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How to Treat Pet Stains on Your Lawn

Updated on September 18, 2009
My own front yard.
My own front yard.

Pet Urine Kills Grass

It can be frustrating for anyone who has a pet, whether cat or dog, when you begin to notice holes in your lawn. No not holes from digging, but holes of dead grass.

Yellow grass is very unattractive to the passerby. Personally, I hate looking out the window and seeing all the yellow spots from the dogs.

I've nearly given up on the backyard, as my two outdoof males have killed nearly all the grass in the yard from urine, waste, and running over it constantly. I have been successful at fencing off a small area and growing grass from grass seeds, but that doesn't solve the problem of the rest of the yard.

Nor does it solve the problem of the yellow circles in the front yard from my wife's female Collie/ St. Bernard.

There are a few suggestions that I have for any pet owner in distress of a yellow spotted lawn.

My own front yard.
My own front yard.

Pet Urine

Although, the earth and, more than likely, your fertilizer contains nitrogen, dog urine contains concentrated amounts, which means that it has an extra amount of nitrogen.

This nitrogen disrupts the balance of the dirt, fertilizer, and natural minerals in the ground, and in turn litterally burns your grass.

Usually, you notice ugly yellow spots of grass in your lawn after a female dog has urinated, and that often causes people to think that female dogs are solely the cause for the dead grass.

In reality, the concentrated nitrogen is in both male and female urine, but because female dogs squat, the urine hits directly on the grass and soaks in, whereas male dogs tend to spray over the grass and bushes.

Treating Burnt Grass Caused by Pets

You can purchase one of the many products on the market that you can give your dog to change the make-up of his/her urine, which will benefit your lawn. Some work, and some don't. There are other methods of ";treating"; your dog for a natural and non-problematic issue, but most veterinarians will tell you these methods are all dangerous for your dog's health.

Instead of ";treating"; your dog, you can treat your grass. The easiest method is pouring water over your grass after your dog urinates. If you walk your dog, you can carry a jug of water to pour over the grass when he/she's finished. Or, you can take the water hose and just hose down the area.

The extra water will dilute the nitrogen, which will help your grass live and remain green.

If you're wanting to treat past problems, you may have to dig up the spots, soak them with water, and then lay down new sod or grass seeds.

For tips on growing grass from seeds, you can check out my hub: How to Grow Grass From Seeds.

My own front yard.
My own front yard.

Tips for Elminating Stains from Pet Urine

In order to keep your grass green and healthy, it will be easier if you train your dog to urinate in the same area. The best place to choose, is an area that is already damaged by pet urine.

You may want to consider putting loose dirt, gravel, or stone in the corner of your yard, and training the dog to eliminate there.

To train your dog to eliminate in the same are, you will need to lead your dog to the spot. Wait for him/her to urinate, and then praise him/her with a very positive, high-pitched tone. You may consider treats or a quick tug at his favorite toy.

You'll have to do this a few times for the dog to understand what you're wanting him/her to do. When the dog tries to urinate in an unwated area, tell him/her "NO!" in a deep growl, so that he knows that's not what you want him to do.

You need to make sure that you're dog can tell the difference between your praise and disapproval. If you cannot train this on your own, you may have to talk to a professional trainer.

Make sure that you realized that grass stains and dead spots are not always caused by pets, so some stains may be related to other problems. Consider sending off a soil sample to get the soil tested.

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    • rbm profile image

      rbm 4 years ago

      We have the same problem with our two dogs. Sounds like training them to pee in the same spot is the best solution, even though it will take some time with these two. :)

    • profile image

      Tim 6 years ago

      If you have two dogs, it's even worse. One dog will pee and the other dog will pee in the same spot to make the sent dominent. If you can stop that, your much better off.

    • profile image

      Janet - Poodles mom 8 years ago

      WE JUST MOVED INTO THIS HOUSE AND STARTED GETTING BROWN SPOTS WHERE MY MALE POODLES GOES, BUT OUT LAST HOUSE THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN. OUR LAST HOUSE HAD VERY THICK LAWN AND WE FERTILIZED IT A lot AND IT WAS BEAUTIFUL AND THICK. PERHAPS THE QUALITY AND THICKNESS OF THE LAWN DID NOT ALLOW THE BROWN SPOTS TO SHOW. BUT THEY SURE SHOW HERE. WE ARE GONNA TRY THE BUILD UP THE LAWN TRICK INSTEAD OF GIVING THE DOG SOMETHING.

    • mlowell profile image
      Author

      mlowell 8 years ago from Georgia

      brooklyngirl have you talked to your neighbors about keeping their dogs confined? If so, and they still let their dogs run loose, you may contact the local police station to see what they suggest, as it's technically destruction of property in addition to letting their dogs run loose. I believe it's illegal in most counties to let your dog run around off leash, but you'd need to check you're counties rules. As for the grass, try either laying new sod or trying the grass seeds. You'll probably sell the house faster with better grass.

      I'm not sure about the signs. But definitely talk to your neighbors and then the authorities if it persists.

    • profile image

      JodyGirl 8 years ago

      Believe it or not something as simple as a sign can help. My neighbor was having the same problem and she bougfht two little signs made especially for that. They are dog shaped signs, one with a leg up that says "NO!" and one in a butt squat that also says "NO!" Sounds crazy but it has helped her. Try www.doggonesigns.com or something similar. Good luck.

    • profile image

      brooklyngirl 8 years ago

      I am frustrated since....I don't have any pets. The neighbors pets are peeing on my lawn instead of theirs. Is it because I have a tree on my lawn? I am trying to sell my home and buyers have already noticed and asked questions. I am going broke replacing the sod. Any ideas????

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      I was walking in my backyard moments ago and noticed all the tan patches! It's hard enough to grow grass in Colorado without a sprinkler system and now these pesky but beloved pets are designing a patchwork quilt across my lawn. Plus we have thriving deer herds jumping our fence, LOL! Some mornings I look over the heads of bucks and does. I can only imagine what they are adding to my yard. We had to wrap our trees with wire netting to keep them from stripping the bark last fall.

      Very timely Hub- thanks!

    • Sue Huss profile image

      Sue Huss 8 years ago from Oregon, Ohio

      My female dog actually holds one leg up as she pees. I think she's smart and don't want to be standing in it. Oh well she's more important than grass, I try not to stress about all the pet spots.

    • mlowell profile image
      Author

      mlowell 8 years ago from Georgia

      I've never heard of that... I don't think it would be beneficial for the grass or the dirt.

    • futonfraggle profile image

      futonfraggle 8 years ago

      Great hub. Call me crazy, but I actually heard that spraying wd-40 on a commonly used area will keep dogs and cats from peeing in those areas. I haven't tried it, but I've heard people say that it works--until it rains. Something in the scent? I don't know.

    • mlowell profile image
      Author

      mlowell 8 years ago from Georgia

      Stephhicks my daughters yorkie squats sometimes. I think it's because he's neutered. I'd avoid the products. Try digging up the dead grass and replacing it with sod or seeds then training. It's much safer for the dog.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      This is excellent! Our male dog actually squats when he pees and he's ruined the back lawn. We're trying to decide whether to train him to pee elsewhere or to use one of the products for the dog to ingest. Sounds like option 1 is better.

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

      "You may want to consider putting loose dirt, gravel, or stone in the corner of your yard, and training the dog to eliminate there" very sound advice.

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