Preventing Dog Spots on Your Lawn

by April Reinhardt
(last updated July 2, 2021)

When applied as a fertilizer in proper amounts, nitrogen promotes lawn growth. If you've ever fertilized your lawn improperly, applying too much nitrogen, you've no doubt experienced lawn burn. The same holds true for dog urine, since it contains concentrated amounts of nitrogen. When a dog urinates on a lawn, concentrated amounts of nitrogen deposit in one spot, manifesting as a burn spot with a tell-tale green ring around the spot. As the nitrogen dilutes the further it spreads, it promotes grass growth at the edges of the lawn burn. Therefore, the nitrogen deposited on your lawn from your dog's urine is beneficial in some ways, yet extremely harmful at the point of impact.

While mild cases of lawn dog spots will repair themselves over time, there are instances when you have to take action to prevent and correct dog spots. Follow these tips to discover how to have a beautiful lawn, while allowing your dog to enjoy being outside:

  • Dilute the urine. As stated earlier, nitrogen is beneficial and promotes grass growth. The outer ring of a dog spot shows increased grass growth because the nitrogen is diluted the further it travels. Water the lawn and dog spots, completely saturating them, to dilute the nitrogen throughout the lawn. Experts agree that it is best to treat the spots with water within eight hours after urination.
  • Replace or repair the spots. If you already have burn spots in your lawn, you can seed them or replace them with new sod.
  • Teach an old dog new tricks. Retrain your dog to urinate in specific areas, if you have extra space to allocate just for that function. Cover the "potty" area with mulch, straw, or hay, and don't worry about growing grass in that area.

Keep in mind that larger dogs cause larger spots. Females usually squat to urinate, blasting the lawn with a more direct and forceful stream of urine, causing more damage to a central area. Also remember that if your yard is not fenced, you will not be able to control neighborhood dogs from urinating on your lawn. If you notice dog spots on your lawn, and you don't even own a dog, it's a safe bet that neighborhood dogs are the culprits. Make a habit each morning to water your lawn and dilute urine that any wandering visitors have deposited the day before.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...


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