Dog Urine Killing the Grass? Here’s What to Do About It

We’re a nation of dog lovers, but the damage they can do to our lawns (and garden in general) can be extensive.

One of the most common causes of damage is dog urine killing the grass.

If you’re reading this then chances are your lawn is suffering from patches of dead grass caused by your peeing pooch.

So how do you stop it from happening?

Well, that’s what we’re going to cover in this article.


Why Does Dog Urine Kill Grass?

There are many misguided theories as to why your dog’s wee kills the grass.

The most common one is that dog urine is acidic and therefore it burns the grass.

This isn’t strictly true.

Dogs are carnivorous and as such, they eat a lot of protein in their diet. Through digestion, this protein is broken down and excreted as Nitrogen through the dogs wee.

And what is Nitrogen?

It’s a fertiliser!

Dog urine acts in very much the same way as a Nitrogen-based fertiliser. Dilute it and spread it over the lawn and it’ll come up nice and green and start to grow. However, if you drop a load of it on a small area it’ll scorch the grass.

If you have patches of dead grass caused by dog or bitch urine, you’ll often notice a ring of lush, green, tall grass circling the edge of it a few days later.

This is where the urine has diluted with rain or ground moisture and the Nitrogen within it has fed the grass.

Busting the Myth That Bitch Urine is Worse Than a Dog’s

There is an old wives tale that says bitch urine is more harmful to your lawn than a dog’s. That it’s more acidic or more potent in some way.

Again though, this isn’t strictly true.

It’s not the urine itself that worse for your lawn, it’s the way a lady dog wees that’s the issue.

Think about it…

…A male dog marks his territory by spraying here, there, and everywhere. He rarely dumps enough urine in a single spot to cause a problem.

Bitches, on the other hand, they squat and generally empty their bladders all in one place.

It’s this dumping of large amounts of nitrogen that makes female dogs the main culprit for causing rings of dead grass.


How to Fix Areas Of Your Lawn Killed by Your Dog’s Wee

Chances are you’re reading this because your lawn has already been damaged by your dog’s pee.

So, let’s talk about how to repair those areas before discussing how to prevent it from happening in the future.

Step 1: Rake Out Areas of Dead Grass

Take a springbok rake and rake out the areas of dead grass. Be vigorous and remove as much as you can. If you have lots of patches of dead grass, a powered lawn rake will make short work of them.

You’ll probably not remove all of it but don’t worry.

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Step 2: Water Those Areas

water the lawn

With the dead grass removed, water those areas every other day for a week or so. Depending on when you do this the rain could help you out.

This will dilute any Nitrogen in the soil and also put moisture into those patches prior to sowing new grass seed.

Step 3: Spike the Area With a Garden Fork

You don’t need to go deep, just a centimetre or two.

We’re just giving the new grass seed the best chance of germination by making sure it has good contact with the soil.

It’ll also help water, air and nutrients penetrate into the soil to further aid germination.

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Step 4: Sprinkle New Grass Seed

how to overseed a lawn

Overseed the patches by lightly sprinkling new grass seed. You only need 10-20 seed per square inch, no more.

Try to make sure you choose a grass seed that matches your lawn. If you don’t and you use a completely different type of grass, your repairs will be obvious where patches of grass grow differently than the rest of the lawn.

If you need help choosing the correct seed for your lawn, read this article: Choosing the Best Grass Seed For My Lawn.

Once you’ve sprinkled the grass seed, tread over the areas to ensure the seed has good contact with the soil.

Step 5: Water Daily

The final step is to water the repaired patches every day for at least the next 2 weeks.

Make sure you water lightly. Don’t dump lots of water as you’ll risk drowning the seed or washing it away.

If you can, use a hosepipe with a fine spray.


How to Prevent Your Dog’s Urine Killing Your Grass

As the saying does, ‘Prevention is always better than cure’.

With that said, try and do what you can to prevent your dog’s urine from killing your grass in the first place.

Here are a few practical tips;

Train Your Dog to Eliminate in a Specific Area

Having a specific toilet area for your dog to do their business will save not just your lawn but the rest of your garden.

There are products that claim to use pheromones to attract your dog to pee in a particular part of the garden. One of these products is aptly named the Pee Post but if you look at the online reviews, you can see that they’re rarely effective.

However, nothing beats good training.

Get a good dog harness and lead, then take your dog to a specific part of your garden and encourage him/her to do his/her business there.

Unfortunately, I’m no dog trainer so I can’t help with training but there are plenty of how-to guides on the internet.

Encourage Your Dog to Drink More Water

drinking dog

The more water your dog drinks, the more diluted his or her urine will be. This is not only more beneficial for your lawn but it’s also healthier for your dog too.

A good way to encourage them to drink more water is to invest in a pet water fountain. Many dogs prefer running water and are more willing to drink from these instead of a simple bowl.

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Water the Areas Your Dog Has Just Pee’d On

Watch where your dog goes to the toilet and follow them our with a hosepipe or watering can.

Watering the area will dilute the urine enough so it won’t have any damaging effects. Still, you might find the area grows greener and quicker than other parts of the lawn.

Invest in Some Dog Rocks

There are many dietary products that claim to stop your dogs uring killing grass. However, many of these products lower the pH of their urine, which, over a prolonged period of time can lead to urinary tract infections.

Dog Rocks, on the other hand, work by removing nitrates from the water your dog drinks.

This prevents your dog’s urine from becoming too strong and having little effect on your lawn when they go to the loo.

They work too! Amazon has lots of positive online reviews from over 1,000 happy customers.

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In Conclusion

Dog urine killing grass is just another problem us lawn owners can live without.

That said, it’s a fixable problem and it’s also pretty easy to prevent happening again or even in the first place.

Follow the steps outlined in the article and you’ll be in good shape.

Over to You

Has your dog’s urine killed parts of your lawn?

Maybe you’ve had experience and have a tip for fixing the problems caused by dog urine.

Or do you have any questions I haven’t addressed?

Either way, I’d love to hear from you so leave a comment below.

About Tim Stephens

I'm a professional gardener with degrees in Horticulture & Landscape Gardening. I want to help you create the garden of your dreams. I want your garden to look like it’s maintained by a professional. As if I was there doing it all for you!

2 thoughts on “Dog Urine Killing the Grass? Here’s What to Do About It”

  1. We are going through our heavy rain season in the Pacific Northwest. Do we need so vigilant about grass damage when it’s so wet?

  2. Dog rocks are expensive — but I thought it worth a try — didn’t do anything for my dog patches—- I try to water a lot when it is dry but can’t always see especially when she goes out to wee at night ——


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