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Why Does Dog Pee Ruin Grass? And Other FAQs

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There’s nothing like lounging in your backyard on a sunny summer day—until you look at your lawn a little more closely and notice that it’s covered in yellow and brown patches! 

Your yard may be dog-friendly, but is your dog yard-friendly? Are Fido’s bathroom breaks wreaking havoc on your once-green lawn? Keep reading to learn more about why this happens, and what to do about it. 

Why Does Dog Pee Ruin Grass? 

Your dog may be the most innocent creature on the planet, but that doesn’t mean he can’t inadvertently do some damage. There’s a reason it’s so important to pup-proof your home, after all!  

When Fido does his business on your lawn (just like you trained him to do), you may notice some brown and yellow patchy areas scattered throughout your lawn as part of the aftermath. 

The good news: this is a sign that your dog is healthy and normal. As a result of digesting protein, dog urine naturally contains high levels of nitrogen. While nitrogen can be helpful for fertilizing lawns, the extra nitrogen in your dog’s pee can lead to over-fertilization which causes that dreaded urine burn. 

The bad news: since you can’t exactly stop your dog from answering nature’s calls, you may have to take some extra steps to maintain a lush, green lawn. 

Are Female Dogs More Likely to Cause Lawn Damage? 

Whether you’re the owner of multiple dogs or you’re a regular host of puppy playdates, you may have noticed that some dogs tend to do more damage to our lawns than others. 

One common misconception is that female dog urine is more damaging to grass than male dog urine. Because male and female dog urine has the same chemical makeup, though, it really doesn’t have anything to do with your dog’s genetics.  

That said, female dogs do tend to cause more urine burn—but instead of genetic makeup, it’s all about the way your dog pees! Male dogs spread out their urine a bit more as they stand and lift one leg; female dogs tend to squat while they go, with urine collecting in one spot for more noticeable damage.

Will Changing My Dog’s Diet Protect My Lawn from Urine Burn? 

As mentioned above, the high nitrogen level in your dog’s urine is nothing to be concerned about when it comes to his health. However, it’s an entirely different story when it comes to your lawn’s health. 

While urine burn is a normal result of a healthy protein-rich diet, it is possible to lower those nitrogen levels by switching from processed proteins to fresh proteins, especially in a moisture-rich diet. 

Even if you choose to stick with classic kibble, though, it can be helpful to encourage your dog to drink more water. Not only is hydration important for your pup’s overall health, but it can also help to dilute the nitrogen content in his urine. 

You can also invest in dietary supplements to balance the pH levels of your dog’s urine and reduce urine burn. Just be sure to purchase products from a reputable brand. 

Can Grass Grow Back After Urine Burn? 

Grass is resilient. Even if your pup has done some accidental damage, it’s still possible to have a healthy, green lawn. 

Brown grass is technically dead grass, though, so you won’t necessarily be able to revive the existing grass strands. You can reseed the spots, though—or simply wait for new, healthy grass to grow over the dead patches. 

white short coated dog on green grass

How Can I Keep Dog Pee from Ruining My Lawn? 

As pet owners, sometimes we just have to accept that not every aspect of our homes can be perfectly pristine. That said, there are a few ways you can minimize the damage done to your lawn. 

For example: 

Designate a Dog-Friendly Bathroom Area

Does your dog currently use the entire backyard as his bathroom? If so, you may want to consider training him to only use certain sections of your yard rather than scattering his business throughout your lawn. 

Choose a grassy section of your yard with low visibility, such as the side of the house or an area behind a large bush; this should be a spot where you’re willing to accept the inevitable pee patches. 

Or, skip the grass altogether and section off part of your yard with mulch, gravel, or smooth, paw-friendly stones. 

Switch to Durable Grass Alternatives

Some grass blends are more urine-resistant than others, so you may find it helpful to replace your existing grass with non-toxic grass alternatives such as Irish moss or creeping thyme. 

You could even get rid of the grass and try switching to synthetic turf. 

Spray Down the Urine Spots

Similar to how drinking more water will dilute your dog’s urine, you can also dilute those pee-soaked spots in your yard by spraying them down with a hose. 

Timing is crucial, though—in order for this method to work, you’ll have to be present and ready to hose the area down immediately after your pup pees. 

Use Pet Honesty’s GrassGreen+ Chews

Pet Honesty’s GrassGreen+ Chews can do wonders for the health of your dog and your lawn alike. 

These tasty chews are made with a blend of natural ingredients including probiotics, enzymes, DL-methionine, cranberry, and apple cider vinegar to reduce the nitrogen levels of your dog’s urine. 

While protecting your lawn from urine burn, this powerful blend also promotes healthy digestion to keep your pup on a regular bathroom schedule