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. Dog’s urine contains a high volume of nitrogen, which causes these burnt-out patches. Using a Piddle Patch is a brilliant alternative to letting your pooch 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.
Need a real grass alternative to train your puppy? Check out our Piddle Patch Starter Kit. You’ll find everything your pooch needs for toilet training, in a sustainable way!
WHY DOES DOG URINE 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!
The size of your dog undoubtedly will have an impact on the volume of piddle they produce! While bigger dogs will produce more urine, smaller dogs tend to wee more frequently. Both of these factors can have an effect on stained grass, depending on your pooch’s toilet habits. In both cases, if your dog is inclined to peeing in a particular spot, whether that’s over numerous visits from a little terrier, or one big piddle from a Dobermann, this can have a detrimental impact on your grass over time.
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
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. Whilst our four legged friends love a meaty treat now and again, reducing the amount of protein in your pooch’s diet is an effective way to reduce the amount of nitrogen they produce, therefore limiting the damage to your grass.
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.
Don’t forget, just because you have a male pup that doesn’t mean you’re free from urine related grass casualties, the risk is just lower! Keep an eye on your puppy’s piddle routine, regardless of gender.
Worried your dog’s not piddling enough? Check out our professional guidance on Urinary Incontinence in Pooches.
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 grass. Remember, if you’re a proud lawn owner, a Piddle Patch is a great alternative for early morning/ late night wees! Piddle Patches are a great alternative to protect your lawn, but take a look at some other measures you can take to keep your lawn, or Piddle Patch looking tip-top!
Water it down
This may seem obvious, but it really does work. As soon as your dog pees on the grass, pour water over the area to dilute the urine. It’s a little time-consuming as you’ll need to remain vigilant during your pooch’s outdoor time, but diluting their pee spot will lessen the burning effect. This works on your Piddle Patch too!
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. Remember, less nitrogen = less damage.
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.
It can be helpful to take your dog out to the park or for a few extra walks where they can pee in a public/shared grass area. Once your pooch is ready for the outside world, taking them on plenty of walks not only reduces the amount they’ll pee at home, it also encourages sociability and curiosity.
If your schedule allows, it might mean that they only need to pee on your grass once or twice a day, keeping it healthier for longer! Using your Piddle Patch once or twice a day, will mean it will stay fresh for longer!
A diet lower in protein, or a diet with a neutral pH, might help reduce the amount of damage to your real grass dog toilet. It’s always really tempting to chuck your pup some scraps of meat or a juicy bone, but it may not always be the best thing for them, or indeed your grass!
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. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on what diet is best for your individual pet.
Look after your grass
Maintaining a healthy Piddle Patch fresh grass dog toilet will mean that repairing damage caused by your dog will be easier. However, small your patch is, giving it access to natural light, keeping it watered, and preventing the grass from becoming oversaturated will help to keep it healthier for longer.
WHEN SHOULD I WORRY?
If you notice any changes to your dog’s toilet habits, then it’s important to get him checked by your veterinarian to rule out any other health problems.
Signs to look out for that might indicate your dog has a urinary problem include peeing more frequently than usual, straining to pee, passing small amounts of urine in lots of places, finding blood in the urine, or incontinence.
It is always helpful if you can take a urine sample to your vet to help them make a diagnosis. You can do this by catching some urine. Ideally, this should be the first urine your dog passes in the morning. Use a clean, dry container to catch the urine, and store it in the fridge until you can get it to the vet. We don’t recommend using a jam jar – minute traces of glucose remaining even after washing can upset the results of the tests.
URINE STAINS – FINAL THOUGHTS
It is unfortunately inevitable that your grass will suffer some damage from your dog’s urine. It is a completely natural process caused by the waste nitrogen in your dog’s pee. Some dogs will tend to do more damage than others, such as very large dogs, and female dogs. However, there are lots of techniques you can use to protect your Piddle Patch real grass dog pad, and if you have any concerns about your dog’s toileting habits then it’s always best to get advice from your veterinarian.
By Dr Holly Anne Hills