You & Your Dog Can Prevent Unsightly Yellow Patches On Your Grass

It's become obvious that your dog is causing damage to your lawn – not by digging, but instead by urinating. You never realized that getting a dog would cause yellow patches of grass all over the place. Fortunately, there's nothing wrong with your dog's health. By tweaking your landscaping, spending some extra time with your dog and getting canine dietary advice from your vet, you can resolve the problem. 

What Causes the Yellow Patches?

The problem is nitrogen, as well as salts associated with nitrogen. Think of how nitrogen-based fertilizers come with warnings not to apply too much or it will burn the grass. Nitrogen in dog's urine has the same effect. 

Because of the fertilization and burning effect, the patches that show up on grass commonly have a ring of very healthy grass growing around a damaged area. This looks like dark green rings around yellow or brown patches.

Training Your Dog Where to Urinate

An effective strategy is to train your dog to urinate in one area only. You can create a specific place by covering it with mulch, bark chips or pea gravel. Bring your dog to this area on a leash and praise your pet for going in this spot. If you like to provide treat rewards, do so when the dog does what you want. Dogs are smart, and it shouldn't take long before your pet understands.

Diluting the Nitrogen Concentration

If you are willing to walk around with your dog whenever it's outside, you can use a garden hose or a watering can to saturate places where the dog has just urinated. That dilutes the nitrogen concentration. The main problem is that you may cause noticeable differences in the appearance of different areas of your lawn with this inconsistent watering style.

Changing Your Pet's Diet

Talk with your veterinarian about the food your dog eats and ask about different options. High-protein dog food that isn't of excellent quality can lead to less absorption of the protein, and then more excretion of nitrogen. 

Don't buy supplements that claim to change the pH of your dog's urine and decrease the nitrogen content – unless your veterinarian advises you to do so for your dog's health. Otherwise, those supplements could actually cause health problems for your pet.

Also ignore any recommendations you hear about adding baking soda to your dog's diet. That method is intended to increase alkalinity in the urine and may not be good for the animal.