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Is dog urine killing grass in your yard? Or does your backyard smell like a porta-potty? Your yard may be suffering due to your dog’s urine, but it doesn’t have to. We’ve got solutions for the peskiest of problems so you can restore your lawn and enjoy your outdoor living.
Dog urine has high concentrations of nitrogen due to the high meat content of their diet. Some nitrogen is healthy for your lawn — in fact, many lawn fertilizers contain low concentrations of nitrogen. But too much nitrogen essentially burns the grass. Dog urine killing grass is a common problem for homeowners, as well as local park management.
Female dogs can cause more damage because they typically squat in one spot, while male dogs mark their territory in multiple areas and around trees, bushes, and other upright objects. Along with leaving unsightly urine spots in the grass, dog pee leaves lasting impacts on the ground soil.
Ammonia is the compound in dog urine that gives it such a strong smell. While it smells stronger when it’s wet, the dried odor will set in and can last for months.
Dog pee killing the grass is a common problem, but there are several things you can try to prevent those unsightly brown and yellow dog urine spots from forming.
1. Use A Leash
Taking your dog out to pee on a leash gives you control. This way, you can keep her from urinating in the same spot every time.
2. Train In A Designated Area
Training your dog to go in a designated area can take time but can also save your lawn. It will also help prevent unsightly dog urine spots in the grass. You might want to consider creating a pile of gravel as the pee spot or choose an area of the lawn that’s not so visible. You could also put a pee post in your yard, like the Lulind Dog Fire Hydrant Garden Statue or the Simple Solution Pee Post that’s infused with pheromones to attract your dog.
3. Encourage Your Dog To Drink More Water
Drinking more water helps to reduce the concentration of nitrogen in urine. It’s also healthier for your dog. You can try offering multiple water bowls, an automatic dog drinking fountain, or mixing more moisture in their diet. This can be done through fresh meals, as well as mixing in bone broth or extra water in their food.
4. Use A Dietary Supplement
You might want to consider feeding your dog a dietary supplement that balances the pH and nitrogen in urine, like PetHonesty Keep Grass Green Chews or Zesty Paws Stay Green Bites. These supplements include natural ingredients like cranberry, probiotics, and apple cider vinegar to keep your dog’s digestive system healthy and reduce the amount of nitrogen in your dog’s urine.
Caution: Most of these supplements contain DL-Methionine to neutralize the urine. This ingredient can be harmful to dogs with pre-existing liver and kidney disease.
Our Personal Experience
Our dog Barley has the WORST smelling pee of any dog we have ever had! Our yard was starting to smell pretty bad, quickly. The only things I could find online were to water the yard more to dilute and wash it away and to add lava rocks to the dog water. Most other options are not natural and less appealing…plus they don’t get the best reviews.
But we found PetHonesty Keep Grass Green Chews which include probiotics, and it has worked great! We have been using it for four months now, and we no longer have a smelly yard plus our grass is staying green and healthy.– Michelle Schenker, Rescue dog parent and website co-founder
5. Spray Water On The Area
Although not as practical, you can also spray water on the area right after your dog pees. This can help dilute the higher concentration of nitrogen on the grass.
Now that you’re hopefully on the path to prevention, you’ll want to patch up those old brown spots. Our best advice is to use Sunday’s Pet Patch.
Pet Patch drastically turned a backyard from countless brown spots to vast, lush green grass. You can learn more in our Sunday review.
Here are some additional tips to get your lawn lush again.
Are you throwing a lawn party or trying to sell your house and need a quick fix? Simply spray Covington’s Dog Spot Repair Grass Paint to mask those blemishes. One bottle covers roughly 50-75 square feet, and it’s safe for kids, pets, and plants. It’s not a long-term solution but a great fix when you’re in a bind. Users say the tint color looks natural, and it holds up after rain.
If you only need to repair a few scattered spots, a lawn repair treatment can help neutralize dog urine in the grass. You can do this yourself with grass seed or use a doggy repair product. Some treatments, such as Scott’s EZ Seed Dog Spot Repair, contain seed, mulch, and a special salt neutralizer that helps repair dog urine damage down to the root zone. Scott’s even has several formula options for different kinds of grass. Make sure you use a pet-friendly fertilizer.
