Now that spring is (finally) here, the trees and the grass are turning green again, and we start to see a problem that we didn’t have in the winter – yellow burn spots on our nice green lawns from dog pee.
The biggest culprit of burn marks is the ammonia (NH3) in your dog’s urine, which breaks down into its two components, nitrogen and hydrogen. While nitrogen is actually utilized as a fertilizer by plants, when it is too concentrated in one area it stops the grass from absorbing water and nutrients. (You’ll often notice burn marks surrounded by lush grass; this is because on the edges the nitrogen is being diluted and then used as fertilizer.) The problem gets worse if you’re already using a high nitrogen fertilizer on your lawn.
The extra hydrogen ions released also change the pH of the soil, damaging the grass. Metallic salts and other compounds in the urine will also affect your lawn’s ability to take up nutrients properly.
Contrary to popular thought, female dogs don’t have a different kind of pee, or a more acidic one, that makes burn marks worse. It’s just that males often lift their legs to mark high on something in multiple locations, where females crouch on the ground. This means more urine is concentrated in an area, making the yellow marks worse.
But don’t stress, we have the solutions!
Dog Rocks – When these first came in, we were highly skeptical, as were many of our customers. And these are one of the most effective and popular solutions we carry! These naturally mined rocks from Australia help reduce the compounds in dog urine that ruin your lawn. Simply place in their water source for it to go to work. Get more details and instructions on how to use here. Note: if your dog is on a high protein diet, they are producing more ammonia than normal, and the Dog Rocks may not be enough. For best results, combine with one of the following products.
NaturVet Grass Saver – This is a great tasting supplement that helps protect your lawn. This contains natural amino acid that can change the acidity of your dog’s urine, helping to spare your lawn. See their page here.
Earth’s Balance G-Whiz Lawn Saver – This water additive contains amino acids to help your dog utilize process proteins, reducing ammonia and the pH of their urine. It also helps reduce bad breath, body, and fecal odors.
Earth’s Balance Dogonit Lawn Rejuvinator – Used on the lawn, this helps heal spots already burned by dog urine (so it’s GREAT to use when it’s not your dog’s spots). It also safely and naturally helps correct toxic soil conditions caused by synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides, so pet owners can look forward to a healthier and better looking lawn.
A few tips to help:
Water the area your dog goes pee in. A simple rinse of 15 – 30 seconds after they pee will help dilute the ammonia and prevent the grass from being damaged. Carrying some water in a water bottle will help protect other’s lawns when you’re going for a walk.
Train your pet to only eliminate in an area with trees or rocks, a simple solution that many people don’t consider.