There is an old adage . . . you can either have a lush green lawn or a dog but you cannot have both . . . or can you?
I am addressing this question at the request of one of my clients and frankly I thought this would be a simple project with not much research . . . wow was I wrong!
In general, dog urine, which is high in nitrogen, can cause yellow / dead spots in your beautiful back yard by basically giving the grass too much of a good thing. Yes, most fertilizers have nitrogen which helps to make a nice, green lawn, but too much of a good thing can also cause the grass to die.
There are two actions that can be taken to save your gorgeous grass. The first is to change your dog’s diet . . . which should be considered very carefully. Is it worth it to have a sick dog in order to have a nice lawn? For me the answer is emphatically “No!”
The second choice is to treat the soil and create a healthy lawn that can withstand the dog’s “watering”. . . . which for me is a better choice.
First let’s consider the dog’s diet. . . .
Some internet sites will tell you to give your dog tomato juice or baking soda in an attempt to change the PH of their urine. This is crazy . . . and here’s why. If you change the delicate PH of a dog’s urine, you also open them up to potential urinary tract, bladder, kidney & liver issues.
There are also supplements (Grass saver, Lawn saver, etc.) – some claim to be “all natural” to add to your dog’s diet. However they include warnings: these should not be given to dogs with urinary tract issues, kidney disease, liver disease or any metabolic problem. They should also not be given to pregnant or nursing dogs. Too much of these supplements can lead to vomiting, gait abnormalities and disorientation . . . right there the red flags are flying!
While they contain some helpful ingredients like B1, B6 & B12 vitamins, Papaya, Yucca, Cranberry Extract, and Dried Aspergillus, Montmorillonite (minerals), there are some main ingredients that give me cause for concern.
Methionine, a B vitamin which acidifies urine, is an essential amino acid in the body, but the Dl-Methionine, used in these supplements, is not natural. It is synthetically produced.
Dr. Greg Aldrich, pet food industry advisor, writes; “Methionine is one of the 10-plus essential amino acids that are required by both the cat and dog.”, and is important for skin and coat condition, eye health, heart health and more. Some pet foods add a methionine supplement, called DL-Methionine, to help promote the palatability of the diet. How is the supplement DL-methionine made? The starting materials for production of DL-methionine are acrolein (a 3-carbon aldehyde) derived from propylene (a petroleum derivative), methyl mercaptan derived from methanol and various sulfur sources and hydrocyanic acid (HCN). Acrolein and methyl mercaptan are reacted to form a relatively stable intermediate, 3-methylmercaptopropionaldehyde, known as MMP. The MMP is then reacted with HCN to form a rudimentary mix of DL-methionine and contaminants which is further refined through clean-up steps.”
More red flags to me . . . why do we need to give our dogs petroleum and methanol derivatives??? Just Say No!
Dextrose is the name of a simple sugar chemically identical to glucose (blood sugar) that is made from corn.
Maltose is a white, crystalline, water-soluble sugar, formed by the action of diastase, especially from malt, on starch, used as a sweetener.
Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide that is used as a food additive. It is produced from starch. Maltodextrin is easily digestible, being absorbed as rapidly as glucose. It is commonly used for the production of soft drinks and candy. It can also be found as an ingredient in a variety of other processed foods.
Petroleum, sugars, starches, corn gluten, artificial sweeteners . . . no thanks!!! Not for my dogs!!!
Let’s treat the lawn . . . not the dog!
A better solution might be to organically improve your soil, giving it, and your grass, the nutrients to withstand the dog watering when it happens.
One such product is Dog Spot Solution.
“Upon application, the beneficial biology in Dog Spot Solution immediately begins to work its magic – binding the salts and balancing the pH of the soil under the problem area. Most importantly, Dog Spot Solution effectively neutralizes the excess nitrogen that is the root cause of the grass burn.”
These natural rocks are set in your dog’s water dish.
Dog Rocks® filter out impurities from water such as Tin, ammonia and nitrates. These impurities are usually passed out through urine, and when grass comes in contact with these elements it results in urine burn on grass, resulting in a dead, yellow patch on your lawn.
I was concerned about any treatment added to the rocks so I contacted the company asking for more information. The answer? Dog rocks come right from the ground. The only intervention it has had is that it runs through a grader in order to size the rocks to prevent choking. It is packaged in all natural, eco-friendly bags and boxes. . . . From the earth and back to the earth after usage…
My lawn seems to be impervious to dog urine staining . . . don’t know if it is the health of my soil and grass or the combination of my soil and the normal PH of Sheltie urine, but wherever they pee, my grass is lush, dark green and grows as fast as the weeds!!!
I also have well water and not chemically treated (with chlorine and fluoride) city water
. . . I wonder what affect the city water has on grass/soil health.