Do you have unsightly brown spots of dead grass marring the beauty of your lawn? The culprit could be your furry canine friend.
Dog urine can take its toll on your green grass. The ugly lawn burn spots are caused by the high nitrogen content found in dog urine. Each time the dog urinates on the grass, he or she adds a hefty dose of nitrogen to the soil. This is equivalent to pouring liquid fertilizer on the yard. While a little fertilizer is beneficial, an excess amount of urine causes nitrogen burns.
If you fertilize your lawn, the grass is already getting high levels of nitrogen. Add dog urine and you have the perfect situation for lawn burn. While lawn burn is unsightly, it does not mean that your dog has a medical problem. Lawn burn from canine urination is normal.
It has been said that female dogs contribute more to lawn burn than do male dogs. This may be true, but it is not due to physical differences. Females squat to urinate, therefore saturating more soil area. Males tend to lift their leg and urinate on things to mark their territory. Thus, male dogs tend to spread their urine around the yard.
Large breed dogs produce more urine because they drink more than small breeds. In turn, the release more concentrated nitrogen onto the yard.
It is thought that dogs that eat a high protein diet cause more lawn burn. The reason for this is that higher levels of protein cause the body to expel more nitrogen. There are drugs and food supplements that can help reduce nitrogen levels in your dog’s urine, but there could be unpleasant side effects. Discuss the situation with your dog’s veterinarian.
One of the easiest things to do to minimize lawn burn is to wash the urine off of the grass. Keep a hose or bucket of water handy. If you rinse the area in which the dog urinated within a couple of hours, the chances are good that lawn damage will be avoided because the water dilutes the nitrogen. The diluted nitrogen actually works as lawn fertilizer.
If you have a large yard where water is not readily available, try training the dog to urinate in a specific area where you can perform a wash down or put up with the effect of nitrogen burn. Choose a spot that is not as noticeable as the center of your yard.
Another option is to designate a potty area and use stone or gravel instead of grass. Some folks have successfully used concrete blocks in the place of grass.
If you already have spots of nitrogen burn, you can try re-seeding the grass. It is very important to water the area well before and after re-seeding.
The grass killed by nitrogen burns will sometimes come back on its own once no additional urine is added to the ground. This does take a while and there is no guarantee that it will work.
Urine stains is a tricky subject and one that most dog owners will need to face at some point. Try the suggestions above and leave a comment below if you have a method that’s worked in the past for you!