well the answer to that is simple…. It is the amount of nitrogen in their pee. Too much nitrogen saturated in one spot is the cause for the burn spots. A huge influx of nitrogen in just one area, is much like if you only fertilized half of your lawn. LOL! Obviously not, but you get my point. It throws the balance off and the result of that is brown spots.
Typically, female dogs are more apt to burn your lawn, because they squat down low to pee, while males, lift their leg…. Most of the time.
My puppy FERGUS who is a 6 mos old male dog, does not yet lift his leg, so for me, that is the reason why he is burning my lawn. My previous 2 male dogs, both lifted their leg when they went pee. I am sure FERGUS will eventually start lifting his leg, but for now he squats.
Fixing the brown spots
First off, to repair the areas that are brown on your grass, you need to rake up all the dead grass. Once you have raked up each brown spot, pick up all the dead grass.
The dead grass if left there, will actually stop any new grass from growing, so that is why it is so important to clean it off as your very first step.
Once that is done, you need to buy a grass patch repair seed product. Scotts makes a great 3 in 1 Ez Seed Patch Repair. What makes this the perfect product, is the combination of mulch, premium grass seed and fertilizer. It comes in an all in one easy to pour container.
There are other options to choose from, but this is the one I used and it works great. Within this particular product, there is also something called tackifiers that allow it to stick to the ground better. This works good for an uneven area that you maybe trying to repair. Even on a flat surface, the tackifiers stick to the ground much easier.
After you have poured a generous amount of Ez Seed, you then need to water it and if possible keep everyone off of it. That means your dog if you can. Try to block off the area with a small fence or something. Whatever you can find just to try to give the patch a chance to grow. Remember to water it often, at least til the seeds germinates.
How to stop the brown spots
There are 6 tips that you can do to stop more brown spots from developing on your lawn. Some of them are dramatic changes, while other are small more subtle things. Let’s start with the first tip:
#1. Take your dog out on a leash. Change the way that you let your dog out to pee. If you take them out on a leash they are not able to pee wherever they want. Easy enough, but a bit of a pain in the butt for us parents. OK this one leads into the second tip.
#2. Have a designated pee area for your dog and train them to only pee in that specific area. This can take some time to train them to make that happen. Obviously it is easier if you have a puppy to start fresh with, but an older dog can still be taught to go pee only in one space. There is even a dog training aid called “Simple Solution Pee Post” that emits pheromones to attract your dog to that specific area. Whatever way you can find to get your dog to pee only in one area, is going to completely save the rest of your yard. Moving on to #3.
#3. You can pour water on the peed on area right after your dog is done. That way the pee is being diluted and won’t have the same high nitrogen level that causes the brown spots. This is a pretty subtle thing that you can do that will help. Next up is the 4th tip.
#4. Get your dog to drink more water. Yes, much like humans, drinking lots of water is a good way to flush things in our bodies out. Well dogs are the same. If they drink more water, that will naturally dilute their pee.
#5. Feed your dog a supplement. Yes they exist. There are quite a few dog supplements that you can give your dog, that can reduce your dogs nitrogen level in their pee. Something like “Grass Green” it is a supplement chew that you give to your dog and this will lower their nitrogen level. It also is great for treating bowel issues and helps reduce vomiting or constipation. Overall an option that would an easy fix for helping to solve the grass issue.
#6. If you are lucky enough to have underground sprinklers, put them on a timer to water for 2 mins each day. Yup… just 2 mins, that can also dramatically decrease brown spots on your entire lawn. So now on to the last tip.
#7. Fertilize your lawn less. This is a pretty simple and easy way to help control the nitrogen level in your lawn. As I said earlier, fertilizer contains nitrogen, and so does dog pee, so the high level causes an unbalance.
Brown spot help
My 7 tips to help solve why dog pee is killing my grass are all pretty straight forward solutions. The bottom line is you can do which one is the easiest and best for you and your situation. Someone that has underground sprinklers, truly has it much easier than someone that doesn’t. Just as an example.
Not all 7 tips will work for everyone, but there are definitely 1 or 2 options on that list, that would work to stop any further brown lawn spots from developing.
I have covered both why our dog pee causes lawn brown spots, how to fix them and some tips to stop them from becoming an ongoing issue in your backyard.
Having nice lawn is hard work anytime, but having a dog, does make it harder, there is no doubt about that. The thing is though…. they are so worth it. What’s a little more work….right!
Now that I have helped you with your lawn issues today, LOL!!! I would love to hear your own stories of your grass and your dog. Just drop me a comment below.