How to Prevent Your Dog’s Urine from Killing Grass
If you have a dog and a lawn then you’ve probably experienced the unsightly yellow spots caused from the urine killing the grass in your yard.
A host of home remedies have arisen including adding baking soda, tomato juice, or vitamin C to the diet. While these products rarely work once in a while, they do help but they work because they make the dog thirstier and they then drink more water and dilute the urine. The real culprit in urine burns is nitrogen.
Because dogs are carnivores and eat a high level of protein in their diet, they break the protein down and excrete it as nitrogen in the urine. The result is a killing of the grass from an overload of nitrogen. You will get the same kind of burn if you put a concentrated handful of fertilizer in one spot. These urine burns will often have a characteristic green ring around the outside edge where the urine was dilute enough to actually work as a fertilizer.
There are a few things that make dog urine burns more prevalent:
- Urine burns tend to be worse with female dogs because they squat and deposit their urine in one place.
- They also are worse in large dogs because they deposit a larger quantity of urine.
- They are worse on yards that are already fertilized regularly.
- Grasses like bluegrass or Bermuda grass are much more sensitive to nitrogen than rye or fescue.
- Lawns that are stressed from drought or disease, or those that are recently sodded or seeded are more susceptible to lawn burn.
Home remedies that help some of the time include:
- Diluting the urine through increasing water consumption. Adding water to the food or adding non-salted broth to the drinking water may help. Canned food has a lot more water in it but it also has its drawbacks.
- Feeding a high quality diet may also help since the protein is more digestible and there are fewer waste products.
- Watering the yard daily helps in some cases but it may not be enough.
- Backing off the fertilizer on your yard may help as well.
- Try planting some tougher species like rye or fescue.
- A dose of one teaspoon to one tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar (depending on size of dog) per day will nullify the nitrogen imbalance and should solve the problem. The apple cider vinegar can be added to the dog’s water or put directly on his food. The natural type from a health food store, not the pasteurized version from the supermarket. I find the apple cider vinegar from horse tack shops are the best.
- Two tablespoons of tomato juice on the dog’s food twice a day will have the same effect.
- If the dogs has already urinated and she has not been treated, then saturate the urinated areas (spots) with water. This will allow the excess nitrogen to leech or dilute through the lawn and reduce the concentration in one area. It is usually best to treat the areas up to 9 hours after urination and to apply at least three times the amount of water to urine to the area.
Okay, so these can or cannot work. Let’s talk about why my yard is so plush and with so many dogs, why don’t I have any yellow spots on it. Number One rule….table food!! YES, if you don’t believe me, ask me what I feed my dogs and read my new article Human Food.
If you feed your dog, fruits, vegetables, and meat, you won’t have any problem with high nitrogen. It will balance their body and not cause the unsightly yellow marks. Yes, they still eat their dog food that is out all the time, but treats should be apples and peanut butter, carrots, berries and bananas. Give them broccoli, celery (add peanut butter), salad if they eat it (mine like it), make them smoothies with fruits and veggies. Yum! So there ya have it, make them eggs (quiche) with broccoli, kale, cheese and goats milk. Make them chicken casseroles with squash, etc. Enjoy!..because they will and your grass will love you!