It’s National Dog Day. Let’s talk about keeping your lawn free from those pesky urine spots!

A common misconception is that acid in dogs urine is what causes brown spots to appear on our lawns. In reality, the culprit is actually high nitrogen content of the urine. Nitrogen is the byproduct of protein breakdown through normal body processes. Our dogs have diets high in protein leading to high levels of nitrogen in the urine.

The most effective way to prevent these brown spots, while not all that practical, is to water the area where your dog urinates right after they finish. If you don’t feel like getting the garden hose out several times a day you might consider keeping a watering can nearby and fill it as needed for use.

Grass variety is also a factor in urine tolerance. Fescue and perennial ryegrass are the most resistant. If you practice watering your dog’s urine, as mentioned above, with these varieties, the urine can even act as a fertilizer. Some of the least tolerant varieties are Bermuda and Kentucky Bluegrass with Bermuda being the least tolerant of any.

It’s important to also remember dogs are very smart and can be trained to urinate in specific areas of the yard. You might consider creating a dedicated space using a gravel bed or even some artificial turf and work to train your pooch to do the business in the same location. K9 handlers have long trained dogs to “take a break” on command – food for thought!

Before you consider any of the over-the-counter supplements claiming to eliminate this problem we encourage you to consult with your veterinarian. Remember, nitrogen is naturally occurring in the body and the use of supplements will potentially alter these natural processes.

Remember, our four legged babies are family too and you should never scold them for making you have to work a little harder to keep that lawn healthy and green. Extra treats from everyone today – It’s National Dog Day!