Repairing Dog Damage in Your Lawn

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Many people think that if they change the diet of the dog or add some magical pill to their food, the dog will not damage the turf. Feeding your dog higher quality food with low to moderate protein and salt added may decrease the damage they cause – but always check with your vet first before changing your dog's diet.

Types of Dog Damage

There are two types of dog damage:

The first is when darker green spots appear where they have “done their business.” This is usually the result of excess nitrogen that was released in the dog's urine, causing the darker green spots to appear. Female dogs are more apt to cause this kind of damage as they usually urinate in one spot. In this situation, lawn fertilization will help mask the spots. Male dogs have a tendency to urinate in small amounts throughout the yard, so they don't usually damage the lawn as much, but can cause damage or even death to small plants or shrubs from their frequent urinating. Feces can also cause damage to a lawn, but it's usually not as extensive. It's also easier to pick up. Some people will keep a watering can in the backyard to dilute the area where the dog urinated. The other type of dog damage is when the turf completely dies. Many times the brown spot has a darker green border around it. In this situation, the area will either need to be reseeded or resodded. Rake up the damaged grass and break up the soil. Seeding a lawn requires frequent watering to ensure good germination. Placing a piece of sod in the area does require watering, but on a less frequent basis. Be sure to remove all the dead grass and break up the soil before replacing the area with sod. Small spots (less than size of the dinner plate) will generally fill in on their own. Normal spring rain or supplemental irrigation will help the areas recover even faster.