dog damage

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by jdmcat, May 1, 2008.

  1. jdmcat

    jdmcat LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Messages: 439

    Does anybody have any tricks for preventing or correcting dog urine damage in turf? Shooting the dog is not an option.:laugh:
  2. mngrassguy

    mngrassguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,167

    We apply lime on dog spots with the first application in the spring. Helps a lot!!!
  3. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    I second that motion !!!

    It scares many people think "lime" is the MIRACLE PRODUCT for their lawns because "somebody said so"... and don't even go about checking the soil pH at ALL.

    But aside from it's other reputable and noble use of raising pH in acidic (low pH) soils...a bag of pelletized lime is good to have around for any dog owner, to help 'nullify' the acid-pee the *el-cheapo dog foods can cause a dog to produce.

    *('s true !!!
    If you switch your pooch over to a MUCH better grade of dry dog food like "Iams" or "Science Diet"...your "nuclear pee" :cry: problems in the turf will likely begin to diminish.)
  4. mngrassguy

    mngrassguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,167

    I've heard tomato juice in the dogs water will help but my dogs won't drink it.LOL
  5. amscapes03

    amscapes03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 398

    Check out They have a several chewable dog supplements. One is called Lawn Guard and the other is Urinary Acidifer.

    LIBERTYLANDSCAPING LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 1,283

    Chewtabs are hocus-pokus. Guys at Purdue University say they make the dog thirsty to cause them to drink more & "water" down the pee...Except that doesn't work & it makes your dog have to pee more often, causing MORE spots:cry:

    Since it is thought that it is the nitrate's in the pee that burn the spot, there is not much to do to nutralize that;) (Had PH tested of the burned areas & it was not high, so why would lime work??)
  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,670

    Any pet store will have several types of pills to help protect the lawn. The customer might want to try them. I doubt that it will help. Hocus Pocus, I am sure.
  8. Mscotrid

    Mscotrid LawnSite Bronze Member
    from USA
    Messages: 1,456

    This is from Purdue can be found via this link
    Animal Urine Damage in turf, actual extension relase will have photos. Kinda long but worth the read

