Dogs are man’s best friend. But they may not be your lawn’s best friend. A patchy, yellow spotted lawn could indicate the neighbor has let their lawn go. Sometimes, it just means there are a few spots that for one reason or another, the dog has designated as their ritual potty ground. Is dog urine killing grass? Quite likely. It contains a high concentration of nitrogen waste. Nitrogen in excess will damage your grass. There are some products such as dog rocks, enzyme soft chew “treats”, and dog spot repair that will help return your lawn to spot free condition.
In this post, I’m going to share about why and how dog urine kills grass. I’ll also discuss a few popular methods such as dog rocks for solving the problem. These easy treatments will restore your lawn to the crown jewel of the neighborhood.
7 Best Products that Guard Against Dog Urine Killing Grass
So you’ve had it up to here with dog pee killing your grass. You want to restore your lawn to its former spotless glory. I’ve come across a number of products that have helped dog owners achieve this goal. The great thing about most of these products is that they are very low cost. If you want to get rid of yellowing grass burn for good, you could go with the triple-threat: dog rocks, seed dog spot repair, and a biscuit or soft chew supplement.
Remember, not all law burn products are created equally. The best lawn burn products contain Yucca schidigera. Yucca schidigera binds to nitrogen in the urine meaning less ultimately ends up damaging your lawn. A key ingredient to watch out in dog supplement treats is too much methionine. This is an amino acid that in large doses will throw your pets pH out of wack which may result in bladder stones or urine crystals. Unless you and your pet enjoy trips to the vet, I suggest steering clear of products that dramatically change your pet’s urine pH levels.
Dog Rocks are a 100% natural product to solve grass burn issues. If you’ve had difficulty with dog supplements changing your dog’s pH balance for the worse, or don’t want to risk it, this is a great natural solution. Place a pack of Dog Rocks into your pet’s water bowl and overtime you’ll start to see your grass looking greener and healthier.
These “rocks” are made from a natural paramagnetic igneous rock substance. In layman’s terms this is a spongey rock. It works by absorbing excess nitrates and other harmful elements from your dog’s water. That means less nitrates enter your dog’s body and less exit to your lawn. There are many dog rocks reviews that sing their praises but this doesn’t work in every case. It is a great part of a multi-faceted approach though.
Three packs of dog rocks will last you 6 months. Dog Rocks also sells their product in 1 month, 2 month, and 4 month supply.
Nutri-Vet makes some of the best pet supplements that stop lawn burn. Because they are liver flavored, most dogs assume these tablets are treats and scarf them right down. A word of warning. This is a potent supplement that at first requires a bit of caution. You’ll need to see how your pet responds to it and you don’t want to do a full dose starting off, especially with a smaller dog.
This is a grass guard supplement that also contains helpful probiotics and digestive enzymes. The nice thing is they are less expensive then the Dog Rock route. You can buy a 365 count for around $20.
Another popular route is treating your lawn directly. These formulas will neutralize and repair the damaged spots. Scotts EZ Seed Sun and Shade lawn spots repair is one of the most popular treatments for spots damaged by dogs. Furthermore, it is 99% biodegradable and made from renewable resources. So even if your dog keeps visiting the same places when they go out to do their business, this product isn’t going to harm them in any way. Scotts just came out with a new improved formula so look for the new packaging like the image above before making a purchase.
This is another treat type solution that most dogs love because of the peanut butter flavor. This biscuit will neutralize the pH of your pet’s urine making it much more lawn friendly. If you dog really loves them, this is a good treat replacement option altogether. You won’t need to buy additional types of treats, just reward and give your dog a biscuit 1-2 times a day and it will help prevent yellow spots in your lawn. Another thing I like about this product is that NaturVet used veterinarians to help formulate this treat so you know its backed by science. Unlike the GrassGuard tablets, there are few reports of this upsetting dogs tummies.
If you’re dog isn’t a big fan of tough biscuits, NaturVet also provides their formula in a soft chew version. It acts using the same mechanism as the biscuits above, neutralizing the urine making it less harmful to your lawn.
Does Dog Urine Kill Grass? Why?
Lawn burn is the commonly used term to describe grass damaged by dog urine. Lawn burn is caused by the nitrogen in dog urine. Some grass fertilizers actually use nitrogen as one of their integral ingredients. You would think that dog urine would not kill grass, but make it flourish. So the heck does dog pee kill grass? Well, too much nitrogen will throw the grass off its delicate balance. Just as you wouldn’t liberally dump fertilizer on the same spot over and over again, you don’t want your dog peeing in the same spots. But no one really monitors their dog that closely during potty time. Controlling where your dog pees is something that isn’t feasible in most cases. Dogs pick out areas of the yard to relieve themselves and they form their habits just as we do as humans.
