Look out your window at the expanse of your lawn, glowing vibrant green in the afternoon sun. Does a closer look reveal unbecoming brown patches dotting certain areas of your property? Dogs and lawns go hand in hand in a relationship integrally linked. A dichotomy exists since dogs need to do their business and homeowner's love the look of a healthy, beautiful lawn. Balancing the two requires a careful look at safe products that can be used, proper cleanup and the need to find a happy medium between four-legged and two-legged respect for the lawn.
Dogs need a place to go and lawns provide the perfect spot for that activity. The long-held idea that dogs wetting on the lawn causes brown spots isn't exactly accurate. The urine itself doesn't ruin the grass but instead, the nitrogen content in the urine causes browning patches and the demise of the grass. Similar actions by cats in the garden increase the nitrogen in planting beds.
Pet ownership and lawn care require careful evaluation of products used on the grass. Homeowners must avoid substances that can prove dangerous to pets. Choosing organic alternatives such as manure, compost and corn gluten to improve lawn and soil quality will eliminate the concern of pets coming into contact with harmful substances. Fertilizers and pesticides should be used sparingly, if at all, and only when absolutely necessary. See resources for additional information on organic lawn care.
Flushing the Grass
A quick fix to help limit damage to the lawn surface involves applying water to dilute the concentrated nitrogen. Pour water using a watering can or hose on areas of the lawn recently serving as potty spots. This dilution should limit the size of brown patches. Smaller patches will fill in quickly without any assistance from the homeowner. Larger areas should be raked to remove dead grass. Mix topsoil and grass seed in a bucket and sprinkle this mixture on the raked areas. Water generously and new grass will appear quickly.
Designate an area of the yard for dogs to perform their daily business. Choose a spot covered with mulch or in a secluded area of the yard. Take your dog to this spot on a leash and praise him mightily when he does his business in the designated area. Don't automatically assume the animal needs only one day of training. Continue to bring the animal to the selected area until he does it on his own. Make sure to clean this area regularly to encourage the animal to continue visiting it.
Certain lawn and garden products such as insecticides can prove harmful to pets. Make sure to restrict access to areas when applying chemicals. If an animal is exposed to any chemical, contact a veterinarian immediately. Never alter a pet's diet to reduce the incidence of damage to the lawn. The old myth of feeding an animal tomato juice or vinegar won't prevent spotting on the lawn and may make the animal ill.