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Removing Dog Pee Stains from the Lawn

Picture of dog and girl laying on the grass

You work hard to maintain a nice lawn every summer. Yet no matter how hard you try, it seems there are always unsightly stains throughout it. One of the down sides of dog ownership is dealing with dead grass and yellow stains on your prized lawn. It hurts your eyes to look at the damage inflicted on your beautiful grass by your favorite canine pal. By the end of the summer, your lawn starts to more closely resemble some sort of camouflage afghan than the pristine verdant green blades of grass you had imagined. Is there a way for Fido to be able to relieve himself outdoors without ruining your efforts at a perfectly manicured lawn? 

What Causes Urine Stains on Grass?

Though many dog owners believe there is an acidic compound in urine that causes grass to die when it comes in contact with dog urine, this is actually not true. Dog urine contains a high concentration of a chemical known as nitrogen. Nitrogen is essentially a waste product which is excreted each time your dog urinates. The canine diet is typically high in protein to address our dogs’ preferred carnivorous diet. When high protein meals are processed through our dogs’ digestive systems, nitrogen is extracted then selected for elimination. It is this process which sets our lawns up for failure.

How to protect your lawn from urine stains

Since switching your dog to a vegetable-based diet is far less than ideal for his health and nutritional needs, a different approach to eliminating dog pee stains on grass must be found.

Here are some potential solutions to rescue your lawn from unsightly urine stains:

Monitor then water
One of the most effective ways to protect your grass from urine burns is to monitor when and where your dog pees. Once you are aware of the particular location, you can immediately grab your trusty garden hose and water the spot to remove as much of the nitrogen as you possibly can. This will not completely eliminate nitrogen’s effect on the grass, but it will reduce it greatly.

Cultivate a different type of grass
Certain types of grass are more delicate than others, and thus, are far more prone to urine burns. If you find your lawn seems to suffer with intense yellow or brown patches, it may be that you indeed have the wrong type of grass. Re-sodding an entire yard is a rather daunting process, but if you take great pride in your lawn, it may well be worth the time and effort for you. Among the most desirable grasses with urine-resisting properties are fescue and perennial ryegrass. 

Install a litter box or artificial turf area
If re-sodding is not an option and keeping on top of all of Fido’s favorite “watering holes” is just too daunting a task, a litter box or fenced potty area might be the perfect solution to your burnt grass woes. Artificial turf is an ideal substance for a dog potty spot. It feels and acts like grass, and your dog will soon learn the purpose of the spot with minimal effort on your behalf.

Try a different dog food
It is possible that you are feeding Fido a very high protein dog food, and it is wreaking havoc with your lawn. You can help reduce nitrogen levels in your dog’s urine by sourcing an equally high quality food that is lower in protein content or obtains its proteins from a lower octane source. 

Encourage your dog to drink lots of water
Though many people mistakenly believe that PH is partly to blame for urine staining in lawns, drinking lots of water is still very helpful for your dogs. Diluting the concentration of Fido’s urine ensures that there is less nitrogen per output of urine thus slightly minimizing any potential damage. 

Take your dog out on a leash for pee breaks
If you can’t beat the pee stain problem entirely, you can help to localize the damage. Taking your dog out on a leash for his pee times can help you to direct your dog to the perfect spot. To do this, you must select an area in your yard that will become Fido’s potty area. Take him to that area on a lead each time he needs to go out to pee. This will mean that that area of your lawn will become quite badly damaged; however, the ruined grass will be limited to that one area instead of interspersed throughout your entire lawn. 

Use a fertilizer
When all else fails, start again! Grass that is the recipient of dog urine will scorch and stain, unfortunately. The best remedy is to simply add some fertilizer and begin the growing process again.

Can ruined grass be saved?

Unfortunately, once grass has been urine scorched, it is impossible to bring it back. The best course of action is prevention. Thankfully, if your grass has been marred by urine stains, you can bring it back to life with fertilizer, a proper watering schedule, and by directing Fido’s urinary efforts to a specific locale.

Can Fido and the perfect lawn cohabit peacefully together? With a few preventative measures in place; yes, they can! Try some of these tips to see some improvements in your lawn today.

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