Dog Spots

There is a general misunderstanding among the gardening (and yard owning) community about dog spots.  It seems that some people believe that dog spots occur because of a high or low pH or because of some sort of poison in a dog’s urine, but that really isn’t the case at all.  Dog spots occur because of something that I pointed out a few weeks ago in another post.  Urine contains a lot of nitrogen.  When a dog pees on your lawn that extra nitrogen isn’t used and so ends up being poisonous to the grass which is peed upon.  You’ll notice that around the periphery of a dog spot the grass is particularly bright green.  This is because the extra nitrogen helps the grass in that location rather than poisoning it.  If you want to get rid of a dog spot the best thing to do is to follow your dog around carrying a five gallon bucket of water and pour it over the spot as soon as the dog pees — this should stop the grass from dying, but will probably not get rid of all the extra nitrogen and so you’ll end up with a bright green spot instead of a brown one.

8 thoughts on “Dog Spots”

  1. I had always heard the grass died because of the salts in the dog’s urine…do salts play any role in the dead spots on turf? Does the nitrogen kill the roots of turf in the winter since the turf isn’t actively growing?

  2. Yes — the nitrogen is basically in the form of a salt — and since enough of the salt isn’t taken up by the plant the problem occurs. Actually — depending on where you live and how frozen the ground is — the actual killing of the grass roots may not occur until the ground thaws — the urine just sits there waiting to thaw and cause problems.

  3. We’re currently getting plenty of rain, so experiencing the latter; two girl dogs = lots of very dark green, lush spots. (Bebe and Bunny say “hi!”)

  4. I’ve had a few people this summer (relatives of veterinarians, their source for the information) tell me only female dogs leave dead spots, because of the higher concentrations of reproductive hormones in their urine. It didn’t make any sense to me, and they wouldn’t believe me when I told them it was the nitrogen. Now I will just point them to this post.

  5. Male dogs spread their urine around in smaller amounts while female dogs deposit it all in one spot. This is why the female dog has more problems with nitrogen concentrations killing the grass. Nitrogen is used in lawn fertilizers and helps green up the grass. Adding water to the urine dilutes the nitrogen so it is now beneficial instead of so strong it burns or kills the grass. There are products that contain naturally occurring microbes that will break down the nitrogen in urine and create a similar effect to diluting. An advantage to using these is you apply once and you don’t need to worry about it again for several months as appose to following your dog and watering the spots every day. There are other benefits to using the microbes also.

  6. I have always heard that a dogs urine kills the grass and all I can find about it is ” why does dog urine kill grass”. We are wondering why does our dogs urine make the spots she urinates on turn into beautiful, fast growing, lush green? My husband and father in law said we need to bottle her urine and sell it lol. So that is my question Why does her urine spots make our grass turn green and grow faster?

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