Beagle dog peeing and marking territory. Funny puppy rise paw and wee in grass.

Dogs, lawns and answering nature’s call

We love our dogs and we also love a nice, green lawn. Can they coexist?

Thanks to lawn and animal behavior experts, Dr. Ilana Reisner, Director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Nick Christians, professor at Iowa State University, we don’t have to settle for one of the two. They agree that the culprit of lawn damage, those unsightly brown spots, is the nitrogen in the urine. 

If the affected area turns a deeper shade of green than the rest, this means the lawn is underfed; the urine is providing the nitrogen it craves. 
Solution: Feed the entire lawn and the colors will even out.

- Nick Christians

Brown spots occur when dogs pee in the same place over and over and the Nitrogen in their urine burns the grass, just like overfeeding with a chemical lawn fertilizer.
Solution: Water the spot immediately after the dog pees, it will dilute the nitrogen and prevent burning. This also may force the dog to use different spots but if that doesn't happen, use portable fencing make sure they can't keep attacking the same spot.

- Nick Christians

Grass burning is particularly bad when a dog haven't urinated for long periods of time, such as early morning or at the end of the day, this is because this urine is rich in nitrogen, combined with the fact dogs use the same spot to pee, the result will be a damaged lawn.
Solution: Take the dog out for a walk at these times. Alternatively, give your dog a dedicated spot far away in your backyard.

- Dr. Ilana Reisner

Don’t withhold water from your pets, that will concentrate the nitrogen. Instead, give your dog extra water, you also may add water or wet food to their dry food to increase water intake; it may dilute the urine enough that it doesn’t damage grass.

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