Saving Grass from Dogs and Pets

While we may enjoy playing fetch and spending time with our animals outdoors, there's no hiding the fact that dogs and other pets can cause lawn damage through compounds in their waste products and through play, leaving the condition of your yard in anything but tip-top shape. However, if your lawn is plagued with brown or dark green spots and patchy turf, you can take action with these solutions for saving your lawn from your pet.


Lawn Damage from Dog Urine

The high nitrogen, nitrite and nitrate content typically found in dog urine are often responsible for the discolored spots on your lawn. To prevent this from occurring, try some of these options:

  • Create a non-grass zone, covered in gravel or similar material, and train your dog to use only that area for elimination. Take your pet there when he or she needs to go and then reward him or her with a treat.
  • Keep your dog adequately hydrated to prevent urine from becoming concentrated and causing damage to your lawn.
  • Brown lawn spots usually indicate that grass has already received adequate nitrogen and the additional compounds from urine have burned it. To treat such spots, water the areas to dilute the urine. If the grass doesn't green up again, patch it with sod.
  • If your lawn has dark green spots where pets have urinated, fertilize the rest of the lawn while leaving the additional fertilizer off the spots. This should create a uniform green appearance.

Damage from Pet Traffic or Digging

Both cats and dogs tend to wander preferred pathways through the yard. Over time, the grass can show wear from paw traffic. To lessen the stress on grass and prevent additional damage, create pet paths using pavers or other landscaping materials to encourage pets to travel via these instead of through the lawn.

If you have a dog that likes to dig holes throughout the yard, make a digging pit. To do this, simply loosen the soil and add your dog's favorite items. Whenever you catch him digging elsewhere, return him to the digging pit.

When other solutions don't work, consider protecting your lawn by creating a fenced pet area within the yard. Here, use ground cover or soft materials to provide a safe surface for playing and elimination.