For people with lush, green lawns, dog urine can be an affront to curb appeal. On a walk, you might steer clear of a property that is especially well cared for.

But what about at home? Are you resigned to living with crusty yellow circles all over your backyard? If you’re like most dog owners, you want to do something about dog urine in the grass, but what?

Why Does Dog Pee Stain Grass?

Dog urine has a unique chemical makeup, but contrary to popular belief it’s not the acidic compounds that kills grass. Instead, the highly concentrated amounts of salts and nitrogen are to blame.

Nitrogen is typically very healthful for plants, but the amount deposited in dog urine is just too concentrated. It is common to see very healthy-looking grass on the outside border of a yellow or brown dog urine circle. This is because the blades of grass surrounding the highly concentrated circle of urine are getting just enough nitrogen to be considered healthy.

Understanding the Details

Female dogs squat low to the ground when urinating, a fact that misleads people into thinking that male dogs (who lift their legs of trees or other vertical areas) have nothing to do with yellow or brown circles in the grass. Younger male dogs and seniors with shaky legs are equally likely to squat.

pH Matters

Alkaline levels can play a part in how dog urine stains grass. Urine tests can reveal the alkalinity, and healthy pH levels are between 6.0 and 6.5. If your dog’s test shows a higher pH, this may be why their urine kills grass so effectively.

Urine alkalinity can be altered by water intake, diet, and general health. 

Diluting Dog Urine

Some dog owners find that encouraging their pet to drink more water actually yields better results on the grass. You can also deep water your grass to dilute the concentration of dog urine. By displacing the high nitrogen levels you can improve the look of the grass. Either do this right after your dog pees in the grass, or heavily water known areas each morning or evening.

Other Solutions

To help combat the effects of dog urine, raise the blade of your lawn mower. If it is too low, the grass can get stressed out and won’t be able to handle the concentration of the urine. 

Also, encourage your dog to go to the bathroom in designated areas in the yard. This might be the side yard that is rarely used, or an area that is less visible than the back patio or deck where you hang out. To train your dog to do this, leash them and walk with them out to the spot you want them to use. Give them a verbal cue, like “go” or “do your business”, and reward them with praise or a treat afterwards.

Explore More

You can improve the look of your lawn when your dog goes on more walks. Instead of just letting them go out to the backyard when they have to go, grab their leash and head down the block or to a nearby park. This is great for your grass at home, and gets your dog moving more. Remember, an active dog is a healthy one!

If we can assist you further, please let us know. Our staff  is always here for you at Blue Valley Animal Hospital.