Dogs may be man’s best friend, but as anyone who owns one of these cute four-legged animals will know, they are no friend to our lawns. Actually, it’s not so much dogs that are an enemy of our gardens, but rather their frequently and indiscriminately released bodily fluid, pee. Urine ‘burns’ grass, and will leave patches of unsightly dead grass wherever a dog has been. This is because urine contains urea, a form of ammonia that converts to nitrates, a compound which – in high enough concentration – burns plants. As dogs tend to pee in one spot each time they go, the intensity of nitrates tends to be very high.
There are several things you can do to minimise the effects of dog pee on grass. Top of the list is to stop your dog from urinating all over the lawn in the first place. This may sound difficult but it is possible to train them to urinate in a contained area. Try making an area of your garden dog friendly, – perhaps a place which is out of sight, like behind a garage or shed, for example – where you can place mulch or gravel to create a ‘natural’ toilet. If your dog does manage to slip the lead, then the easiest short-term fix is to immediately dilute the offending patch with plenty of water.
Choosing grasses that are more urine-resistant, such as perennial ryegrasses and fescues, will also help to minimise the effect of dog pee. Our Premium Grade Turf, for example, contains a seed mix of Perennial Ryegrass, Slender Creeping Red Fescue, Strong Creeping Red Fescue and Chewings Fescue, and is ideal.
Prevention is better than cure
There are lots of natural solutions that will help prevent burnt grass, all of which are easy to administer and should not harm your pet (of course it’s best to consult a veterinary surgeon before feeding your dog any additives or supplements). Here are our tops tips:
- Always provide adequate water for your dog; increased water consumption will dilute urine, reducing the potential for turf injury.
- Use Dog Rocks in your pets’ drinking water bowl. Dog Rocks are made from paramagnetic igneous rock, a product found in nature. When placed in your dogs bowl of water it can help minimise burn patches on a green garden lawn. Dog Rocks work by filtering out impurities from water, including ammonia, tin and nitrates, which can cause grass to burn.
- Apple Cider Vinegar is a tried and tested natural remedy for preventing burn patches. Get your dog used to drinking it by gradually adding it in to their water bowl a small amount at a time, building it up to a tablespoon per large water bowl. It will neutralise the acid in the urine. Many dog lovers add vinegar to their pets’ food or apply it topically to their furry best friends for treating problems such as fleas.