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A “Poopy” Situation: How to Care for Pet Waste In Your Yard


If you have a pet pooch, there’s a good chance their waste is taking its toll on your yard. From brown patches to pollutants, pet waste can be a serious eyesore and do a number on your grass.

What Causes Unsightly Dead Spots from Pet Waste?

Often homeowners feel awkward discussing the cause of unsightly pet spots in their yard. We’ve seen our fair share of patchy, brown, and burnt grass, though. So, we’ll cut to the chase: dog urine and cat urine kills grass. Why?

Pet urine has high concentrations of nitrogen, salt, and urea. When a dog urinates in your grass, it’s like pouring fertilizer all in one spot. While nitrogen helps grass grow healthy and strong when applied in moderation, it can do some serious damage at the levels a dog’s ‘wastewater’ has to offer. Dog and cat urine essentially scorches your grass.

To compound the problem, dogs often choose to return to the same spot over and over again or frequent a spot another dog favors. This combined with sunshine can destroy your lawn one spot at a time. This problem is often referred to as “nitrogen burn.” 

Clay and dense soils are more vulnerable to nitrogen burn because urine sinks in more slowly, giving it time to burn those grass blades.

Fun Fact: A female’s dog urine is more destructive than a male’s urine.

What about the other form of pet waste?

While stepping in a pile can spoil your day, number-twos are less destructive when it comes to your lawn. They can contain parasites and pollutants you don’t want tracking inside your home or through your veggies garden, though. 

While dog doo can still cause burns it often results in a larger environmental problem. Dog waste is listed as an environmental pollutant that harms waterways according to the EPA.

What Can You Do to Prevent and Treat the Effects of Pet Waste on Your Yard?

Ways to Prevent Nitrogen Burn

  1. Water it Down: You can follow your pup around and hose down the areas where he has relieved himself. This will dilute the concentration of nitrogen and somewhat prevent the grass from burning.
  2. Pick Up the Number-Twos: The longer dog waste sits on your grass the more damage it can doo (pun intended).
  3. Limit Your Dog’s Potty Options: If you truly want to save your grass from sun-scorched patches, you will have to create a designated area where your dog can do his or her business. This may mean walking your pup to a nearby lot or park.
  4. Change Up Your Lawn Care Routine: Adding more nitrogen through fertilizer to the spots where your dog goes will multiply the problem. Boost your lawn’s organic matter by adding compost to the area to make the urine absorb quicker.
  5. Try a Lawn Saving Supplement for Your Dog: You can find Stay Green and GrassSaver online that adjusts the pH of your dog’s urine to help protect your grass.

How to Repair Nitrogen Burnt Grass

It may too late for prevention. While it will take time, you can give your lawn a helping hand to become a healthy green, again. Unfortunately, you don’t have many options once the grass dies. You can try to repair the damage by:

  • Reseeding your grass
  • Sodding the dead areas

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or the pet waste problem is out of your hands (neighbors’ pets and strays), call or email us! We’re happy to help bring your lawn back to life. After years of experience, we’ve learned what we need to know to solve your problem and restore your lawn back to optimal health!

Photo credit: Pixabay