    IL-IN TW 61
    Figure 1. The patches of greener, more vigorous
    turf are caused by animal urine.
    Figure 2. A dead, brown “crater” surrounded by
    a dark green turf ring characterizes classic urine
    Animal urine can aggravate anyone attempting to
    maintain a uniformly green, aesthetically pleasing
    lawn. Concentrated urine from wildlife such
    as foxes, deer, and geese can discolor, injure, or
    severely damage turf. But for homeowners, pets
    (particularly dogs) are the most frequent cause of
    patches of darker green and/or brown turf, that are
    often concentrated in a particular part of the lawn.
    The exact mechanism of urine injury is not
    completely understood. However, concentrated
    salt-based fertilizer spills cause turfgrass damage
    similar to animal urine. This has lead many to
    believe that animal urine contains highly concentrated
    salts that dehydrate the turf.
    Symptoms of Urine Damage
    Animal urine can damage any turfgrass species
    in any climate. The most severe damage seems
    to occur where soil moisture is low and turf is
    poorly hydrated. Prolonged dry, hot weather may
    exacerbate the damage, especially for cool-season
    turfgrasses (Kentucky bluegrass, perennial
    ryegrasses, and tall and fi ne-leaf fescues). In
    severe cases of urine damage, turf receiving the
    highest concentration of urine typically takes on a
    gray-green, wilted appearance, which rapidly turns
    straw brown (Figure 1). Turf death may occur in 24
    hours or less in hot, dry conditions. Dead patches
    of turf do not always appear, but when they do,
    there is a central crater of brown turf, 3-6 inches
    in diameter, surrounded by a dark green ring, 6-12
    inches in diameter (Figure 2).
    This combination of very green and dead brown
    patches may persist for several weeks depending
    on the vigor of the surrounding turf and its capacity
    to recover and fi ll in. The greening effects are
    Animal Urine Damage in Turf
    Purdue University
    Turf Science
    Department of
    University of Illinois
    Turfgrass Program
    Department of
    Resources and
    AY-327-W Animal Urine Damage in turf
    IL-IN TW 61
    most noticeable in malnourished turf because the turf
    responds quickly to the urine’s readily available nitrogen.
    Greening may also occur in well-fertilized turf
    areas. For cool-season turfgrasses this is particularly
    evident during the early spring (March), midsummer,
    and late fall (November and December) when the turf
    is not actively growing (Figure 4).
    Several common turfgrass diseases (such as dollar
    spot, summer patch, and necrotic ring spot) may be
    confused with animal urine damage because they
    affect turf during the warmer months and form similar
    patches and craters. For more on these and other
    turfgrass diseases, visit the Purdue Turfgrass Program
    publications Web site: http://www.agry.purdue.
    edu/turf/publicat.htm#BP. Animal urine turf damage
    can be distinguished from these diseases because
    there is no cottony mycelium present during the early
    morning and dying leaf blades do not appear watersoaked
    or mat down like those affected by fungal
    infections. Furthermore, urine damage almost always
    has a dark green, actively growing perimeter.
    Behavior May Contribute to Damage
    Of the common household pets, dogs tend to damage
    turf most. Cats are generally not a problem since
    they prefer gravel or sand-like substrates to void
    rather than lawns. Among dogs, females are more of
    a problem than males, due to differences in voiding
    behavior. Females typically squat when they urinate
    and male dogs lift their legs (Figure 3). However,
    young dogs of both sexes normally squat to urinate
    and the typical leg lifting and marking behaviors of
    male dogs do not become prevalent until dogs are
    about 1 year old.
    In addition to squatting, female dogs are less
    discriminating about where they void and typically
    release all of their urine in one concentrated location.
    Figure 3. Puppies and mature females squat when
    they void, concentrating urine in one location.
    Figure 4. Concentrated dog urine can be particularly
    damaging in months when the turf is not actively
    growing, such as early spring.
    Speculation abounds among pet owners regarding
    how the constituents of female dog urine damage
    turf. Some suggest that the urine’s pH, or that the
    hormone content of spayed vs. non-spayed dogs’
    urine may infl uence the problem. To date, however,
    none of these factors has been thoroughly tested or
    proven to contribute to turf damage. Thus, the more
    important role is probably the voiding behavior of
    female dogs.
    Practices That Help Minimize Damage
    The only way to ensure animal urine does not damage
    turf is to completely remove the pet from the
    lawn, which for most pet owners is simply not practical,
    so consider the following management practices:
    1. Keep the pet off the most visible parts of the lawn
    and/or train the dog to use one designated low-visibility
    2. Water the portion of the lawn where the dog has
    voided with a watering can. This helps minimize
    serious damage but may not completely eliminate a
    greening response.
    3. Walk your pet in a neighborhood common area,
    dog park, or other, less aesthetically important turf
    4. Maintain healthy, vigorous turf that can easily
    recover from damage. Some of these maintenance
    practices include:
    - Mow the lawn as high as practically possible; 2
    to 3 inches is appropriate for most lawn turfgrass
    - Follow an environmentally responsible, properly
    AY-327-W Animal Urine Damage in turf
    IL-IN TW 61
    timed nitrogen fertilizer program (nitrogen is the
    nutrient most responsible for green leaves). This
    will help keep the area affected by urine from
    being dramatically different in color from the rest
    of the lawn. Although the turf affected by pet urine
    may respond to urine nitrogen, this does not
    necessarily mean that the lawn requires fertilization.
    Modest nitrogen additions may mask urine
    symptoms but nitrogen should only be applied
    when it will benefi t the turf, and not during times
    when the turf is dormant and nutrients will be lost
    to the environment. For more detailed information,
    refer to Purdue Extension publication, AY-22,
    Fertilizing Established Lawns (http://www.agry.
    - During times of drought, follow a deep and infrequent
    lawn irrigation schedule. Maintain adequate
    soil moisture and keep the turf hydrated to minimize
    damage and encourage damage recovery.
    Other Remedies Probably Ineffective
    Some commercially available products claim they
    can repel animals from urinating on particular areas.
    However, these products have not been proven to be
    Also, a number of self-proclaimed pet authorities
    suggest a variety of dietary modifi cations (usually in
    pill form) to manage animal urine turf damage. Some
    products purportedly manipulate urine’s nitrogen
    content or affect the animal’s liquid consumption.
    Most of these products simply cause the pet to drink
    more water, thereby diluting the urine’s nitrogen content.
    An added side effect is that the animal will need
    to urinate more frequently, increasing the potential
    for “accidents.” Furthermore, using these products
    is potentially dangerous, and you should consult a
    qualifi ed veterinarian before initiating such a remedy.
    To see other Purdue Extension turf management
    information and publications, visit:
    Rev. 5/2006
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national
    origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all
    programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape,
    etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).
    To fi le a complaint of discrimination write USDA, Director, Offi ce of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence
    Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice or TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
    Order or download materials on this and other topics from:
    Purdue Extension Education Store:
    University of Illinois Extension Publications Plus:
    Cale Bigelow, Assistant Professor and Turfgrass Extension
    Specialist, Purdue University Department of Agronomy
    Nolie Parnell, Small Animal Clinical Veterinarian,
    Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine
    Zac Reicher, Professor and Turfgrass Extension Specialist,
    Purdue University Department of Agronomy
    Tom Voigt, Associate Professor and Turfgrass Extension
    Specialist, University of Illinois Department of Natural
    Resources and Environmental Sciences
  9. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    That's because the solubility of the "pee" in the soil was so great that it did it's damage and "left the scene of the crime" :walking: ...just like that!

    For a true barometer :

    Get a small box or roll of litmus paper at the drug store, and then let your dog pee on THAT .....after eating "El-Cheapo" brand dog food for a few weeks !
    Very likely....Your results will show in the direction of extreme "RED", which would indicate acidity.

    (Blue indicates alkalinity, by the way.)
  10. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    Nice post !
    Good to see some of the tuition $$ going to some good use ! :laugh::laugh:

    Purdue...or any other university for that matter, would never bring up the subject of "inferior" grade dog foods...because they certainly know they would be pressed at some point to give specific examples of what they'd be talking about !

    NOT !'s all about politics !

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