In small doses, dog urine can actually have a positive effect on the health of your lawn. This is because dog pee contains nitrogen, which can actually be helpful if applied a little at a time. The problem with dogs is that they tend to urinate in one spot or around the same spot every time they go. This causes lawn burn because the excess nitrogen gets concentrated on one area of the lawn.
You will know that you are suffering from lawn burn when you start seeing brown spots in your grass. To make sure that it is lawn burn and not grub related, grab the grass that is in the brown spot and give it a tug. If it is still rooted in the ground then you know there is an animal causing the problem.
Once you are sure that you are dealing with dead spots from doggie damage, it is time to put a plan into action for treatment and prevention of lawn burn.
Best Grass for Dog Urine
There are several solutions to handling burn spots in the yard, but one of the best ways to treat it is by planting grass that can handle the excess nitrogen from pee. There are 3 main types of grass that I recommend to everybody who has pets that will use the lawn as a bathroom.
While no grass is one hundred percent able to withstand dog abuse, these 3 will recover faster and grow to cover up the dead spots.
1. Turf-Type Tall Fescue – All around great grass for dogs and high traffic areas. Turf-Type Tall Fescue grass is extremely drought resistant because the roots grow deep down into the earth. It is dense and can withstand cooler temperatures. Usually it will stay green for 8 months and up to 9 months in some areas. The only downside is that it takes a little longer to fill in than Rye grass and Kentucky Bluegrass.
2. Perennial Rye Grass – This is one of the strongest and fastest growing grass types on the market. It is tough and can hold up under heavy traffic. When Perennial Rye Grass gets damaged, it grows back fast. If you live in warmer climates be sure that the grass has adequate water during the hot season.
3. Kentucky Bluegrass – This is also a great high traffic lawn grass, that will spread faster than the Turf Type Tall Fescue. Studies have shown though that Kentucky Bluegrass can not withstand dog urine as much as the fescue. For this reason I do not recommend planting solely Kentucky Bluegrass, I recommend mixing in the bluegrass with fescue or perennial rye when seeding a lawn.
Ways to Prevent or Treat Lawn Burn on Current Grass
Removing current grass and planting new takes time, work and money, and you will need all three in order to do the job right. For some people this isn’t feasible when other options will work just as good. The following are great treatment and repair options if you have brown dead spots.
1. Take Preventative Actions – If you have the time, prevention is always the best method. One way to counteract the nitrogen and salts from dog urine is to pour water over the area that your dogs use to relieve themselves. This will dilute the area and wash away the harmful agents.
Another great tip is to make a designed area for your dogs to do their business. There are excellent training methods found online that will show you how to train your dog to go in a discreet area of your yard every time.
A fast and easy tip I have for prevention is to use Dog Rocks in their water bowl. This is a 100% natural way of giving your pets cleaner water to drink.
The rocks work by removing the excess nitrates from the water, and this helps to prevent the burn marks from occurring on plants and grass.
2. Reseeding the Burn Spot Areas – From experience I can tell you that reseeding a lawn takes patience and consistency to give it the water it needs to fully grow.
The best reseeding grass seeds that I have used is the Jonathan Green Fast Grow grass seed. It comes in much faster than the other brands such as Scotts, costs less and frankly it works better. Just follow the instructions and you will have an even beautiful lawn in no time.