Here at Envii, we know that dogs are one of the many special things that make a house feel more like home. Loyal and friendly in nature, how can anyone forget that they’re man’s best friend? These furry friends, however, can often leave a trail of their toilet trips where it’s least welcomed.
Dog owners think they’ve hit the jackpot when their pups are finally potty trained. It’s a joy to see their dogs taking themselves outdoors. Unfortunately, the joy is often short-lived when owners soon realise their dog’s urine is actually causing unattractive yellow patches to appear on the lawn.
Did someone say dog urine lawn burn? Yes, lawn burn is a widespread problem for a lot of dog owners.
Lawn burn is a consequence of your dog’s urine damaging the grass, leaving patches that are dead across the garden. Not to worry, there’s nothing particularly harmful about your dog’s urine. It’s not acidic as some misconceptions would have you believe. The problem is the nitrogen present in the urine.
Some of you might be wondering how nitrogen comes to be present in your dog’s urine? This occurs through the digestion of protein often consumed by dogs, who require it for a healthy and nutritious diet. Protein breaks down through a natural digestive process to produce nitrogen. Which is then disposed of from the body through waste in faeces and urine.
If any of you know a thing or two about gardening, you’d know that nitrogen is beneficial for plants and grass. If you read the label of many plant fertilisers, you should find they contain nitrogen of some form. This leaves to question, why on earth does the nitrogen in dog urine kill off the grass? While some nitrogen is good for lawns, in theory, dog urine tends to have a concentration that is too high for your lawn to cope with. Causing it to die off or at the very least be damaged.
So rather, the real problem lies in the level of nitrogen concentration dog urine contains.
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Dog Size Matters
The size of your dog could affect how much of an issue lawn burn is. Those of you with larger dogs such as a Great Dane, can expect to have worst burns covering a larger area. Because of course, your dogs can deposit larger amounts of urine in comparison to let’s say, a Yorkshire Terrier.
That’s not to say that small dogs don’t have an effect, they will cause the lawn to burn, nonetheless. Big or small dog, the problem is still there.
The Female Dog Myth
A common rumour that people often believe is that female dogs are the ultimate culprits of dog urine lawn burn. In reality, it doesn’t matter what gender your dog is, either will cause the lawn to burn. What is true and should be a consideration, however, is the differences in the way male and female dogs urinate.
As we all know, male dogs tend to lift their leg up and aim towards area/object when they pee. When they do this on grass, the urine is more likely to stay closer to the surface of the grass. Female dogs, on the other hand, pee in a squatting position. Meaning the urine will penetrate deeper into the grass, causing more severe burns in comparison to the way a male dog urinates.
Pick a Spot, Any Spot
Depending on how you see it, some dog owners are lucky or maybe unlucky enough to have a canine that always goes to the toilet in the same spot in the garden. If this is the case, knowing where the dog is going to pee makes treating that area so much easier. The bad news is that when dog urine is constantly encountering the same area, it damages the grass to a greater extent.
At this point, it might feel like there’s no way to win. Because when you think about it if your dog didn’t urinate in one spot, you would end up with lawn burn all over the garden. However, regardless of whatever preference you may have, this decision will ultimately always be up to the dog.
Baking soda seems to be the go-to solution for everything. Need to whiten your teeth? “use baking soda”. Got heartburn? “use baking soda”. Want to get rid of pet odour? “use baking –
Actually, we know a number of reasons why baking soda isn’t the best pet odour eliminator but that’s a whole other topic. The point is, it would be surprising to us if people still used baking soda for its intended purpose, you know, for baking!?
The fact people use baking soda as a solution for dog urine lawn burn seems like a reach to us. It supposedly prevents the grass from turning yellow. However, as we established before, lawns turn yellow because of the nitrogen concentration in your dog’s urine. Baking soda can’t neutralise Nitrogen. It’s not going to save or protect your grass.
In fact, baking soda may cause more damage than good. Because in essence, it is a salt (sodium bicarbonate), which plants are well known for not reacting well to.
Tomato Juice, Apple Cider Vinegar and Vitamin C
Another ‘wise tale’ passed around is to use tomato juice to alter the pH of the dog’s urine to prevent lawn damage. The myth to go along with this solution is that dog urine is too acidic, therefore that’s what causes the grass to burn.
The idea is, in order to combat the ‘acidity of dog’s urine’, simply supplement things like tomato juice, apple cider vinegar and vitamin c into your dog’s diet and the problem is solved.
However, just as with the baking soda, all these remedies don’t deal with the real problem of high nitrogen concentrations. Not to mention we would highly advise against tampering with your dog’s health and diet with hear-say hacks. Ultimately, it’s not the pH of the dog’s urine that kills the grass, so it’s not worth putting your dog through all this hassle.
What happens if you leave the lawn burn without treatment?
Leaving lawn burn isn’t detrimental to your lawn, however, the grass will eventually degrade and you will be left with soil patches. Treating urine lawn burn is the better solution to encourage healthy regrowth once re-seeded.