If you’re the proud owner of both a dog and a lawn, chances are you have at least a few yellow or brown spots out there in your field of green.
The nitrogen in dog urine is responsible for the dog urine grass burns we all know (and probably don’t love). Because of the high protein content in the canine diet, nitrogen levels in your pet’s urine will always be high, meaning that preventing the laws spots before they happen is your best bet for a healthy lawn.
Just Add Water
Watering the grass where your dog has relieved him or herself is the most effective way to dilute the effects of the nitrogen on your lawn. Making sure your dog is well hydrated can also help, as more diluted urine will have a lower concentration of nitrogen.
You can encourage your dog to drink more water:
- Make sure fresh water is available at all times for your dog, both inside and out.
- Provide a circulating pet fountain to increase your dog’s interest in water.
- If your dog likes ice cubes, drop a few in his or her water bowl. Your dog will naturally drink more water as he or she works to fish out the cubes.
Avoid giving your pet any products or “home remedies” aimed at increasing his or her water consumption, such as tomato juice or added salt. Increased salt intake can cause serious problems for older pets or those with kidney conditions.
Thoughtful Potty Breaks
Many pet owners opt to create a designated potty area for pets to do their business, such as a small area in the back or side of the yard that has been filled in with gravel, mulch, or artificial turf. Many pets can be trained to “go in the back” with praise and positive reinforcement.
Try to clean up feces daily, or as often as possible, so it doesn’t have time to sit on the lawn and damage the grass as it breaks down.
A fertilized lawn likely already has all the nitrogen it can handle. By fertilizing your lawn less, or not at all, you will reduce the overall nitrogen load to the grass, making it more resistant to developing dog urine lawn spots.
Dog Urine Grass Burns: A Word of Warning
There are a variety of products on the market touted as “lawn-saving supplements”, aimed at altering the pH of your pet’s urine to prevent grass scald. These products are largely ineffective due to the fact that nitrogen, not pH, is responsible for the yellow lawn spots. Anything that alters the pH of your pet’s urine also puts him or her at risk of developing urinary crystals, bladder stones, or other problems, and should be avoided.
At Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital, we do not recommend changing your pet’s diet or adding any supplementation without the guidance of your trusted family veterinarian. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions or concerns regarding your pet.