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How to fix damage to your lawn from pet urine

Fixing Pet Damage to Lawn

Dogs are affectionately referred to as man’s best friend. While they may be our best friends, they can be your lawn’s worst enemy. All dogs must use the restroom, which can lead to damaged brown spots in your yard. A dog’s diet typically consists of high protein foods. When the protein is digested, nitrogen is produced and is ultimately excreted in the dog’s urine. Excessive amounts of concentrated urine can kill your grass, much like overapplied fertilizer. Often, the grass is only stunned, or damaged, but if your pet has a favorite spot in the yard, it can be killed. It is a common misconception that female dogs are more harmful to your grass due to squatting in a stationary position, but this is untrue. All dog urine is high in nitrogen and can damage your lawn.

Unfortunately, there is no magical solution for curing urine burn in a lawn, but there are a few tips that you can implement to save your yard:

1. Water Urine Spots Frequently

watering yard with garden hose

If your dog favors a particular spot in the yard to relieve themselves, frequent watering of the are may help to save your grass. Diluting the urine, and the nitrogen in it can lessen the impact on your lawn. It may be as simple as setting up a sprinkler in the affected area and watering daily or nightly. The sooner after urination that you can water, the better.

2. Water Your Dog

dog drinking from a water hose

If your dog has potent or concentrated urine, make sure that they have plenty of fresh water throughout the day. Much like humans, a pet’s urine can become more concentrated when they don’t consume enough water. The more water that your dog consumes, the more diluted the nitrogen in their urine becomes. Never try to force your pet to drink excess water; they will drink it on their own.

3. Help Your Dog Choose a New Spot

Many dogs like to urinate in the same spot or area. They become comfortable in the surroundings and will return to it time after time.

Many homeowners will construct a restroom area out of mulch and bark and work with their pets to become comfortable with relieving themselves in the area. Pet urine is not detrimental to mulch and bark, which can be attractively integrated into your back yard. Another upside of a mulch element is the decreased maintenance for the area.

3. Reduce The Amount of Nitrogen Fertilizer

If your yard is suffering from urine scald in areas, skip applying nitrogen-based fertilizers in the affected spots. Nitrogen is a popular ingredient found in almost all fertilizers. Applying excess nitrogen to an already scalded area may kill the grass and damage surrounding areas. Feel free to use nitrogen-rich fertilizers to everywhere else in the yard, but skip your pet’s favorite bathroom spot.

4. Replace Damaged Grass

green grass and a green rake
Once spots in your yard have died from urine burn, it is time to replant them! To replant damaged areas of your lawn, follow the steps below:
  1. Water urine spots thoroughly to ensure that excess nitrogen and urine. have been removed from the soil
  2. Remove dead grass and roots by raking over brown patches. You can also dig out dead turf, making sure to remove all large debris from the area.
  3. Fill in the voids with sand or peat moss. If your lawn is on the thin side in the area you are repairing, use High Yield Gypsum to the area and water generously. Gypsum not only helps to loosen your soil; it neutralizes many of the salts found in pet urine. After application, watering the product helps ensure that urine is neutralized beneath the ground and in the surrounding areas. Multiple watering sessions may be needed.
  4. Apply a health amount of top soil or compost to the area to prepare for seeds. Never pack your topsoil tightly into the ground before seeds are applied.
  5. Apply top seed and water. Many seeds will require multiple watering sessions a day and daily watering after germination.
If you are looking for a product that is not only seed, but a mix of seed, fertilizer, and water-retaining mulch, here are the two products you should consider:

Scotts EZ Seed Dog Repair

Scotts EZ Seed Dog repair is a blend of mulch, fertilizers, and seeds that is almost as easy as set and forget. The proprietary mulch can absorb six times its weight in water, ensuring that the seeds stay moist and ready to grow. The Dog Repair blend also contains a salt neutralizer designed to protect the seeds from caustic urine remnants. If you are looking to repair a handful of Fido’s urine spots in the yard with minimal hassle, this seed mix is for you. Pennington One Step Complete Pennington’s One Step product is excellent for repairing bare spots left behind by your pet. One Step is a blend of premium grass seeds that have been coated with fertilizer to maximize growth. The product also contains a wood-based mulch designed to retain moisture. As with all seed mixes, keeping the young seeds watered is critical, and this mulch will do just that. Pennington has taken much of the work out of repairing dead spots in your yard by creating an ultimate pet spot repair grass mix.
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