Q: I have two female dogs which immediately head for our front yard to relieve themselves when I let them out. Needless to say, there are plenty of yellow patches of dead grass throughout. Is there a chemical I could put on the grass to neutralize the urine?
A: Bright yellow spots surrounded by dark green grass are sure signs of dog urine damage to a lawn. Female dogs, because they squat to urinate, are the primary culprits.
Dog urine has a high percentage of nitrogen because they consume protein as part of their diet. Nitrogen is a fertilizer at low concentrations. However, when the chemical is concentrated in urine it acts like a strong solution of table salt on your grass.
The acidity of the urine is not the problem; sprinkling lime on the spot will not bring back the dead grass. The high concentration of nitrogenous chemicals kills your turf. You have probably noticed how much greener the grass is around the spot for a few weeks.
Someone once told me about attaching a shaker of garden lime to a dog’s hind quarters to neutralize the urine but…….Naaaaah!
The only thing you can do is flood the spot with water as soon as your dog has visited there.
Don’t be tempted to give your dog special chemicals or home remedies. These typically work by increasing the dog’s need to urinate and can harm their kidneys. Always consult your veterinarian before adding anything to your dog’s diet.
Dog trainers say that the only cure for the problem, when the dog is your own, is to train the pet to use a different area. Find an appropriate “potty spot”, preferably in the back yard, and reward the dogs for using it each time. This may take several weeks but there are several books and Web sites that can help you.