STOP Dog Pee Killing Grass – 4 Steps To Prevent

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My two border collies – Dash and Denver are great, but I can’t say the same about what their pee can do to my lawn! Dog urine can cause unsightly yellow patches and brown patches in your backyard and front yard and can inevitably kill the grass.  

And reviving a dead lawn is a daunting task that involves spreading grass seed and applying lawn repair treatment strategies. 

Therefore, as the saying goes “prevention is better than cure”, here are a few ways to stop dog pee from killing grass. 

Why is My Dog’s Pee Killing Grass?

Many homeowners believe that the high acidic levels in dog urine kill grass, but this is a misconception.

The high levels of nitrogen in dog urine cause yellow patches, brown patches, and dead patches and eventually kill the grass. 

dog pee killing grass

Nitrogen in Dog Urine

Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for your lawn and an important component of lawn fertilizer.

However, dogs’ urine contains urea, which is a mix of 46 percent nitrogen as well as saltThis high nitrogen and salt content can cause death or injury to your lawn in the form of urea burns.

These burns are characterized by rings of thick green lush grass surrounded by a yellow patch of grass or brown patches. 

The damage caused by the excess nitrogen in dog urine is similar to spilling a bag of fertilizer that causes “fertilizer burn“. 

Concentration of Urine in Small Areas

As a dog owner, you’ve probably already noticed that your dog prefers to pee in the same spot over and over again due to the smell. Dogs use urine and sometimes feces to mark the area that they consider their own – their territory. 

You may not be able to smell dog urine in that location, but remember your dog’s nose is 1000 times more powerful than yours. 

When your paw-pal repeatedly urinates in the same area, the accumulation of excess nitrogen not only kills the grass but prevents new grass from growing.

dog peeing on grass

What Can Affect Dog Urine Damage?

There are several factors that affect dog urine damage, most notably:

Diet

Dogs need essential amino acids found in protein in order to thrive. There are myriad benefits of providing your dog with a high-protein diet including improved skin and coat health, growth of lean muscle, and boost to the immune system. 

However, large amounts of protein translate to higher nitrogen in dog urine since the proteins break down to release nitrogen compounds. 

Water Intake

The more water your dog drinks, the more diluted the nitrogen content in their urine will be. Encouraging your dog to drink adequate water whether fresh water or distilled water and not drink excessively from its water bowl will not only reduce the chances of bladder stones but prevent lawn brown spots. 

dog drinking water on grass

Gender

Many pet owners believe that female dogs cause more damage to lawns than male dogs, but this is partly true. 

This misconception stems from the fact that female dogs squat and urinate in one concentrated patch whereas male dogs spray their urine over a larger area. 

However, what doesn’t change between the two genders is the chemical makeup, and neither male dog urine nor female dog urine is more harmful to lawns than the other. 

It all boils down to concentration and any dog whether female, male or elderly dog that squats and pees releases nitrogen in the same spot, which causes brown patches and lawn damage. 

Breeds

The breed of a dog doesn’t affect dog urine damage. In fact, you’ll notice that dogs of two different breeds can pee and cause the same level of lawn damage. 

How to Identify Dog Urine Damage in Grass

Identifying dog urine in the grass can be tricky because there are various other reasons that can cause yellow spots, brown spots, and green spots. 

  • Yellow spots – The high concentration of nitrogen-containing compounds and associated salts in dog pee can cause yellow spots in your lawn. 
  • Brown spots – A high concentration of nitrogen will first cause yellow grass spots and then brown spots, which indicates that the patch is dying. 
  • Green spots  – If you notice spots or rings of thick dark green grass around the yellow patches, too much nitrogen from dog urine may be the cause of the issue. 
Dog Urine Damage in Grass

Yellow Spots from Dog Urine 

If your vibrant green lawn has suddenly been tainted with yellow spots, it’s probably dor urine to blame.

The yellow patches in your lawn can also be the result of several other factors such as excessively hot weather that causes dryness, disease, especially fungal diseases, nutrient deficiencies, and/or pests. 

Excess nitrogen also causes yellow spots and generally results from overfertilizing or dog pee. Dog urine yellow spots are often bordered by greener grass because the edges that are diluted by the pee actually feed the grass just like the fertilizer. 

The more concentrated center of the dog pee spot burns the roots and causes yellow discoloration. 

Brown Spots from Dog Urine 

When dog urine causes excess nitrogen in your soil, the grass in that area will first turn yellow and then brown as it dies. 

And reviving dead grass is no easy task, leaving you with only two options:

  1. Sow fresh grass seed such as Pennington Smart seed or a combination of grass seed
  2. Lay sod (not an economical solution)
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However, it’s a good idea to check if the grass is actually dead to determine the right solution to revive dead grass. 

Green Spots from Dog Urine 

Contrary to yellow and brown spots that are caused by dog urine, dark green spots mean that the dog urine is benefiting the lawn in those areas. 

When dark green spots appear on your lawn, you should perform a soil test and fix the nutrient deficiency in other areas of your lawn. 

A soil test will reveal the missing nutrients in your lawn and help you determine the right fertilizer to fix the issue. 

After correcting the soil, your dog’s urine may burn the grass if you don’t take appropriate measures to prevent dog pee damage. 

How to Prevent Dog Urine Damage in Your Lawn

1 – Limiting Access to Certain Areas of the Yard

The best way to prevent dog urine damage in your lawn is by only allowing your dog to access certain areas of your lawn. You can set up additional fences on your lawn and/or provide your dog access to the backyard and not the front yard. 