A normal dog’s urine pH is between 6 and 6.5. This means it is slightly acidic. Any higher than 7 and you’ll likely have problems. Not only will the urine burn your lawn, your dog may even develop struvite crystals. A urine pH below 6 won’t damage your lawn but can predispose your pet to calcium oxalate stones. Some people will buy pH strips from their vet or local drug store to test the urine and see what the pH is measuring at. Also, many vet clinics will offer to test it for you as well. The goal is to keep your pet’s urine right around 6.5 to maintain the health of both your dog and your lawn.
Here are the reasons lawn burn may become an issue:
- Large dogs pee more than smaller dogs. They drink more and have larger bodies to sustain. When this urine gets deposited in large quantities lawn burn becomes more probable.
- Female dogs are often the culprits when it comes to lawn burn. They empty their entire bladder in one location compared to males, who lift their leg and are more like to pee in several spots.
- Already treating your lawn with nitrogen fertilizer? Adding more nitrogen to the mix may be just enough to throw the grass off from its happy and healthy growth cycle.
- A high protein diet will cause a dog’s to produce urine that is much more likely to damage and yellow your lawn.
- Kentucky bluegrass and Bermuda grass type lawn grasses are sensitive to dog urine and extra care is required.
If none of these ring a bell, it could simply be that your lawn is in a vulnerable state. Lawns that are stressed for one reason or another are more likely to be susceptible to damage. For example, a newly seeded or sodded lawn will be prone to lawn burn. Additionally, if your lawn is already suffering from a drought or disease it will be more susceptible to lawn burn spotting.
Is it Dog Pee Killing the Grass? Identifying the Cause
The first step to preventing this problem and reversing it is identifying the cause. Before spending any money or time on dog spot repair make sure your dog is actually the cause. Several lawn diseases will look like lawn burn resulting in those small but noticeable brown patches. If your dog has just a few select areas they like to urinate this should be pretty easy to link cause and effect.
Another simple trick you can use is just making sure the grass located in the brown spots is still attached. Grab a patch of it and steadily pull. If a whole bunch of grass, roots and all, pulls up then you probably have a grub problem. If you pull and the grass is still firmly rooted that is a good indication that you have lawn burn.
Keep in mind is that it may not even be your dog that is the cause. If many neighbors take their dogs on walks around the neighborhood and pit stops are frequently taking place at your house, you may have identified the problem. Treating your own dog with something like soft chew enzymes obviously won’t work in this case. You’ll need to use a different method. A fence may be more effective to keep those rascals out.
How to Prevent Dog Urine from Killing Grass
Typically, fully curing the problem requires a multi-faceted approach. Sometimes you can get away with one solution that will fix your entire lawn, but that usually isn’t the case. Here are some of the tried and true ways to eliminate lawn burn:
- Water the lawn more frequently or target the areas your dog(s) urinate the most and hose them down. Or simply just use a watering can or cup and pour it over the spot after your pet is done doing their business. This will dilute the urine and nitrogen concentration. This is especially helpful in drier climates, where there is little rain to dilute and wash off urine from the grass.
- Make sure your dog drinks plenty and stays hydrated. This will also dilute urine and decrease risk of lawn burn. Some owners will use small amounts of low sodium broth in drinking water to increase their pet’s water intake.
- Train your dog to urinate in a less visible location. This will take time and consistency but it is possible.
- Eliminate lawn stress by not under or over fertilizing the grass. Make sure your lawn is disease free to begin with.
- Feed your dog a dietary supplement that will help them maintain a healthy urine pH balance. Remember, 6.5 pH will not damage your lawn even in large quantities. Most dogs gobble these down just like dog treats, so if you replace their normal treats with these healthy supplements it is a simple fix.
- Apply a lawn spot treatment product such as dog rocks or another formula. I’ll mention a few recommendations in the next section.
- More drastic measures include replanting your lawn with urine-resistant grass such as fescues types and perennial ryegrasses. If you pegged your neighbors’ dogs as the problem putting up a fence is always an effective method of keeping them out. A less time consuming strategy? Set up a defense perimeter by purchasing a motion activated sprinklers that will spray intruders. This can also be great fun to observe.