If you have a lawn, chances are you’ve been battling currants, weeds and fallen leaves while you’ve been taking care of it. But as a dog owner, you may have noticed damaged dog urine creating patches of dry, dead, or already dead grass. Learn how urine can damage lawns, common myths surrounding dog urine killing grass, and how you can keep your dog and lawn healthy.
Does dog urine kill your grass ?
Lawns need a specific pH and nutrient balance to thrive. Dog urine, on the other hand, is high in nitrogenous compounds and is also slightly basic: the pH of dog urine is 7.0-7.5; The neutral pH is 7.0. This can upset the balance of nutrients in your lawn. In addition, dogs tend to urinate in the same place. Their urine then generates concentrations of these compounds in the target area. Over time, that condensation engulfs the grass, creating patches of dead or dying turf.
Poor soil health can also exacerbate the problem. If the soil is already struggling to maintain your lawn’s growth, adding your dog’s urine can be enough to tip the balance toward the negative.
Sometimes, dog urine disturbances can cause lawn patches to grow, as some grasses increase their growth with higher concentrations of components. This can result in lumpy, ugly “forest” spots on the lawn instead of dead spots.
Is there a difference between urinary disorders in male and female dogs?
There is a common myth that only female dog urine can cause lawn damage. Female dog urine was believed to be more acidic than male urine, thereby increasing potential harm. However, there is no difference in urine pH values in healthy male and female dogs. Both have the same constituent concentrations of nitrogen and other urine elements that can be harmful to the lawn.
One of the real differences between male and female dogs is how they urinate. Female dogs tend to squat down to potty, which leads to horizontal turf-like surfaces, where they go. Male dogs, on the other hand, tend to urinate on more upright surfaces, such as trees and flowers. While this is less likely to affect the lawn, the urine can still damage other plants.
Another common myth is that some dog breeds have more acidic urine than others. While some breeds may be more susceptible to diseases that cause kidney or bladder problems, they do not directly change urine in healthy dogs. As long as your dog is healthy, there is no breed difference that will change their urine. Your dog’s diet is actually a bigger factor involved, along with health issues that can affect urine such as kidney disease or urinary tract infections.
Behavioral therapy for dog urine killing grass
If you suspect your dog’s urine is causing problems, there are some changes you can make:
Create a potty spot away from the lawn
Setting up a designated potty area of gravel, dirt, or similar ground is a great alternative for your dog to use the lawn. Gravel and smaller stones allow urine to drain more easily. It also makes it easier to pick up feces and clean the area with weekly hose downs or sanitary sprays. The area doesn’t need to be overly large, but it should be large enough to give your dog room to explore and sniff a bit before going potty. You can make a large planting area, part of the lawn, or even an area adjacent to the yard a feature.
To get your dog interested in using the area, start by bringing him on a leash. From there, use your usual potty cue, such as “go potty,” or “go pee,” to encourage your dog to sniff and use the spot. When they leave successfully, praise them and reward them with a treat. You can also use grass clippings or some of your dog’s poop laid on the gravel to entice them to use the area if they don’t seem interested at first.
Train your dog to use artificial turf
During potty training as a puppy your dog will learn to go to a specific surface. From there, many dogs develop substrate preferences, such as going potty on the lawn, gravel, or even the ground. If your dog is very particular about turf use, you may be able to teach him to use a turf alternative such as artificial grass. Most pet stores carry products made from artificial turf. These fit in frames with filters for easy urine disposal and cleanup. You can also place AstroTurf on a patchy, gravelly, or dirt surface to allow the urine to naturally drain into the soil.
A second alternative for smaller dogs is to use a litter box. These are popular in apartment situations where a dog may not be able to get outside to go potty. However, you can still use these as an alternative to the lawn. Put one on the back porch, in the back yard, or on a nearby balcony. These products use naturally absorbent waste such as wood or paper to absorb urine odor.
In order to accustom your dog to the lawn alternative, you will want to follow the same steps as teaching your dog to use a new substrate. Start by leading them on a leash to the new area and asking them to go potty. It may take your dog longer than usual to figure out that this is where they are supposed to go, so give them an extra 10-15 minutes to explore. Once your dog successfully uses the substrate, praise it and reward it with a treat. If your dog is having trouble, you can put grass clippings over the area to entice him to go.
