Is Your Dog Killing Your Grass?

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  • Beginner
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What You'll Need
Low-nitrogen fertilizers
Dog kennel
Pebbles or mulch
Marking post (bird bath, etc.)
What You'll Need
Low-nitrogen fertilizers
Dog kennel
Pebbles or mulch
Marking post (bird bath, etc.)

If you are proactive, you can prevent your dog from killing grass.

Nitrogen in Dog Waste

The major culprit for dogs killing grass is the animal’s bathroom habits. Dog poop and dog urine can be damaging to the grass.

These waste products contain high levels of nitrogen, which causes burn spots on the grass (think of it as dumping a cup of fertilizer in one place).

While dog poop does cause the same damage to the grass, it is often easier to spot and clean up, and contains less nitrogen.

Dog urine is higher in nitrogen. This amount varies from dog to dog and between breeds, so some dogs cause no problems with yellowing grass, while others cause plenty.

Solutions to Yellowing Grass

yellow spots in grass

Cleaning up dog poop quickly is the best way to prevent yellowing caused by poop.

For urine, while there are tablets on the market that claim to alter the pH of dogs, they don’t work and may actually harm your dog by causing urinary crystals or other problems.

The best thing to do is to have your dog drink lots of water, as this dilutes the urine, decreasing the concentration of nitrogen.

The second thing that is effective is to water the lawn frequently, especially just after the dog urinates.

The first time in the morning has the highest concentration of nitrogen, so it is particularly crucial then.

Also, avoid fertilizers heavy in nitrogen. Those used by grass treatment companies are high in nitrogen because it is a quick-greening chemical.

Pens, Runs, and Training

dog happily running

A solution that solves all the problems is to have a small pen or kennel in one part of the yard where the dog is free to move about, but where the damage from urine, digging, or running is contained to a single area of the lawn.

This solution requires you to let the dog out of the kennel and spend time either walking the dog, playing with it in the yard so you can prevent any digging, and keeping the kennel clean from poop and weeds.

Creating an area of lawn that is landscaped with pebbles or mulch and a marking post such as a bird bath or boulder is another solution.

By training the dog over a series of weeks, you can train him to use that area of the lawn for urinating and pooping. This method requires constant supervision of the dog while in the yard for a number of weeks.