Dogs may be man’s best friend, but the damage they can cause to grass certainly is not!

A common complaint we hear from dog owners is the appearance of small, round brown spots in the lawn.  Oftentimes, this lawn burn is due to the high nitrogen content in dog urine.  Although there is not one proven solution to what we call “dog spots”, a multi-step approach can control lawn burn and get your lawn looking healthy again.

A good place to start is watering the lawn and focusing on areas in which there are dog spots.  If those areas do not seem to bounce back as hoped, you may want to consider spreading a layer of top soil on the affected areas and overseeding (see our blog post about Spring overseeding here).  If you do chose this option, you will just want to make sure that pets and humans alike avoid newly seeded areas until it is well established.

Watering more frequently in years or seasons with less rain also helps minimize the risk of future dog spots.  Lawns that are stressed by factors such as drought or lawn disease may be more likely to suffer lawn burn from dogs.  Young grass and new seed are also especially susceptible.  We recommend watering more often for short periods, in order to allow the lawn to dry between waterings.   After your dog urinates, it is also a good idea to saturate that area with water to dilute the urine.

Reducing the risk of lawn burn can also start with your dog!  Some pet owners consider training their dogs to urinate in areas that are not very visible or highly trafficked.  You can also encourage your dog to drink plenty of water and invest in a high-quality dog food that does not exceed the recommended protein content for your dog.  Dogs with a high-protein diet tend to have urine with a higher nitrogen content.

It should also be mentioned that dog spots, lawn diseases, and grub damage can all look similar if you are not sure what you are looking for.  If you do not know which may be causing brown spots in your lawn, please call AAA Lawn Care at (888) 374-7336 and we will be happy to have a technician take a look!