If most of your lawn is suffering or you’re not having much luck keeping your dog from peeing everywhere, you may want to consider replanting with more urine-resistant grass. Fescue and Ryegrass stand up best against urine, while Bermuda and Kentucky Bluegrass are the most sensitive.
One way to prevent dog urine from killing grass is to minimize the amount of grass you have. You can also try fencing off the grass or using artificial grass. Wood chips, bark, rocks, gravel, and sand can also be incorporated into your landscaping to deter peeing. If you remove the grass or access to the grass, your dog can’t pee on it.
You can try installing plants like cacti, roses, juniper, rosemary, or lavender, among others, that help deter dogs from peeing. Coleus canina, a pretty purple flower known as the Scaredy Cat plant or Pee-Off Coleus, has a scent that is thought to be very foul to dogs. Work these types of plants into your garden and landscaping to deter not only your dog but also stray cats from peeing in your grass.
Our Personal Experience With Dog Urine Killing Grass
My dog, Sally, likes to relieve herself in the same areas of our yard, completely damaging the grass in those spots. We repaired the areas with Scott’s EZ Seed Dog Spot Repair, and it worked great.
The hardest part was keeping her off those areas while the grass was growing. Until the grass grows back, I’d recommend taking your dog out on a leash to go potty, so all your efforts don’t go to waste.
The thing I like about Scott’s is that it’s easy to know when it needs watering. When the EZ Seed is light brown, it’s time to water.–Kimberly Alt, Rescue dog parent and website writer
Is the odor of dog pee putting a damper on your outdoor fun? Here are some of our suggestions on how to get rid of dog urine smell outside. The first step to eliminating the dog urine smell outdoors is to locate the source(s). If stains aren’t visible, using a blacklight at night can help you spot where the urine is.
Enzymatic cleaning products, like the highly-rated Simple Green Outdoor Odor Eliminator, work by using natural microorganisms (“good” bacteria) to break down the bacteria in the urine that cause odors and stains. Simple Green is non-toxic and is safe for use on grass, artificial turf, gravel, concrete, brick, and many other surfaces. It’s also helpful in removing poop odors outdoors.
Check out this video to see how you can easily rid your yard of pet odors using Simple Green.
If you prefer, you can try a homemade yard odor eliminator.
- For grass, sprinkle garden lime on the area. This helps both to eliminate the odor and neutralize the urine to help restore your grass.
- For grass, use an oscillating sprinkler daily on the affected areas. The water will slowly dilute the urine, so it seeps into the soil.
- For non-grassy surfaces, sprinkle baking soda on the area. Let it sit for an hour so it absorbs the urine smell. For cement areas, use a scrubbing brush to scrub the area before letting it sit. Rinse with fresh water.
- If the urine has dried on a porous surface, like cement, mix bleach with water and pour it over the surface. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes before hosing off the area.
- For wooden surfaces like benches or decks, vinegar may be helpful to remove urine smells. Mix white vinegar with equal parts water and spray down the wood. Rinse the solution off about five to ten minutes later. Repeat if needed.
- You can turn over the soil in your yard. This is a lot of work, so it may be a last resort. If you have areas of the yard that simply smell atrocious, this is a highly effective way to release that urine odor. Spray down the soil once it’s turned over for extra odor-reducing power.
If your problem isn’t limited to the outdoors, be sure to read our article on how to get dog pee smell out of carpet. This article gives you many handy tips on removing wet and dried urine stains, as well as several effective products that you can use to rid your carpet and floors of odors and stains.
Is Your Dog’s Pee Extra Smelly?
If the odor of your dog’s urine is especially pungent or starts to smell quite strongly, you should check with your vet to rule out an underlying medical issue such as a urinary tract infection. This is especially true if your pup is peeing blood or smells like fish.
Why Trust Canine Journal?
Sally has over 10 years of experience researching and testing hundreds of pet products and accessories, including supplements, pet-safe yard products, and much more. She’s part of a team of dedicated canine professionals and long-time dog owners at Canine Journal who are experts in dog training, behavior problems, and all things canine.Tagged With: