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Healthy Lawn, Healthy Pet: When Dog Urine Leaves Brown Spots in the Yard

dog urineFor many, there’s nothing as nice as a lush, healthy lawn – and that can entail a lot of work! So naturally, dog lovers may struggle when they step out on the deck to see, sigh, another ugly brown spot where Fido has been “going.”

There’s much debate about why dog urine leaves brown spots on grass and even more talk about how to prevent it. While keeping the best interest of your pet – and your lawn – in mind, the team at West Park Animal Hospital wants to help you tackle this unsightly matter.

Why Dog Urine Leaves Brown Spots

It’s no doubt, those brown or yellow spots marking your freshly sodded backyard can be frustrating. You love your doggy, of course, but you keep scratching your head over what to do about the issue. Your dog will need to use nature as nature intended, so all the walks in the world can’t totally prevent your dog from peeing on the lawn.

The biggest issue is the misconception about why dog urine leaves brown spots. While salt and acidity is partly to blame, the primary culprit is actually nitrogen. While nitrogen is great for the lawn in the right amounts, concentrated nitrogen is the cause of all that yellowing.

Certainly, male dogs do love to pee everywhere and “mark their territory,” but they’re actually getting blamed for what is most likely caused by female dogs. Females squat to urinate; therefore, urine doesn’t get distributed as well, but rather stays concentrated in one spot of grass.

Also, the issue of lawn spots may not be totally the fault of your precious pet; other animals in the area may be using your lawn as their personal litter box as well (including wildlife).

Lush Lawn: Preventing Grass Damage

So what is a pet lover to do when fighting this losing battle? Well, there’s no foolproof method out there, but there are some steps you can take, including:

  1. Keep a bucket or garden hose handy in the backyard, and pour water over your pet’s urine spot to spread it out.
  2. Take your pet out on a leash to a specific, more pet-friendly area in the yard to “potty.”
  3. Plant hardy, urine resistant plants and ground cover.
  4. Avoid using harsh chemicals and products that contain high levels of nitrogen to help eliminate some of the acidity being placed on your lawn.
  5. Go for more walks to the park and other places so your pet isn’t only using the yard to eliminate (but use good etiquette by always picking up after your pet and avoid using other people’s lawns and gardens).
  6. Fence off your yard to discourage other animals from using your lawn as their pee zone.

Recently, products have been introduced that are additives to your pet’s diet, which claim to neutralize nitrogen in the urine. However, before making any purchases, please consult with your veterinarian at West Park. It’s far better to take the steps mentioned above rather than alter your pet’s nutrition or rely on something that may not be a healthy solution for your pet.

We welcome your questions!

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