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Got dog urine spots on your lawn? Here's how to get rid of them!

Long walks help to keep Bobo from peeing in his yard.

You love your dog, but you don’t like those brown spots in your yard caused by your pooch’s urine.

So, what can you do?

Before we get to how to get rid of dog urine spots on your lawn, let’s start with some ways to prevent those spots caused by nitrogen in your dog’s urine:

1. Train your pup to pee in a corner of your yard

If Rover or Beast tends to pee on fire hydrants, get a plastic one and put it in a corner of your yard. Your dog will be drawn to it like a magnet, keeping any lawn damage confined to one area.

Reward your pooch with treats when Spot goes in your preferred spot for peeing. This is not a permanent solution, as you could be trading a urine problem for a weight problem.

A better option: Teach Rover to urinate on a patch of mulch, where it will be easily absorbed. Avoid mulch made of cocoa bean hulls, though, as chocolate is toxic for man’s and woman’s best friend.

2. Spray or pour water where your pup has just peed

A typical dog urine spot is a caved-in, brown, dead area.

Water applied to the pee spots will dilute the nitrogen that turns your grass brown, and there are two ways to do this.

Hose it down. Spray the spot where your dog urinated, then give your dog a drink from the hose or a splash to help her or him cool off.

Follow your pup with a spray bottle of water. Worth noting: Dashing around your yard spraying the areas where your dog just sprayed may look a little weird to your neighbors.

3. Take your dog on walks

If you walk to the park, your pup can pee anywhere along the way, keeping your yard spot free. And if he or she does anything else -- you know what I mean -- pick it up and drop it in the nearest trash can.

Here’s why walking your dog is my preferred way of for dealing with this problem common to all dog owners:

NIMBY: Not in my backyard. By walking your dog, you remove the problem, you avoid the spots, and you share the wealth of your dog’s urine with the neighborhood.

Walking does you both good. Exercise helps both you and your four-legged fur baby. Bonus points: Your dog savors all those new smells on the walk, and you see so much more walking than you do driving around the area where you live.

Downside: Weather may not cooperate. Walking to the park isn’t an option in the rain or cold. See Tips 1 or 2 for options when Mother Nature keeps you from walking in the Great Outdoors.

How to repair grass damaged by your dog’s urine

The best-laid plans to train your dog to go in only a certain spot or to take lots of walks often fall through. Or, when the snow melts and you see all those brown spots where your dog has been peeing, here’s how you can erase all those spots:

1. Fill in those urine spots over winter

Overseed the brown spots of your yard in fall so your yard and those spots are green in spring.

2. Start fresh to repair those spots

Once grass is dead, it’s best to remove it, seed it, fertilize it (avoid nitrogen fertilizers as nitrogen caused the spot).

What NOT to do to get rid of urine spots in your yard

There are all sorts of home remedies and even products that claim to keep your dog’s urine from turning your green grass brown. Avoid these.

Household remedies: Just say no

Urine spots cannot be removed by sprinkling baking soda, gypsum, dishwashing detergent, or other random household products, according to LawnStarter.

Here’s why: Baking soda and gypsum may increase the problem, as both of these contain salts. Dishwashing detergent is a no-no because ingredients in the soap actually might burn the grass.

And don’t put tomato juice or cider vinegar in your dog’s water bowl. Some folks have suggested these as a preventative for urine spots on the theory that tomato juice or cider vinegar will adjust the pH of your dog’s urine.

Why these won’t work: It is NOT the pH of the urine that kills the grass, the University of Wisconsin Extension notes. It’s the nitrogen in the urine that turns grass brown.

Dog Urine Products: Pass Them By

Over-the-counter dog medications can’t keep your dog’s urine from killing grass, a veterinarian writes in “The Bark.”

These supplements claim to adjust the pH of your dog’s urine (much like cider vinegar or tomato juice) or add salt to your dog’s body.

Both can have adverse effects. The pH-adjusting treatments can cause bladder stones, and the salt additives can cause issues if your dog has kidney or heart disease.

Treat the spot, not the dog

To keep your lawn plush and your dog healthy, treat the spot and not the dog, experts say. Knowing your grass type can help, too.

Grasses more resistant to dog urine include fescue and perennial ryegrass, and turfs that don’t tolerate dog urine well include Bermudagrass and Kentucky bluegrass.

The best solution to reduce urine spots in my book? Taking Bobo, my bow-tied Australian cattle dog, for long walks around where we live. The time outside makes both of us happy and keeps the home turf green and plush.

Jeff Herman is editor-in-chief of LawnStarter. He lives in Dallas, but he and Bobo used to enjoy walking in Downtown Indianapolis when he worked for The Indianapolis Star.

1 Comment

Thanks for confirming the snark attitude of dog owners in your NIMBY advice. Yes, that's it --- ruin neighbors' lawns with your dog's pee, not your own. After all, neighbors won't mind having gone to great expense, time and effort to maintain their landscape only to have wretchedly irresponsible dog owners to trash it all in 30 seconds. Good point, Jeff Herman. Carry on!

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