Ruling out health problems
Sometimes, changes in your dog’s health can cause urinary disturbances to your lawn. Health conditions such as urinary tract infections can change the pH and concentration of your dog’s urine. Other underlying problems such as kidney or liver disease can upset the balance of your dog’s urine. Certain medications may also dilute or concentrate urine differently.
In addition to turf damage, you may see other signs that indicate a problem with your dog’s health. They may need to urinate more often, have cloudy or bloody urine, or try to urinate with little success. Other changes include decreased or increased appetite, weight changes, and behavioral changes. These are all signs of something that needs to be checked out by a vet.
The vet will likely run a series of tests depending on what problems are suspected. These include blood work, urinalysis, general examination and general history. From there, your vet can recommend additional tests and treatments. Since your dog is being treated for these conditions, you may want to take him to other locations to potty. This can help prevent medication damage to the lawn until your dog is back to full health.
Crop solutions for dog urine damage to grass
Changing your dog’s behavior may not always be an option. These solutions can help minimize damage to your lawn:
Urine patch kits
A urine patch kit is a kit designed to glue the lawn itself, not change your dog’s diet or habits. These kits help rebalance the nutrient content of the lawn in the affected area. This helps to stop or prevent grass patches from dying. Patch kits have varying levels of success. If your dog doesn’t use the area often, they can be a great way to help fix small trouble spots on the lawn. However, if your dog frequents the area, it may be expensive to constantly patch small sections of the lawn.
Another alternative is regular lawn monitoring such as fertilization, soil testing, weeding and mowing. General lawn care can help prevent problem patches or identify them before they grow to an ugly size. Sod patching kits can also be beneficial where there is a lot of dead grass, or other treatments have not regrown the lawn.
While some may swear by using baking soda or other treatments to neutralize urine pH, they are doing more harm than good to your lawn. It’s best to stop the problem by addressing the overall health of the soil and lawn or taking your dog to a new location to potty.
It may seem strange to add rocks to your dog’s water, but many owners of products like. Dog Rocks To prevent dead patches of turf. Dog stones work by creating an ion exchange between the water and the stone, containing dirt that your dog may ingest and be carried in their urine. By making sure your dog doesn’t drink these imbalances of curves to begin with, the theory is that it keeps the lawn in balance too.
Dog Rocks recommends soaking the stones in your dog’s water for at least 12 hours before drinking, in order for the product to work. Stones should be replaced every two months. Since they are not food supplements or add any nutrients to your dog’s diet, they are also safe to use around food allergies and medical conditions.
If you are concerned about your dog eating rocks (everyone is exposed that formerly a Labrador Retriever), you can put them in a pitcher of water. Then, use a pitcher to fill your dog’s water bowl. This can help keep rocks safely out of the way while still giving you the benefits.
Supplements are designed to help change the composition of your dog’s urine so it doesn’t damage the lawn. These are usually sold in the form of chewable pills or soft treats. They are added to each of your dog’s meals, or given 1-2 times per day between meals.
These supplements have seen good results, however they do have some drawbacks. If your dog has food allergies, you want to be aware of any product ingredients such as grain binders or protein sources that could be problematic. Some supplements can also interfere with the medications your dog takes, especially if your dog has kidney or liver problems. It is always best to check with your vet first before starting a new supplement.
Changes in diet
The saying “you are what you eat” rings true when it comes to what your dog eats. Different foods can have different effects on the body, including the concentration of your dog’s urine. Raw foods, kibbles and wet foods all have different digestive properties. This causes changes in both feces and urine depending on what your dog is able to digest and process. At high concentrations, this can affect the lawn.
It is always best to follow any dietary recommendations from your vet first, especially if your dog has food allergies. Kibble and wet food diets are often very digestible, as the product is cooked and partially broken down in the process, making more nutrients available to your dog. Feeding adequate amounts of food daily can also prevent excess vitamins and minerals not stored in the body from being carried in the urine and feces.
In addition, you want to always provide your dog with plenty of fresh water. Water helps dilute urine, which in turn can prevent lawn burn. Keeping people away from foods that can be toxic or hard for your dog to digest can keep their poop and urine healthy.
Dog urine damage to the lawn can be a nasty problem. However, there are many treatments available that can help reduce or prevent the problem. Be sure to consult your vet or trainer before trying a new supplement or changing your dog’s routine. By keeping your dog healthy and happy, you can keep your lawn looking great.