Skip to content

Dog Pee Killing Your Grass? Here’s What to Do About It

Grey and white Pitbull sitting on grass with red leaves

Are you tired of seeing unsightly yellow patches ruining your once lush green lawn? Frequent urination by your canine friend may be killing your grass — so what’s a dog owner to do? 

In fact, many dog owners experience the pervasive lawn damage caused by their pet’s urine. But resorting to indoor potty pads likely isn’t a sustainable solution.

In this guide, we’ll cover how to determine whether your grass is being impacted by your dog’s potty routine, and, more importantly, what to do about it. 

First Off, Does Dog Pee Actually Kill Grass?

Yes – dog pee can certainly harm grass, especially if in high concentration. Dog urine contains nitrogen and ammonia, which, when concentrated in one spot, can burn and damage grass. This typically results in yellow or brown patches. 

Are Some Dogs More Likely to Burn Grass Than Others?

In fact, some dogs are more likely than others to cause grass burn from their urine. 

For instance, large dogs tend to produce more urine, which means they deposit larger amounts of nitrogen onto the grass. Also, a dog's diet can affect the nitrogen content and pH level of their urine. Diets high in protein can result in urine with higher nitrogen levels, increasing the risk of grass burn. 

It’s also been reported that female dogs are more likely to cause grass burn than male dogs. This is because female dogs typically squat to urinate, depositing urine in a smaller area and potentially causing more concentrated damage.

Is It Possible to Decrease the Nitrogen in the Urine?

There are a few steps you can take to decrease the nitrogen content in your dog’s pee, thus reducing the impact on your lawn. 

For one, you might adjust your dog’s diet to be lower in protein, decreasing the nitrogen level. 

However, always consult a vet to determine a diet that is appropriate for your dog's age, size, and health needs.

You can also increase your dog’s water intake. Encourage your dog to drink more water by adding it to their food and/or having a water fountain available. This can help dilute the urine and reduce its nitrogen concentration.

Finally, take your dog for more frequent bathroom breaks to prevent their urine from becoming too concentrated. Direct your dog to urinate in different areas of the yard so their potty spot doesn’t become too concentrated. 

5 Signs Dog Pee Might Be Killing Your Grass

Dog peeing on grass

There are many reasons why your lawn might be looking a little, well, dead. From the changing of the seasons to pesky parasites, there are several potential causes of a wilted lawn. 

However, there are a few telltale signs that doggy potty time is a cause of your lawn care woes: 

  1. Placement: The patches of yellow or brown grass appear in areas where your dog (or your neighbours’ dogs) frequently urinates. 
  2. Burnt appearance: Your grass has a “scorched”-looking quality, particular around the edges. It looks like it has been dissolved by some kind of solvent (i.e., pee). 
  3. Foul odour: The grass is not only wilted/dying, but also has a foul odour. You may notice a strong odour of ammonia. This can be indicative of urine concentration.
  4. Inconsistency: If the dead patches are sporadic, this may be due to dogs peeing on your lawn. In comparison, a lawn that’s been affected by the weather or parasites will likely be consistently wilted/dead. 
  5. Weed growth: Weeds may proliferate in areas where grass has been damaged by dog urine, as the weakened grass is less able to compete with weeds for resources.

How to Revive Your Grass After Dog Pee Damage

Beagle walking and smelling the grass

Photo by lucas Favre on Unsplash

Got lawn damage? The good news is that there are a few simple adjustments you can make to your dog's routine to help revive your curb appeal. Say goodbye to unsightly patches and hello to a thriving, green lawn. 

A post-pee spray down

After your dog does their business, spray the area down with water. This dilutes the urine, helping to disperse the nitrogen and minimize its harmful effects on the grass. A hose is preferred, but a bucket of water will do the trick as well.

Mix up the potty routine

Encourage your dog to urinate in different areas as opposed to the same spot. Perhaps take your dog to areas that are less sensitive to urine damage, such as gravel or mulch. Alternatively, direct your dog to pee on grass that is more discreet – i.e., less visible from your house or driveway. 

Re-seed and re-sod

Keep your dog away from areas that have already been impacted by urine damage. Dilute the area with water, let sit for a few days, and then consider re-seeding or re-sodding those areas to promote new grass growth. Once the new grass starts to grow, fertilize the area with a balanced fertilizer.

Also, be sure to aerate the soil to promote healthy grass growth. Well-maintained grass and soil are more resilient to damage from dog urine.

Scorch-free pee supplements

There are some supplements available that claim to neutralize the effects of dog urine on grass. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations specific to your pet. These supplements are typically added to your dog's food and may help reduce the nitrogen content of their urine.

Take (ground) cover

If your problem isn’t limited to just your dog’s potty habits, but dog pee from your neighbour’s pets, it may be worth it to invest in ground covers. Options like clover or certain types of ornamental grasses are more resistant to urine damage. Also, there are “dog pee deterrent” alarms that emit a high-pitched sound to discourage dogs from peeing on your lawn.  

Catch Dog Urination Problems Early

If your dog has an issue of frequent urination and/or appears to have highly potent urine, it may be time for a vet visit. A trusted veterinarian can help identify whether a medical issue exists, such as dehydration or a hormonal imbalance. Catching these issues early will be beneficial to your dog, and to you as a pet owner.

Is your dog experiencing a medical issue? PHI Direct covers 80% of eligible veterinary treatment costs due to new illnesses and accidents each year. Keep your pet healthy and happy with your PHI Direct pet health insurance plans.

Featured image by Justin Veenema on Unsplash