2 – Training Dogs to Use Designated Areas for Urination

Training your dog to use designated areas to pee is another option to prevent dog urine damage in your lawn. This can be achieved by using pee posts or dog treats (positive reinforcement). 

Dog Training to Use Designated Areas for Urination

3 – Providing Plenty of Water to Dilute Urine

Monitoring your dog outdoors and watering the area after your dog pees will dilute the urine and reduce the effects of nitrogen on your lawn. Further, encouraging your dog to drink more water can lessen the concentration of nitrogen in the urine. 

4 – Adding a Grass Dilution Product to the Dog’s Water

There are certain products you can add to your dog’s water that will lower the nitrogen concentration in the urine. Dog Rocks are a 100 percent natural and safe solution for burn marks, yellow patches, and brown spots caused by dog pee.

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You can also try a few home remedies to prevent dog urine damage in your lawn:

  • Add a teaspoon to one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to your dog’s water bowl to nullify the nitrogen imbalance in the urine.
  • Tomato juice also works well the reduce the nitrogen content in dog urine. Add 2 tablespoons of tomato juice to your pooch’s food twice a day to balance nitrogen in dog urine. 
  • Planting grass that is more resistant to dog urine
  • Using a lawn repair product specifically designed to prevent damage from dog urine

Here’s an informative video on how to prevent dog urine spots on lawn:

HOW TO PREVENT DOG URINE SPOTS & STOP DOG URINE KILLING GRASS

How Do I Restore My Lawn After Dog Urine?

Watering the Affected Area Immediately After a Dog Urinates

Watering the area immediately after your dog relieves itself will reduce nitrogen concentration and prevent the grass from drying out. Furthermore, diluting the grass will wash away any residues in the soil and will make other dogs less interested in marking the area. 

Do Not Apply Nitrogen Fertilizer to the Affected Area

Since dog urine already contains nitrogen, it will serve as a nitrogen fertilizer so applying nitrogen fertilizer can do more harm to your grass than good. 

You should ideally perform a soil test to see what nutrients are missing in the soil and then buy the appropriate fertilizer. 

Replacing the Damaged Grass with a Urine-resistant Variety

If dog urine has damaged major parts of your lawn, it makes sense to replace the existing grass with a urine-resistant variety.

Although there is no grass type that is 100 percent urine-resistant, ryegrass and fescue hold up pretty well to dog urine. Bermudagrass and zoysiagrass are great warm-season grasses for a dog-friendly lawn because they establish dense roots.

What Can You Put on Grass to Stop Dogs from Peeing on it

There are many things you can put on the grass to prevent your dog and your neighbor’s dog from venturing into your territory. These products steer dogs away owing to their strong scents and include:

  • Cayenne pepper,
  • Vinegar,
  • Garlic,
  • Ammonia,
  • Rubbing alcohol. 

Do not spread these products directly on the grass as they may cause more damage than dog urine, but spread these substances along the boundaries of your yard. 

PRO TIPS

Some of these products are also toxic to dogs and grass, so you have to be careful when using them. Forn example, vinegar is a non-selective, meaning it will damage grass and plants it comes in contact with. 

Dog Pee Killing Grass – Home Remedy, Pills, and Supplements?

I’ve discussed home remedies earlier like tomato juice and apple cider vinegar, but here are some pills and supplements you can try to fix the dog pee-killing grass issue. 

The Pet Honesty Grass Green chews are formulated to keep your dog’s digestive system and intestines healthy to prevent grass burns. 

It contains a mix of amino acids, medicinal plants, and probiotics, and is a tantalizing treat for dogs of all ages. 

Next up is GoodGrowlies grass treats for dogs – chewable treats that are designed to moderate nitrogen levels in your dog’s urine.

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  • Improve Dog's Digestive and Bladder Function - with natural and essential ingredients like probiotics, enzymes, cranberry and DL-Methionine, these stay green bites not only take care of your lawn, but also support your dog's health, promoting better digestion and support proper urinary tract and bladder function.
  • Health Treat Dogs Actually Love - We not only created a natural urine lawn saver supplement for dog, but we also made sure that our furry customers love the taste. We added natural chicken for the a delicious taste of our dog pee grass treatment.

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What I particularly like about the GoodGrowlies treats is that it contains natural and essential ingredients such as cranberry and probiotics, which promote better digestion and support proper tract and urinary function. 

FAQ About Dog Pee and Grass

Q. Will Grass Grow Back after Dog Urine?

A. The answer depends on the extent of damage caused by the dog’s urine spots. Yellow grass is often easy to revive as it indicated the initial stages of deteriorating grass health. 

Brown grass however in most cases is dead grass, but you can reseed the area to get a lush green lawn in no time.

Even if you skip reseeding, the green grass surrounding the brown spots will eventually take over the dead patch. 

Q. Do Female Dogs Cause More Damage? 

A. You’ve probably heard this statement over and over again – “female dogs kill grass”. Even though there may be some truth to this statement owing to female dogs squatting when they urinate, it is the nitrogen in dog urine that kills grass. 

Male dog urine can also kill grass quickly if you have a well-fertilized lawn that’s also rich in nitrogen.

Adding to this, larger dogs, whether male or female create more urine, which increases the likelihood of burns. 

Final Thoughts 

If you notice yellow and/or brown patches in your lawn, the first thing to do is determine what’s causing the issue. Dog pee contains a high amount of nitrogen and can cause grass burn similar to fertilizer burn. 

However, there are a few measures you can take to prevent grass burn damage from dog pee. These include limiting the dog’s access to certain areas of your yard, diluting the dog’s urine, and home remedies including pills and supplements.