While I realize that there's still snow (or ice, for some of us stuck in -19F weather) on the ground, did you ever wonder why your dog's pee turns your lawn brown?
Animals and humans have a high nitrogen content in their urine, but dogs are the only ones who get blamed for peeing outside and getting caught red-handed. While nitrogen is one of the key ingredients in fertilizer, the concentration and amount in dog urine is so high that it actually burns and kills the grass. You can minimize the damage to your lawn using these tricks of the trade. First, do what my dog, JP, does and have him lift his leg and pee through the chain link fence onto my neighbor’s lawn. My neighbor has such horrible brown spots and really should take the time to take care of his lawn (luckily, he doesn’t have any pets, so the likelihood he’ll buy this book and discover this is minimal).
Secondly, consider constructing a graveled area in the back of your yard. I have a gravel area with hostas and ferns and when I give JP the command to “go to the back,” he knows that that’s what I mean. After rewarding and training him, it’s the first place he goes to urinate without any grass burning in the process. Third, consider watering the area down after your dog urinates. Dilution is the solution to pollution, so you can minimize the damage and severity of grass burns by just pouring water on it. Finally, there are holistic medications out there that work by changing the pH of Fido’s pee, but as a veterinarian, this can be playing with fire (or nitrogen). Certain crystals or stones may form in an altered urine pH, so changing Fido’s pH just to save your lawn is not safe unless medically directed.
Material from It's a Dog's Life... but It's Your Carpet, available at Amazon.com. More information available at www.drjustinelee.com
Copyright © 2008 Justine Lee Veterinary Consulting, LLC.
Biography: Dr. Justine Lee is a veterinary emergency critical care specialist and the author of It’s a Dog’s Life… but It’s Your Carpet: Everything you ever wanted to know about your four-legged friend and It’s a Cat’s World… You Just Live In It: Everything you ever wanted to know about your furry feline.