Ask A Vet: Will dog pee kill grass?

Ask A Vet: Will dog pee kill grass?

You probably noticed that one patch of grass in your garden or yard is persistently yellow in color and dead. If you have a doggo who has a favorite place to pee, then you've found your criminal. We all love our dogs, but no one wants patches of dead grass in their yards. 

All dog parents want a lush, green, beautiful lawn for their dogs to run around in, but reality is that there are more yellow patches of dirt and dead grass than the green areas. And it's so frustrating!

So why does dog pee kill grass? The plain answer is nitrates. Don't worry, though; it's all normal since nitrogen is present in all the amino acids and is a by-product of protein dissolution.

If you regularly fertilize your lawn, it already has high levels of nitrates, so adding even a tiny bit more can cause your grass to wither and die. Dog urine carries a variety of nitrogenous compounds that kill the grass. The yellow spots are usually unsightly and can be frustrating and almost impossible to remove without correcting the source, i.e., dog urine.

Why dog pee burns grass:

Even though your pup is your best friend and it also loves your lawn and garden as much as you do, dog pee naturally brings destruction on grass, leaving discolored grass or bare, burned lawn spots behind. Yellow lawn spots occur due to the elevated amounts of nitrogen and related salts that occur naturally in dog urine.

When urine collects in a single place, it damages the area. It's a lot like burns caused by fertilizer. All dogs squat to urinate, including puppies, elderly dogs, females, small dogs, and even some adult males, so they burn grass when they pee in one concentrated area. 

Minor lawn damage and spots due to dog pee often resolve on their own as new grass emerges in the lawn. However, areas that are your dog's favorites and thus they often frequent for urination will generally need dog urine spot repair.

How to stop your dog's pee from burning the lawn:

Although it's difficult to stop your dog's pee from harming your lawn ultimately, there are some things you can try so it can be controlled a little:

  • Train them: You can use reward-based, positive training to teach your dog to pee in a particular spot. Never punish your pup for peeing in the wrong area, as this could stop them from peeing outside altogether!
  • Water it down: Try to water the pee down as soon as your dog finishes with a watering. It will dilute the pee and reduce the effects.
  • Take care of your lawn. Regularly watering your lawns will help keep it in perfect condition and repair your dog's pee damage is easier to do.
  • Walking: To minimize the lawn damage, you should take your dog for a walk early in the morning so they can pee somewhere else. Just remember to carry the poo bags!  

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