Dogs are cuddly, loving, playful bundles of fur that we welcome into our families with open arms. But there are downsides to dog ownership, and one of the ongoing issues is the damage that dogs do to lawns. Between their digging, the brown spots left behind by their urine, and general wear and tear on grass, having a dog makes having a nice lawn seem impossible at times. Here are five ways to reduce the havoc your dog might wreak on your lawn.
Dilute Urine Burns
Image via Flickr by krossbow
Dog urine is very high in nitrogen, so it can burn your lawn just like too much fertilizer, leaving brown spots everywhere. To minimize the issue, make sure your dog is well-hydrated so its urine isn’t highly concentrated, and water your lawn often to dilute any urine that’s present. Turf breeds like fescue and ryegrass resist urine burns better than more delicate grasses like Kentucky bluegrass or bermuda.
If your dog is a digger, you will need to spend some time training your pet. If you and your dog haven’t been to obedience training, consider attending now so you can learn how to control problem behaviors. You’ll need to spend time outdoors with your dog so you can catch the digging behavior as soon as it begins and redirect your dog to another activity. If you let your dog out alone before you’re finished training, restrict it to a safe area using a pen or lead.
Keep Newly Seeded Areas Safe
Newly seeded lawns cannot endure constant trampling by a dog, even if it’s a small breed. Until your seedlings are well-established, keep your dog secured in another part of the yard or go for daily walks instead of allowing playtime on your lawn.
Create a Dog-Safe Space
If your yard is big enough, you might want to set aside a specific space for your dog. Put in a large pen or dog run and install a durable, pet-friendly turf lawn instead of planting grass. A turf lawn isn’t subject to urine burns, digging, or other wear and tear from a dog. Turn the play zone into a mini dog park with a small wading pool, a rotating supply of toys, and a dog house. Make sure your dog has access to shade and water. You can even install a doggie door so Fido can let himself out whenever he wants some fresh air.
Some Ideas to Avoid
Dog repellent sprays are unproven and may even entice a dog to urinate to cover the strange smell. Also avoid unproven supplements that claim to reduce urine burn and other issues; these products don’t have proven benefits and are potentially dangerous to your dog.
Training your dog carefully, diluting any urine spots with water, and providing your pet with its own safe space within the yard are the keys to having both a healthy, happy dog and a beautiful lawn. It’s a bit of extra work, but well worth the effort.