How to Stop Your Dog From Leaving Brown Spots on the Lawn


If there are brown spots on your lawn where your dog urinates, your canine friend is over-fertilizing those little spots of grass. All urine contains nitrogen, a by-product of protein metabolism. Nitrogen, a common plant fertilizer that is frequently used on lawns to keep them healthy and green, can also kill grass when over-applied. If you have ever used a high-nitrogen fertilizer on your lawn, you have probably seen a few spots where the grass looked burned. These spots and the spots where your dog urinates are similar. An excess of nitrogen has damaged or killed the grass. A little care and training, though, can go a long way to prevent this damage.

Step 1

Take your dog on regular walks. The routine of regular walks will help get your pet on a schedule so he knows when he will be able to relieve himself. When he relieves himself on walks, he will also have less urine available to deposit on your lawn. Only walk your dog in public areas where his urine won't damage neighbors' lawns. Regular walks combined with designating an area in your yard for your dog to urinate will eliminate most of the brown spots.

Step 2

Create a specific area where your dog can urinate. Remove the grass in a portion of your yard and cover it with sand, gravel or bark mulch. Add a large landscaping item, like a rock or log, to serve as a marking post and to beautify the spot. Plan to rinse and replace the gravel, sand or bark mulch on a regular basis to keep odors down.

Step 3

Train your dog to use the area. Collect some of your dog's urine for several days before you begin the training. A shallow pan makes a good collection dish because you can set it in place quickly, and its placement does not need to be exact. Sprinkle the collected urine in the area and on the marking post. When your dog is most likely to need to urinate, for example after meals or when you get home from work, put your dog on a leash and walk her to the area. Be patient and wait for your dog to relieve herself. When she does, praise her warmly.

Step 4

Prevent your dog from roaming your yard. Until she is trained to use the area you have created, keep her on a leash as you walk with her around the yard. When she is well trained, let her roam under your supervision. Keep an eye on her. If she tries to urinate anywhere other than in the designated area, calmly interrupt her. Put her on the leash and walk her to the designated area.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not give your dog supplements like vitamin C or potassium to reduce nitrogen in the urine. These substances can cause bladder and kidney problems.

Things You'll Need

  • Leash
  • Sand, gravel or bark mulch


  • University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service: Dogs and Lawns
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Dealing with "Dog Spots"

Who Can Help

  • Texas AgriLife Extension Service: "Dog-on-it" Lawn Problems
Keywords: lawn, brown spots, dog, urine