Lawn burns caused by dog urine are a frustrating problem for any pet parent and homeowner. But the good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent damage to your well-kept lawn. In this post, we'll explain why dog urine causes lawn damage. We'll also share some tips to help you prevent urine burns so you can keep your lawn looking its best.
Why Does Dog Urine Cause Lawn Damage?
Dog urine can cause unsightly brown or yellow patches on your lawn. And it turns out that the compounds in dog urine are responsible for these burns. A dog's urine is rich in urea nitrogen, a byproduct of protein metabolism. In small amounts, nitrogen is actually beneficial for the health of your lawn. This is why you may notice a ring of lush green grass circling dog urine burns. In fact, nitrogen is the main ingredient in most lawn fertilizers.
Eating a protein-rich diet is essential for your dog's health, but it's also the reason why most dogs have high levels of nitrogen in their urine. So, what does all this mean? Put simply, when your dog urinates on your lawn the grass beneath them is exposed to too much nitrogen. This, along with salts and other compounds, is what causes those spots on your lawn.
Common Lawn Burn Myths
In this section of the post, we'll debunk a few common lawn burn myths you may have heard. First, many people believe that a female dog's urine causes more damage than a male’s. And although this is often true, it actually has nothing to do with the levels of nitrogen in a female dog's urine.
The reason why female dogs can cause more damage is because they squat when they urinate. This means that the grass is exposed to more nitrogen in a concentrated area. By comparison, most male dogs tend to lift a leg and urinate on upright objects like trees and fence posts. This results in urine being spread around a wider area.
Another myth you may have heard is that some dog breeds cause more lawn damage than others. This is really only true when it comes to the size of the dog and the volume of urine they produce. In terms of nitrogen content, there's no real difference between various breeds of dog. And while some individual dogs may have more nitrogen in their urine than others, this is generally caused by factors such as diet, water intake, and overall health.
The final myth we'll debunk is that acidic urine causes lawn burns. A healthy dog has naturally acidic urine in the 6.0 to 6.5 pH range. But since most lawns thrive at a pH range of between 6.0 and 7.0, the pH level of a typical dog's urine won't cause any problems.
Preventing Damage to Your Lawn
So far in this post, we've explained what causes lawn burns and debunked some common myths. But what can you do to protect your lawn and prevent dog urine burns? Here's the good news: preventing lawn burns is actually quite simple. Keep reading for our top tips to beat the burn and keep your lawn in tip-top shape.
Dilute the Urine
As we mentioned earlier, the nitrogen content of a dog's urine is responsible for damage to your lawn. So, the best way to prevent burns from happening is by watering the urine down. The easiest way to do this is by encouraging your dog to drink more water. Not only is proper hydration vital for your dog's health, but increased water intake will also dilute their urine so it's less likely to damage your lawn.
Place bowls of fresh water around your home and yard and make sure to refill them often. This is especially important during the warm summer months when dogs are more prone to dehydration. You can also use a hose to spray down your lawn in the areas your dog has urinated. Obviously, this isn't the most convenient solution as you'll need to supervise your dog while they're outside. But if you're sick and tired of urine burns it's a very effective option.
Create an Outdoor Potty Area
Creating an outdoor potty area is one of the simplest ways to prevent damage to your lawn. Consider fencing off a small area in your yard to use as your dog's designated potty area. Instead of grass, opt for a urine-resistant ground cover like clover, artificial grass, or stone mulch. You could even use decorative fencing, plants, or bushes to make the area more attractive or hide it from view.
Train Your Dog to Urinate in One Place
Training your dog to urinate in one place may sound obvious, but it's one of the best long-term solutions to prevent urine burns all over your lawn. This is especially true if you have a smaller yard with no space for a fully-fledged outdoor potty area. First, choose a spot in your yard away from high-traffic areas. If you have enough space, you could even clear the grass from that area and replace it with one of the ground covers mentioned above. This excellent article from The Spruce Pets provides step-by-step instructions for training your dog to go in one spot.
Give Your Dog Lawn Aid Supplements
Giving your dog lawn aid supplements is our final tip for protecting your lawn. So, what exactly is a lawn aid supplement? It's a natural supplement that works by supporting how dogs metabolize nutrients like protein. It regulates nitrogen levels in your dog's body and helps prevents unsightly urine burns.
For best results, we recommend combining two or more of the tips in this post. For example, you could give your dog lawn aid supplements, encourage them to drink more water, and train them to urinate in one place. Finally, it's important to consult with your veterinarian if you're concerned about your dog's urinary health.