How to Keep Dogs from Urinating on Your Lawn

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How to Keep Dogs from Urinating on Your Lawn

Our four-legged canine friends may be awfully cute, but the damage that can come from dogs urinating on your grass is definitely NOT cute. Because of the high concentration of nitrogen in dog urine, it can leave unsightly brown “dog spots” on your lawn. The urine is quickly absorbed into the ground and soil, which will ultimately damage the roots of your grass, causing the brown spots. This is a frustrating problem for many homeowners, but fortunately, there are some preventative measures that you can take to keep the dogs, and their spots, out of your yard.

If the canine culprit is your own pet, there are food additives that claim to neutralize the acid in your dog’s urine to help prevent brown spots from occurring. However, because the nitrogen in the urine is the main factor behind brown spots, not the acid, most of these additives won’t work. Additionally, many veterinarians warn against altering your dog’s diet for the purpose of changing the acid content in the urine, as this can cause problems for your dog. Better alternatives for preventing the dog spots are to plant urine-resistant grasses, such as fescue and perennial ryegrass. These grasses don’t suffer in the way that others, like Kentucky Bluegrass, do as a result of dog urine. You can also avoid using lawn fertilizers that contain nitrogen. With these fertilizers, your lawn will be getting a double dose of nitrogen, leading to brown spots where your dog makes his or her own little nitrogen deposit. Finally, you can follow your dog around with a garden hose or watering can, and once your pooch does its business, water the area immediately. This will dilute the nitrogen and spread it more evenly over your yard so it’s not all concentrated in one spot. Oftentimes, this will prevent the brown spot from ever occurring.

Brown spots on the yard can be more annoying, however, when you don’t even own a dog. If a neighborhood dog has chosen to make your lawn its personal toilet, there are some things you can do to help the pooch rethink its decision. One of the more popular solutions to prevent wandering pups from coming to your yard is to invest in a motion-activated sprinkler. These sprinklers will deliver a high pressure burst of water whenever Rover decides to pop a squat on your lawn. If you’re expecting company though, you’ll want to switch it off unless you plan on greeting your guests with towels and a blow-dryer. You could also try home-made remedies to keep the dogs off your grass. Sprinkling a mixture of cayenne pepper and black pepper or spraying vinegar around the perimeter of your yard may help prevent the dogs from coming your way, and many people have turned to this method. Your neighbors may think it a little odd to see you carting your spice rack around the yard, sprinkling a little of this and that, but who cares? As a final option, you might consider installing a fence if you don’t already have one. Closing off your yard with a fence is the one sure way to keep the dogs from coming in.

With these preventative measures in mind, you shouldn’t have to worry about dog spots any longer. You’ll be happy, your grass will be happy, and the dog..well, it’ll just have to adjust.


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2 comments

  1. Great information on this site. My dog goes directly off the deck so there is a 10×10 patch of my beautiful Kentucky Bluegrass that has burn marks. I have been thinking about using barn lime as it has a high PH i believe. I have seen farmers hire a truck to spread on their fields. You mention acid from urine, and I’m thinking this lime is a base. Not sure how that relates to nitrogen and if I am missing something here.

  2. Chad,

    It’s worth a shot, but make sure you don’t use too much as it may unbalance your soil’s pH too much. You could also try zeolite or balancing the nitrogen with extra carbon (in the form of table sugar). Good luck!

    P.S. You might try some behavioral treatment for training your dog to go somewhere else 😉

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