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Had Good Luck With Fixing Dog Damage to Lawn

Posted by bogey123 NJ 6 (My Page) on
Sun, Oct 20, 13 at 19:15

Our King Charles Cavalier has done a job killing off small pockets of our back lawn over the last year or so. It is that first time out in the morning when my wife is dealing with kids getting off to school that is the culprit and me being already on the road.

What I did was buy a quality blue / rye mix (via internet), buy some soil from big box store that has fertilizer in it already, you know the brand, raked out each spot with my thatch rake, added seed, added soil, added seed and soil again in layers (2) then added some mulch. Applied water daily, problems solved except for 1 spot which doesn't want to come in fully. I will have to wait for spring for that one.

I hope this helps others who have the same issue. FYI - I started this in mid September and now in mid / late October you don't even notice the patched spots, just the couple of new ones that need to be patched next spring.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Had Good Luck With Fixing Dog Damage to Lawn

Well, whether you buy from the internet or just go to your local nursery and buy a seed that matches what lawn it is is up to you but I suspect the daily watering helped reduce the damage that was due to the concentrated nitrogen in the urine.
Seed is one way....and replacing the area of damage with plugs taken from areas of the lawn that can put up with it; is the other accepted method.

Dogs do damage when they pee....that is an accepted reason damage to lawns occur. You cant change it and no amount of changing the dog's diet will matter---except maybe make the dog sick.


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RE: Had Good Luck With Fixing Dog Damage to Lawn

Goren is absolutely correct. The problem is with natural urine and has nothing to do with diet.

To dig further, the dog spots are caused when there are not enough microbes in the soil to process a full load of urine. You can usually remedy that over the entire lawn by using organic fertilizer at least once a year in addition to your normal fertilizer routine. For the immediate cure, you can apply a handful of table sugar to the spot. The sugar will stimulate the population of microbes to reproduce and process the urine. And I suppose you could apply sugar to the entire yard. I would do that in the form of molasses at a rate of 3 ounces per 1,000 square feet.


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RE: Had Good Luck With Fixing Dog Damage to Lawn

It does have to do with the dogs' diet. Nitrogen is a byproduct of proteins breaking down. The more protein in the food, the more nitrogen they create, and the higher the nitrogen levels, the deader the grass.

We fed our previous two dogs a raw diet all their lives. They ate a lot of raw meat and raw meaty bones for over 12 years, and until I trained them to pee only on mulch, they burned the lawn. We lost them both at the end of last year, and I vowed to feed a premium kibble if we got another dog. It was so expensive and it was a lot of work to feed raw. There are much better dog foods available than there were in the 90s when we got our first puppy.

So here we are with a 19 month old retriever mix and a 9-month old Aussie-lab-elkhound mix, and to my amazement, their urine never burns the lawn. Oh, it burned for a time, when I was feeding them Blue Buffalo food, but then our retriever mix had some pancreatitis issues and the vet recommended a lower protein food, so we switched to Natural Balance limited-ingredients formulas. We opted not to feed any prescription foods.

No burns on the lawn. I have even flagged where they pee and kept an eye out for damage.We get deeper green spots, but never any burns. I do not recommend choosing a food based on how it affects your lawn, and I would never give our dogs those pills that allegedly "neutralize" the urine. It just worked out this way.

Last week, I became suspicious though, when I saw round dead spots showing up all over our lawn. I wondered what was going on with the dogs' food that the grass would suddenly start to burn. And then I noticed there were dead weeds in the middle of every dead spot. Our lawncare service spot treated for weeds and killed everything where the guy sprayed.


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RE: Had Good Luck With Fixing Dog Damage to Lawn

I respectfully disagree that it's diet and here's why. Over the past three years we have had 3 dogs that always eat the same brand of kibble and very little 'people' food. The first two dogs, our senior babies never once left a mark in the St Augustine lawn. The new dog is bigger and pees in the same spot for a long time. He's not a 'here and there' marker like the other two and he kills the lawn big time. I did use sugar and it's working slowly but new spots appear all the time. We're keeping the dog :-) and dealing with the spots.


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RE: Had Good Luck With Fixing Dog Damage to Lawn

Believe what you want, Pkponder. One anectodal story proves nothing. I gave you a scientific reason for variations in burns. Protein levels vary from food to food. The one we feed is relatively low protein. It's nitrogen that buns the turf, and when proteins break down in the body, they produce urea, which is nitrogen. The lower the protein, the less likely the burn.

But the type of lawn matters. The amount of moisture in the soil matters. Heat stress matters. And the constitution of the dog plays a big role.

Also -- leave the sugar in the kitchen! I have been saying this for 20 years -- if you don't want urine to burn your lawn, pour water on the spot soon after the dog goes. The sugar trick is very short lived and you will be a slave to it. It's so much easier and cheaper to keep a bucket of water next to the door, grab some up in an old quart container, and flush the spot.


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RE: Had Good Luck With Fixing Dog Damage to Lawn

'Course Mama, you could always just train your dog to pee in the bucket.
Let's hope the dogs' natural body function is not interfered with for the sake of trying to avoid burn spots.
You have a dog.....expect them.....and quit trying to change what comes natural.


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RE: Had Good Luck With Fixing Dog Damage to Lawn

Here is some good reading from Purdue via TAMU.


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RE: Had Good Luck With Fixing Dog Damage to Lawn

Part of the problem was we have had very little snow the last two years. When we have had snow in the past, the melting snow took care of the dilution issue. During most times in the Spring thru Fall the dog gets walked and thus doesn't go out first thing in the morning.

I bought the seed over the internet as I was able to get good pricing, no sales tax and was able to find the mix I wanted in about 15 minutes without having to travel to multiple stores.

I have a few spots that will need attention next spring, including some not related to a dog but rather a result of having some trees taken down, felling the branches produced "dents" / holes in the lawn that I have filled with soil, but it is too late in the season for seed.


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