Dogs bring a lot of joy into our lives, and they are indeed the best friends we have. Owners like to let their dogs play outside and run around the yard, but they will urinate on the lawn sooner or later. Luckily, there are methods to stop dog urine from killing your grass.
Train your dog to urinate on a designated spot, or take her to multiple walks. Plant resistant grass, and water it regularly. Add gravel, or even place “Pee Post” on their favorite spots. And finally, give them quality food and a lot of water.
Here are the best prevention methods which are going to make both you and your dog happy. But first, let’s see why your dog urine has such a powerful effect on grass.
Why is Dog Urine Killing My Grass?
Urine contains a lot of chemical compounds that are completely natural byproducts of digestion, but unfortunately, some of those chemicals can burn and kill the grass. The biggest problem, when it comes to dog urine, is the high concentration of nitrogen compounds. In small quantities, nitrogen can be beneficial, but in high concentrations, the effect on grass is harmful.
Female dogs make a bit more damage than male dogs because they urinate in a different position. Their urine flows in a very directed and precise manner into one spot. Males will also do damage, but usually in smaller and more scattered patterns.
But be careful not to blame your dog every time you see your grass turning brownish. It could be that your grass is going dormant. If you happened to have new sod, you should also keep your dogs away from it for a few days.
How Do I Stop Dog Urine From Killing My Grass?
The following natural methods are highly effective, especially when combined.
Training the Dog
Training the dog is the cheapest and the best method to keep your lawn looking perfectly. It may take a while, but spending time with the dog and learning new skills improves your relationship with the pet and deepens your mutual bond.
As an example, it was easier than we thought to train our little corgi to respect the invisible electric fence we recently installed in our yard.
Choose a spot in the corner of the yard, or somewhere where urine spots won’t look bad. Train your dog to use that spot every time. By doing this, you will enable the growth of grass everywhere else, and your lawn won’t be affected by the harmful chemicals in the dog urine.
When you wake up in the morning or come home from work, it is straightforward and convenient to just let the dog in front of the house to do what the dog needs to do.
Instead of doing that, try to take your dog walking around the neighborhood multiple times a day. Dogs like to explore, and different smells will make them urinate in various spots, away from the lawn. When the dog gets used to it, the yard will eventually be used as a playground and not a toilet. Besides, walking has numerous health benefits for both you and your beloved pet.
Placing a Pee Post
Pee post is a great option to make your dog urinate on a designated spot without any special or time-consuming training. These posts can be installed anywhere in the yard, including grass-free areas usually avoided by dogs.
A pee post is a plastic post that contains dog pheromones, and that smell attracts them a lot. To install it, dig the bottom part into the ground, and leave the rest standing upright.
These devices come in different colors, but most of them are very bright. A pee post is one of the best ways to make the dog urinate in the same spot. You can also spray lemon juice on top of other places where the dog urinated before to divert the dog. Citrus smell has a repelling effect on them.
Ensure your Dog’s Diet is Adequate
Feeding your dog with quality food ensures long life and health. Many pet owners choose quality brands or even prepare the food themselves.
Avoid low-cost brands full of grains and additives. Give them meat-based, protein-balanced, dog food. Because dogs are omnivores, give them dog-safe vegetables too, to balance their diet. Proteins are essential for dogs, but they make urine terrible for the lawn.
Adding broccoli, sweet potato, zucchini, decreases the urine’s nitrate content. Give them vegetables three times a week, or consult a veterinarian for a diet plan.
Watering the Lawn
Watering the lawn (but not too much) makes your grass grow thick and strong. To keep it that way, every time you see your dog urinate, rinse that spot with water. If a dog urinates in a different place every time, and you have a large yard, you may not have a problem at all.
But some dogs prefer to do it at the same spot repeatedly. To prevent permanent grass damage, you can water the location daily. Water will rinse off the nitrates from grassroots and enable growth.
Giving Lots of Water to the Dog
Watering the lawn is essential, but hydrating your dog is also very important. Provide a bowl with fresh water that is accessible to the dog at all times.
Drinking enough water dilutes the urine and decreases the concentration of nitrates. Besides, drinking lots of water is healthy for your dog to eliminate all kinds of impurities from the body. Remember that if your dog likes to drink a lot, you will have to walk him frequently. The dog needs to urinate regularly.
Planting Resistant Grass
Not every grass is suitable for dog owners, and some species are more resistant than others. If you have a dog that likes to urinate on the lawn, plant the right grass.
The best ones are Kentucky Bluegrass, Fescue, Zoysia, and Perrenial Ryegrass. These species have a higher nitrate resistance, and the dog urine won’t kill them easily. They also look nice, they are not complicated to grow, and your dog can use it as a toilet.
However, no grass is entirely resistant to dog urine, so at least try to teach the dog not to urinate on the same spot every time.
Portable potties are great for everyone who wants to keep their lawn looking nice and fresh, free from urine spots. Because they are portable, they can even be used inside.
It is basically a portable pet toilet covered with artificial grass, which can be cleaned easily, and it removes the urine smell. There are various brands in the market and you can buy them in different sizes to accommodate your dog’s needs. It will take a while to teach the dog to use artificial grass over the real one, but it is worth the effort.
Because it can be used indoors, if you go out of the house for a day, the dog will have a toilet inside.
The following video demonstrates how to use one of these portable parties. Different brands have different designs and parts, but I think you’ll get a good idea of what portable potties are like in general by watching this video.
Add Gravel to Their Favorite Spots
Gravel can be an excellent addition to your yard. Add some in places where the dog likes to urinate. Be creative and make some gravel path or anything that fits into the landscaping. Teach the dog to use these places instead of the grass.
The rest of your lawn will look great and be urine-free. Instead of gravel, you can add any cover you like. Just make sure it has good drainage properties for the urine to go through.
Apply Lawn Treatment
If the damage is already done, there is nothing you can do except repair it.
But don’t worry, there are ways to fix it. You can buy products made specifically for this purpose. These dog lawn repair treatments will add enzymes and soil cleaners to the ground and help restore the grass.
Many of these treatments are organic and made from natural ingredients. The only downside is that you will have to wait for a while for grass to grow again.
Which Methods Should I Avoid?
Some methods are simply not useful, and others are questionable and downright unhealthy for your dog.
Lawn fertilizers can seem like a good idea, but they actually do more harm than good when combined with dog urine. One of the main components of fertilizers is nitrogen. Combine with chemical compounds in the dog urine, the nitrogen content becomes too high, and it will actually start killing your grass.
Questionable Food Supplements
Some available methods are easy to implement, but many veterinarians advise dog owners against it.
There are a few food supplements in the market that affect the chemical balance in dog urine. Some of those are meant to be added into the dog food and some into the water.
As much as you want your lawn to look healthy, you can’t use a method that may hurt your dog. Grass killing chemicals are an entirely natural byproduct of your dog’s urine, and you can’t just make it go away.
Unnaturally influencing that balance can have adverse health side effects, especially in very young or old dogs.
Adding Baking Soda or Vinegar to Baking Soda
Another popular belief is that baking soda, or vinegar, added to your dog’s drinking water, does some magic. Both of these are weed killers, and they will kill the grass too. Besides, making your dog drink something like that is extremely unhealthy in the long run.
If you want to alter the water somehow, the safest thing to do is to filter it. There are numerous water filters available on the market that you can use inside your home. Filtered water is safe for both human and animal use.