How to Neutralize Your Lawn From Dog Urine Damage

by Judith Willson, Demand Media
    Try training your dog not to use the lawn as a toilet.

    Try training your dog not to use the lawn as a toilet.

    Dog urine is packed full of nitrogen, a plant nutrient. You’d think this would be good for a lawn, but sometimes the nitrogen is so concentrated that it burns the grass rather than nourishing it.

    Items you will need

    • Bucket
    • Spade
    • Grass seed or turf

    Step 1

    Provide your dog with constant free access to fresh water. Dehydration not only concentrates the urine, causing more damage to your lawn, it is also not at all pleasant or healthy for the dog.

    Step 2

    Train your dog to urinate in one spot, preferably not on the lawn. Alternatively, you could take the opposite tack and make sure she (and if urine damage is a problem, it’s more likely that your dog is a she since bitches tend to squat, producing a puddle of sometimes more concentrated pee, while male dogs use urine to mark their scent) doesn’t urinate in the same place every day

    Step 3

    Fill a bucket with water -- rain or gray water is fine -- and slosh it liberally over the spot where your dog last piddled. The urine isn’t actually toxic, so if you dilute it enough, it will nourish rather than burn the grass.

    Step 4

    Take up any spots where the grass appears to have died, scrape away the top half-inch of soil and reseed. You don’t need to do much else as the urine will now have soaked into the soil and dispersed to some extent, simply making the soil more fertile.

    Tips

    • A fence and/or a motion-sensitive sprinkler should help stop other people’s dogs using your lawn as a lavatory.
    • Try creating a small graveled area at the side of the lawn and train your dog to pee there. Urine does not usually damage gravel.

    Warning

    • It is nitrogen, not acid, in the urine that causes the problem. Spraying the urine-soaked patches of grass with a baking soda or similar solution does nothing other than waste baking soda -- just use plain water. It is not alkalinity either so ignore misguided advice to feed your dog supplements to try and lower the pH (increase the acidity) of her urine. This won’t do any good whatsoever; in fact, it could be hazardous to the dog.

    About the Author

    Judith Willson has been writing since 2009, specializing in environmental and scientific topics. She has written content for school websites and worked for a Glasgow newspaper. Willson has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

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