Yellow Spots in the Lawn

Understand the Cause: It is the nitrogen, not just the pH.

Lawn burn is caused by the nitrogen in dog urine. Because dog urine is very high in nitrogen-containing waste products, when the dog urinates, it is similar to pouring a nitrogen-containing fertilizer on the lawn. A little nitrogen is good for the grass, but an excess causes damage. The prevention of lawn burn involves trying to reduce the amount of nitrogen coming into contact with the grass.

Contributing Factors – There are several factors that make lawn burn more likely to occur:

  • Female dogs are more likely to cause lawn burn than males because females void their entire bladder in one location instead of lifting their leg and marking, like males.
  • Large dogs deposit more urine so they increase the quantity of nitrogen in one location, making lawn burn more likely.
  • The dog’s diet and how it is being processed can allow for more nitrogen excretion.
  • Heavily fertilized yards are already receiving near maximum levels of nitrogen. The additional amount of nitrogen in dog urine may be all that is needed to put these lawns over the edge and cause lawn burn.
  • Lawns that are stressed are more susceptible to damage. Lawns that are suffering from drought, disease, or are newly sodded or seeded are more susceptible to lawn burn.

Solving the Problem – Successfully treating and preventing lawn burn often requires a multi-step approach:
1. Saturate the urinated spots with water. After the pet urinates, pour several cups of water on the spot to dilute the urine. A watering can works well.

2. Feed a high quality dog food that has the capacity to be recognized by the canine computer system. High quality foods will have more digestible protein sources that are more completely utilized by the pet and create less nitrogenous waste in the urine. WE RECOMMEND A BAKED KIBBLE. LOTUS® BRAND IS THE BEST. Baked food is digested by the dog differently than extruded diets. Extrusion is the most common form of processing by manufacturers. Also feeding a more ARCHETYPE DIET; RAW, CANNED, OR DEHYDRATED FORMULAS also will positively affect what is absorbed and utilized by the dog and then the final elimination.

3. Encouraging your dog to drink more water will help dilute the urine and decrease the risk of lawn burn.

4. Train your dog to urinate in a location.

5. Replant your yard with more urine-resistant grasses. The most resistant grasses tend to be perennial rye grasses and fescues.

6. Some supplements can help but correcting the diet as mentioned above would be the preferred.

7. Reduce the stress on your lawn by not over- or under-fertilizing and by watering frequently.

8. If neighbors’ dogs are causing the problem, using a fence or motion-activated sprinkler may be helpful in keeping these dogs off your lawn.

© Integrative Veterinary Education, Inc.