At long last, the summer is here. For most of us, this means sunshine, gardening, planting flowers, cutting the grass, and all that good stuff. It also means more outdoor time for our beloved pets, from beach trips to playing fetch in the garden (and trying to steal the odd sausage from the BBQ!)
Exercise and fresh air are fantastic for our canine companions, but their idea of a good time very often involves digging up flowers and peeing all over the garden. Dog urine damages your vibrant green lawn, leaving unsightly patches of dead grass behind.
We spoke about this issue in a previous article, where we looked at various ways to stop dog urine from killing your grass. Because it’s such a popular topic, we wanted to address it again so you can be prepared when the next spell of good weather hits. Today we’re focusing more on how dog urine damages your grass – and how to stop it!
Read on to discover how to keep your garden gorgeously green for everyone to enjoy this summer, including your four-legged friend!
Why does dog urine damage your grass?
Dust off your lab coat and safety goggles, because we’re about to get scientific.
To understand why dog pee kills grass — and learn how to prevent it — we have to look at the chemical reactions that occur when the urine hits the grass.
Dog urine is comprised mainly of nitrogen, which has a similar chemical makeup to bleach. That’s why it leaves light-coloured patches behind, similar to what happens when you accidentally spill a few drops of bleach on a tea towel (or, if you’re very unlucky, your jeans!)
The official term for what happens to grass when a dog pees on it is ‘canine urinal poaceae degradation’.
Essentially, the high nitrogen content in the urine ‘burns’ the grass, leaving yellowy-brown patches behind.
Our top tips to protect your garden from dog urine
Unfortunately, it is impossible to stop dog pee from discolouring your grass. It is a completely natural chemical reaction, and unless you somehow manage to train your dog to use the family bathroom, they have to pee outside somewhere!
However, there are various tactics you can use to minimise the damage to your garden. Here are some of our favourites:
Tip 1: Train them to go in one spot
Go back to basics and teach your dog to pee in a designated spot.
There are many ways to approach this, but any method you choose should be a positive, rewards-based one. You can simply praise your dog when they go to the spot you want them to, or you can try the clicker method. Most dogs respond very well to this method, especially if they are food-motivated.
Every time your dog pees in the correct area, click (or use a verbal marker) and give them a small, tasty treat. If your dog isn’t food-motivated, you can use the clicker and immediately lavish them with praise and cuddles. If you are consistent with this training, your dog should catch on pretty quickly.
For male dogs, introducing a pee post can also work well. Put a wooden post in the designated toilet area and their instinct to pee on things should take over! Follow the same reward method outlined above to reinforce the desired behaviour.
Tip 2: Ground cover
You can try planting a urine-resistant ground cover in your dog’s designated toilet area, such as clover, seeding rye, or fescue grass (which are more resilient than regular grass).
Tip 3: Increase water intake
Your dog should always have access to clean, fresh water all year round.
Proper hydration is essential to your dog’s health, and upping their water intake during warm weather means that their urine will be naturally watered down. This is good news for your grass since the nitrogen content will be less concentrated.
Things you can try to get extra water into your dog include:
- Getting a bigger water bowl
- Placing extra water bowls at convenient spots
- Adding water to their food
- Giving them more canned food, which has a higher water content than dry food
Tip 4: Water down the urine
When you spot your dog peeing on the grass, water down the area with a watering can or garden hose as soon as they’re finished. This will help to dilute the nitrogen content and minimise the damage to your lawn.
At Mark + Chappell, we know pets but we also know people. We want your beloved pooch to enjoy everything that summer has to offer, including having fun in the garden. We also want to give you the tools and advice to be the best pet owner you can be.
We have a wide range of lawn care products that can ensure your grass stays green all summer long.
One of our most popular products is VetIQ Green-Um Lawn Burn Solution, a natural dietary supplement that helps to bind and control the nitrogen waste products released in your dog’s urine. This means they’re less likely to do damage to your lawn and you can also feel good knowing they’re getting extra nutrients like B vitamins to boost their overall health.
Visit us today for more pet knowledge and products to help the whole family enjoy a happy and healthy summer out in the garden!