Dogs and lawns are not a match made in heaven, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have both.


If you are a dog owner, you may have already encountered damage to your lawn. If you haven’t, most probably you will soon. After all, one of the most common concerns in the grassing industry is finding a turf grass that can survive daily canine routines. The main ways that our beloved pets destroy our grass lawns are urine spotting, high traffic, and digging holes. You’ll find more about these problems and their solutions in the following lines.

Urine Spotting

Understand the cause: The most unsightly problem with having both dogs and lawns is usually urine spotting. This is a fundamental problem that is related to the nitrogen content and concentration of this waste product. Urine removes excess nitrogen from the body via the kidneys. Nitrogen waste products are the result of protein breakdown through normal bodily processes. And carnivores and dogs, in particular, have a significant protein requirement. There is a legend that only female dogs cause urine spotting, but this isn’t true. It really depends on the size and metabolism, not the gender.



Find a solution: For fully-mature lawns, watering the area of urination immediately after can lessen the detrimental effect on the grass. However, the best―and really the only―solution, is to train your dog not to use the lawn for this purpose. The only other alternative is to change the territory from one area of the yard to another allowing the grass to recover between ‘sessions’.



Wear from constant use

Understand the cause: Most dogs are constantly running around―from one part of your yard to another, from entrances to back door areas, from their dog house to your door―especially when you call them or when they are looking for attention. They almost never stray off their beaten path and they produce wear patterns. Over time this causes the grass on the lawn to thin and even die off completely.



Find a solution: Pave or mulch walk areas to minimize these paths occurring. This is not going to solve your problem completely―since they will still walk and run across the lawn―but the damage will be much less. An alternative solution is to get yourself a really, really lazy dog.


Digging Holes

Understand the cause: Contrary to the popular belief, dogs don’t dig holes only when they want to hide a bone. Usually, they are trying to make themselves a softer resting place. Also, they dig holes when they’re trying to get warm or stay cool. Entertaining themselves is another reason, as well as hunting ground-dwelling animals.



Find a solution: Ensure your dog has a nice, soft place to rest, with perfect temperature―somewhere cool when it’s hot, and warm when it’s cold. Also, you can try to discipline and train your dog not to dig holes in your lawn.


Additional tips

Now that we’ve established the most common lawn problems caused by dogs and how to fix them, it is time to talk about how to prevent future damage. The most effective way, as already mentioned, is to train your dog. The other thing that really helps is keeping your lawn in great shape. Here are some tips:

1. Mow the lawn regularly. Even homeowners who don’t have dogs must cut their grass to make sure they have a healthy lawn. If you’re not a fan of spending your weekend with a mower in hand, I recommend using a professional lawn mowing service.

2. Water your lawn regularly. The root zone of grass is usually deeper than five inches, so you should consider deep watering every week. Thus, you’ll help get the moisture deep down into the soil.

3. Install motion-activated sprinklers. Once triggered, they will operate for a short period of time. This short period will be just enough to encourage your dog to take its business elsewhere.

Do you have any personal experiences with dogs wrecking your lawn or other advice to prevent lawn destruction? Please share your story or tips in the comments section below.


Author: Jane Clarke
Editor: Sharnon Mentor-King
Images: Flikr: Jason Meredith, Eselsmann; Pixabay: BreckenGroepcortez13, sevenpixx  



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About the author

Jane Clarke

Jane Clarke

Jane Clarke is a content writer for Fantastic Services Australia, specialising in gardening. She also manages the Fantastic Gardeners Melbourne website. She loves writing, gardening, and travelling. She adores the ocean, good music, her dog and, of course, her two children.