Does your dog’s urine burn the grass? Here’s what to do.

If you’re a dog parent, you’re probably familiar with those burnt-out patches of grass that frequently appear in the spots where dogs pee on the lawn. Knowing what causes these marks and how to prevent them from damaging your Piddle Patch real grass dog potty can help to extend its lifespan.

Why does dog pee kill grass?

Your dog’s urine contains a compound called nitrogen which is produced when your dog’s body breaks down protein from his diet. When your dog squats down to pee on the grass, it’s this nitrogen that burns it. Whilst it is true that nitrogen can be good for your lawn (it’s the main ingredient in most fertilisers), in high concentrations it can be damaging. This is why you sometimes see lush green grass around the edges of the brown patches.

The extent to which your grass is damaged by the nitrogen in your dog’s pee depends on the size of your dog, gender, and his diet. But their personal habits also make a difference, as some dogs always return to the exact same spot to go to the toilet, whilst others will make use of the entire area available to them however big or small that is!

Diet

Your dog’s diet can affect the amount of nitrogen in their urine and the amount of damage to your grass. Nitrogen is a waste product of protein breakdown, and protein is an essential part of your dog’s diet as it is needed to maintain healthy tissues in the body, as well as being an important source of energy.

A high-protein diet might mean that your dog’s urine contains more nitrogen. Some dogs need a higher protein diet, such as working dogs, but most only need a low-protein diet to stay healthy.

Gender

Female dogs tend to do more damage to the grass than males. The reason for this is simply anatomy! A male dog will typically cock his leg against a fence or a tree, so less urine hits the lawn. Whereas female dogs squat down to pee in one place, so a higher concentration of harmful nitrogen hits the lawn in this spot, causing the burning.

How do I stop my dog’s urine from burning the grass?

Unfortunately, it is impossible to completely avoid your dog’s pee damaging your grass, but there are several things you can do to help reduce the damage to your real grass dog potty.

Water it down

As soon as your dog pees on the grass, pour water over the area to dilute the urine. This will lessen the burning effect. You can also add water to your dog’s food, or encourage them to drink lots to dilute their urine. There should always be plenty of clean, fresh water available to your dog to keep them hydrated.

Dilute it at the source


There are some products available to add to water bowls that aim to reduce the number of nitrates in your dog’s diet. This reduces the amount of nitrogen in your dog’s urine, and may help protect your lawn.


There are also supplements and products on the market that aim to neutralise the pH (acidity) of your dog’s urine to prevent damage to grass. You should speak to your veterinarian before using these, as they can cause other problems such as bladder stones and infections.

By Dr Holly Anne Hills