Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dog Pee and Lawns

Ten Things about dog pee damage to lawns

I just love Ontario Garderner newsletters.  They are wonderful, so I once again have copied for all to read too.  Thank you OG for the great read.

1. Cause. The two components of dog pee that kill lawns are nitrogen and salts. It has nothing to do with pH.



2. Fixing early. If you see a dog peeing on your lawn, douse the area as soon as possible with water. Three times the amount (give it your best guess) within eight hours is recommended. If you see somebody allowing their dog to pee on your lawn, you might consider dousing them with water too!



3. Fixing later. If you don't know your lawn has been peed on until you see the damage, there is only so much you can do. Re-sodding the patch could be an immediate fix if the sod is a good match for your lawn. You can also seed over if there is a bare patch; you'll have to keep the seeded area continuously moist until it is established. Lime or gypsum, which balance out acidity, won't reverse the damage because the damage isn't caused by pH changes.



4. Gender. The urine of male dogs is as damaging to lawns as the urine of female dogs, but male dogs tend to mete out their pee in smaller amounts in order to mark more territory while females tend to squat and pee a bladderful in one spot. This is why owners of female dogs tend to suffer more turf damage than owners of male dogs.



5. Size. Obviously, small dogs produce less urine than big dogs. No correlation has been found between breed and damage other than that owing to size.



6. Supplements. Before you decide to give your dog any of the supplements advertised to prevent lawn burns, think about why your dog pees. Urine comes from the kidneys, which filter unusable materials from the blood. You want those unusable materials out of your dog's blood, right? Consult your vet before feeding your dear pet something that messes with biological processes.



7. Diet change. High nitrogen in pee can come from the dog's diet containing more protein than necessary. Many commercial dog foods have levels of protein meant for very young and active dogs. If you're dog isn't highly active, consider asking your vet what food would give an appropriate level of protein.



8. Drinking water. Dogs that drink more water will have more dilute urine. If you already give your dog all the fresh clean drinking water it likes, you might be able to increase water consumption by moistening dry food or switching to canned food. Adding salt to encourage more water intake could damage kidneys and will add more lawn-damaging salt to the urine anyway. You could try offering salt-free broth if you're desperate.



9. Repeated damage to the same spot. Dogs have their favourite spots. If your dog is the culprit, you should be able to train it to pee in an area that works for you if you're determined (and your dog is not so stubborn as my dachshund). If you don't know what dog it is, try sprinkling the area with dog kibble. Dogs tend not to go where they eat.



10. If all else fails.it may be time to put a scree garden in the affected area!



From top to bottom: (1) The pee patch.(2) Assuming this position is natural. Consult a vet before considering supplements for your pooch. (3) Great amounts of consumed water does any body good. (4) Just when you save your lawn and get the peeing under control, the darn thing digs!


-Shauna Dobbie
Copyright © Pegasus Publications Inc

15 comments:

  1. Sometime cats will leave their poo on the grass here. Grass will turn yellow and die, but it will grow quickly , a lot greener and healthier! ~bangchik

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  2. Great post!! We have a new dog after a few year hiatus, so I am dealing with pee stains, chewing and digging again (quite worried about my garden!). Thanks for all of the useful info. :)

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  3. Fun post. What a hoot. We have two dogs and have experienced all the things your post covers. Such is the life of dog oweners who garden. Our boys keep the Canada Geese out of the yard while leaving the mallards alone. jim

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  4. I had a yard once :) now with 2 active Viszla puppies it has seen better days....I'm going to try and train them to go in one place...we will see how that goes...thanks for the info!

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  5. LOL! Your ending is precious and true, as any dog owner knows. Good info about the cause NOT being Ph and the difference between the male and female urine myth. Great post, Cheryl!

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  6. I have no lawn (I've dug it all up), and I have no dog. It's a win-win scenario!

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  7. Good read. Our girl Buffy usually goes in a wilder area than the front lawn, but she's left some spots where I overseeded dormant grass with annual ryegrass, which dies anyway. The summer grasses are not as tender and recover well. It's only grass, anyhow. I prefer a fun dog to perfect grass.

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  8. That's exactly why our dogs have always been trained to go in one gravel spot area of the yard. Well, that and I hate stepping in nasty surprises in the garden. I admit to grinning an evil grin with the suggestion to douse the owner of the offending pooch with water...after all, it's not really the dog's fault.

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  9. Loved this post! Chock full of great info, plus a good healthy dose of my kind of humour! Excellent : )

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  10. We have two large Retrievers, both females. They never go in the same spot so I rarely notice a burnt spot in the grass. Bit if it did happen, I would say, "Good! Less grass to mow." haha

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  11. Very useful post! My beloved sheltie is just as much an enemy to my garden as frost and floods are. The #2 is actually an even bigger pain though, since poo has rotted a few bromeliads.

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  12. Interesting post! We have 2 male dogs, and a fence around our back yard, and of course, they go out there all the time. We have a lot of areas with just mulch, though, so for the most part, we don't have damage. The thing that really bugs me is when someone walking their dog allows the leash to extend so their dog can go right up on my front lawn! That happens more often than I can believe! I am always careful to keep our dogs on a short leash when walking on the sidewalks through our neighborhood and do not allow that! There are plenty of wooded areas in between houses, so it's hard to understand why people can be so rude. Oh well...it takes all kinds I guess;~}

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  13. WE had several of these dog pee stains and if you catch them in the early spring they disapear quicker.You can use a solution of a gallon of water and cup of liquid lime,per spot and if it still appears brown after second mowing,then you will have to add top soil and grass seed after aggresive raking.

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  14. Lots of good information there. Valerie

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