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Help! My Dog is Ruining My Lawn!- Here's how to keep green grass and a dog

by Gene Caballero | March 24, 2022

Is your dog tearing up your yard?

Or is your best friend leaving brown spots all about the yard from his regular bathroom breaks?

Well, you are not alone! I think most of us, including myself have been there. 

In my experience, almost any issue a dog can cause in your lawn can be fixed relatively easily. 

So, what can you do to revive your lawn after Fido tears it apart? 

And how can you prevent it from happening again?

Let’s take a look!

Dog digging hole in front lawn

How to Prevent your Dog From Digging

Look, there are conventional and unconventional means of stopping your dog from digging.

First lets take a look at the conventional methods.

Method #1: Take Them for Regular Walks

Digging can be a sign that your dog has too much energy pent up, and needs to get it out. 

By simply taking them on early morning walks, and as time permits. You can help them expel some of tat energy without them adding new holes in the yard

This will also encourage them to relieve themselves off of your property, and can help prevent brown spots from appearing in your lawn. 

Method #2: Keep Them Mentally Stimulated

This method is along the same line of thinking as the last one. 

Helping your dog expend their energy through regular play such as fetch, tug of war, or other mental stimulation can prevent them from feeling motivated to put holes in the lawn. 

You may also find that a good dog toy, like the ones you put treats in. Can keep them preoccupied for hours on end. And the whole time the are focused on their toys, guess what… They aren’t focused on digging in the lawn. 

Now for the unconventional methods. And be forewarned, this one is weird. But if you are dedicated to stopping your dog from digging, this may be the best way to stop it today. 

But no matter what, remember to always keep your lawn safe for your pet while you do yardwork!


Bury “treasures” in Your Dog’s Favorite Digging Places

As dirty as they can be, dogs don’t like to be in their own waste.

This is crazy but… if they have a few favorite places they love to dig. You can put some of their own "treasure" in the hole and bury it. 

When they start to dig in the hole, they will likely stop the moment they discover what you have placed in the hole

And if they don't, I suppose you may just have a huge mess on your hands. 

Check out this infographic on creating a pet-safe lawn!

brown lawn caused by dog pee

How to Prevent Dead Spots in The Lawn

So what about getting rid of brown spots in the lawn?

Well, you need to get down to the issue at hand and understand why exactly dog pee leaves brown spots in the lawn. 

Why does dog urine kill grass?

It’s simple, dog pee is high in nitrogen, and while a little nitrogen can be good for the lawn. Too much will have the opposite impact, and will actually kill the grass.

The reason dog pee is so high in nitrogen is their high protein diets. 

So, with that in mind we can begin to address to core issue at hand, reducing the nitrogen in your lawn. 

Female dogs also tend to empty their bladders in one place. Where as male dogs tend to pee a little in multiple locations. Therefore, female dogs are more likely to kill patches of grass if the following preventative measures are not taken. 

Get this, even the type of food you feed them can affect how much nitrogen is in your dogs urine too. 

According to A & W Landscaping:

"(a)... method of prevention/ reduction is making sure you are feeding your dog quality dog food . Low quality food uses synthetic protein fillers and can make the dogs digestive system work harder to break them down thus producing a much stronger nitrogen level is their urine."

Solutions To Prevent Brown Grass From Dog Urine

There are several methods you can use to reduce the presence of nitrogen caused by dog urine. And we have covered them thoroughly in our article 4 Tips to Prevent Brown Spots from Dog Pee.

In a nutshell:

  • Ensure your dog has regular access to water, 

  • Walk your dog so they urinate off of the property, 

  • Reduce the amount of nitrogen you apply in fertilizer, 

  • Water the places your dog urinates in regularly,

If all else fails, build a designated space for your dog to use the restroom in. 

Pro Tip! Select the right types of grass can lead to a more resilient, dog urine resistant lawn. The best types of grass to use include tall fescue and rye grass. On the other hand, Kentucky Bluegrass and Bermuda are very susceptible to urine.

Brown spots killing lawn caused by dog urine

Reversing Brown Spots in The Lawn

So, what happens if you have tore up parts in the lawn, or brown spots cause by dog urine?

A & W Landscaping did a very thorough Facebook post on what to do if your lawn is destroyed by dog urine want to read more.

But we will hit the key points here. 

Step #1: Apply Lime, and a lot of it too

Look, lime can strengthen your grass, and neutralize some of the proteins found in dog urine. 

Regularly applying pelletized lime to the lawn can help strengthen your lawn, prevent brown spots, and help your grass regenerate if its already turned brown. 

Step #2: Dethatch and Reseed

I know you don't want to hear this, but if the lawn is too far gone, your going to have to do some heavy lifting to whip it back into shape

You'll want to start with getting down to the bare earth in the affected areas and starting your lawn again from seed. 

If you have an ultra-sensitive grass type like Bermuda or Kentucky. You may want to consider redoing the whole lawn with a rye or tall fescue. 

green lawn being fertilized after being destroyed by dog

Preventing and Repairing Damage in Your Lawn Cause by Your K-9

At the end of the day, you can do a lot to prevent the damage your dog may cause in the lawn, 

And if you are proactive with the steps and tips above, you can do a lot to prevent issues that can develop in the long run.

If you are looking for more to read check out this one on making your lawn safe for your dog.

While you are at it, give your best friend a scratch behind the ears for me! Until next time, be well.

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