Taking care of the lawn is my husband’s job. I’m not going to lie, I like using the riding lawn mower once in awhile, but not as much as the lawn needs mowing! Part of the lawn care duties include reducing and reversing damage from our dog. Whether it is furrows from a well-trod path, divots from an after-potty exuberant pawing, or lawn burns, my husband does his best to keep our lawn a velvety patch of green.
Today, I’m going to focus on lawn burn. Lawn burn is when you get those dead patches of grass where your dog urinates. It occurs when the contents of your dog’s urine kills off your grass. While lawn burn, or urine burn, most often occurs with large female dogs, it can happen when you have any dog of any size in your family. (The reason why large female dogs get the worst criticism when it comes to lawn burn is due to how females urinate – they squat, which puts all the urine in one spot – and the quantity of urine different sized dogs hold – large dogs hold a lot!
What Causes Lawn Burn?
Lawn burn is caused when too much nitrogen is placed in and on the grass via dog urine. Dog urine contains nitrogen when your dog eats a high level of protein, since protein is broken down and eliminated as nitrogen in urine. The same kind of “burn” occurs in grass if a large amount of lawn fertilizer is placed in one spot. If you look carefully at a lawn burn spot, you may notice an outside ring of darker, more lush grass. This is where the dog urine was diluted enough to actually act as fertilizer.
Believe it or not, lawn burn occurs more easily in lawns that are very well taken care of. That is because lush lawns are achieved with the regular use of fertilizer. If you take a well-fertilized lawn and add concentrated nitrogen, you get lawn burn spots more often.
Lawn burn also occurs more easily if your lawn is stressed from drought, disease, recent sodding, or recent seeding. The grass cannot handle the extra nitrogen that is being deposited when it is not fully watered or fully grown.
How Can I Prevent Lawn Burn?
There are a few ways to prevent lawn burn. Rather than stop fertilizing your yard, try one of these methods:
- Give your dog more water. Diluting your dog’s urine will make it less potent, which means it should be less likely to burn your grass.
- Water your lawn where your dog urinated. You can try to dilute the urine after it is on the grass. However, this may not work if you do not turn on the hose immediately after your dog does his business.
- Treat your dog with GWhiz Lawn Saver Treats. Your dog will receive a wonderful, wheat free treat, while you are giving your dog food with Yucca Schidigera in it, which binds ammonia in urine and aids in the digestion of proteins. If your dog does not like semi-soft treats, you can use the GWhiz Lawn Saver for Dogs that comes in a spray – simply spray it on your dog’s food for the same benefits.
It is sometimes recommended that you feed your dog a high quality dog food with low protein amounts. However, dogs need protein for a healthy diet. Some dogs need proteins that are not typically used, such as boar, in order to prevent allergies. Other dogs just perform better with high protein diets. I would not recommend messing with your dog’s protein levels in order to prevent lawn burn.
A Rich, Green Lawn
My dog, Bailey, does a fantastic job of drinking a ton of water. My husband also does a fantastic job of keeping our lawn fertilized. Currently, we have avoided most lawn burn issues. However, we are going to be in a position where our lawn consists of sod and seed. I think Bailey is soon going to be rewarded with GWhiz Lawn Saver Treats when he behaves well!