What would we do without the companionship of dogs? Their endless love, pervasive optimism, and fluffy faces give us a wealth of fond memories. But, for those in pursuit of a perfect lawn, a dog’s energetic, ceaseless playing can cause major damage. Dog owners are probably used to seeing bare spots, turned up soil, and plant debris scattered throughout their yard, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Believe it or not, there’s a way for dogs and lawns to coexist peacefully—it just takes a little work.
Dog urine is known for its grass killing properties. High in nitrogen, dog pee can quickly burn up healthy grass, causing it to turn yellow. There are hardier strains of grass that hold up better to high nitrogen content, like Bermuda grass or zoysia, but having new grass put in can be more trouble than its worth. Many homeowners combat this problem by training their dogs to pee in a designated pee area made of gravel or woodchips. Some dogs are less willing to do this than others, but there is are training products available that can help coax unruly dogs into proper bathroom habits. A pheromone coated “pee post” can be bought online for relatively cheap. The pheromones will encourage the dog to urinate on the post.
It’s also a good idea to keep your pet well hydrated, as water helps to dilute the nitrogen content of urine. Taking your dog on regular walks or on outings to dog parks can also reduce the amount of urine pollution in your backyard. As always, the sooner you begin training your dog the better.
Watering and feeding your lawn will make it stronger and less susceptible to damage. Lawns should be watered every season, mowed for as long as the grass is growing, and fertilized 3-4 times a year. After fertilizing, it’s a good idea to keep your dog inside and off your lawn until the fertilizer dries. I’ve found that dogs enjoy playing in fertilizer and, while it’s cute to watch, it doesn’t do much to help the lawn.
Dogs may occasionally nibble of grass to aide digestion. This is completely normal and usually will not result in a lot of damage, but, if it does, you can always purchase another kind of dietary aide for your dog, such as a specialty bone.
Ultimately, when it comes to getting your pet and you lawn to coexist, you must have patience and perseverance. Dogs can be trained to exhibit all kinds of beneficial traits, that’s why we call them man’s best friend. However, they can’t help but see a gigantic playpen where you see a carefully manicured lawn. Getting them to tread lightly around grass and plantings takes work and training. Start now while your yard is in hibernation; by spring time, you’ll have a better behaved pup!