A dog may be man’s best friend, but it certainly isn’t a lawn’s best friend. No matter the condition of your lawn, if you do have a dog you will notice some damage and find it frustrating to try to keep it looking it’s best.
The damage that dogs cause most often is by urinating in areas and killing the grass
It is often thought that the female dog’s urine is more acidic and causes more damage that a male dog. You may notice more concentrated areas of burnt grass on your lawn if you have a female dog, but this is because they will urinate on a concentrated patch of lawn. The male dog will aim a little higher on a shrub or tree. It is not actually the acidity of urine that damages your lawn’s grass, it is the level of nitrogen and various other compounds which include salts in your dog’s urine. When food is broken down inside your dog’s body the waste products are removed from the body by their kidneys and then passed through their urine. When dogs relieve themselves on your lawn it is these materials that will burn your lawn.
You may have tried DIY products that claim to neutralise the pH of dog urine, but found these are unsuccessful. There are also remedies to change your dog’s diet, such as the addition of garlic and salt, this will increase your dog’s water consumption and in theory dilute their urine, but this can cause problems for your pet dog – Please check with your veterinarian if you choose to change your dog’s diet with supplements
The only sure way of stopping urine damage to your lawn is to train your dog to urinate on another area of your lawn that doesn’t matter to you.
Try to train your dog to go to areas that are not going to be visible, like behind the shed. Dogs do prefer to urinate on grass, but you could have a mulched or gravelled area they could go on instead.
By immediately watering the urinated area it will dilute the concentration of urine, however this will take your full attention to monitor your dog’s actions and may take several gallons of water to fully dilute the areas.
It is very difficult to repair areas where dogs have urinated as they will need to stay off those areas for several months. Your lawn’s soil will need to be dug down to approximately 6 – 8 inches and then replaced with new topsoil. You will then need to seed these areas and water them regularly for the first year to enable to grass roots to develop.
It is not only your dog’s urine that damages your lawn
Dogs will often damage lawns by running up and down certain areas on your lawn. The larger the dog the heavier the area will be damaged. You will need to keep your dog off this area all together if you want to re-establish the area with new seeds. Your dog’s habits may be difficult to re-train. You may need to provide a fence or screen on the areas you need to re-seed. Any new seedlings that come through will only get trampled and ripped out if the area is not protected. The soil in these areas will also become compacted. By aerating your lawn in these areas and applying a top dressing will improve the condition and help new grass seedlings to grow into the soil.
We know you love your dogs but you also want your lawn to be lush green and healthy, a lawn that you can be proud of. We would love to help you find the ideal solution so both your dog and lawn can get along.
Why not contact us for a FREE lawn review service? One of our local lawn care professionals will visit your lawn and identify any issues it may have.