Remove Dog Spots from Your Lawn
Rita Ribiat - Detroit, MI

Hardwarian Rita Ribiat

Gratiot True Value Hardware

Detroit, MI

Remove Dog Spots from Your Lawn

Level: Beginner

The unsightly yellow or brown spots on your otherwise lush, green lawn often are the work of man’s best friend, whether it’s your dog or a neighbor’s. While it’s true that once you see the dog lawn spots, it’s too late to prevent that damage, you can take steps to prevent them or repair them once the damage is done. Keep reading to learn more about removing dog spots from your grass and then get to work.

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    • Step 1: Train Your Dog

      Getting rid of yellow dog spots on the lawn starts with your dog. Training a pet to eliminate waste in a selected spot in your yard can keep the damage confined to one area. Then you only have a small spot to repair. Or better yet, create a gravel or mulched area where your pet can relieve himself. When the dog signals he needs to go outside, leash him and walk him to the specific area. Use a command phrase (something short, like “potty”) in a commanding tone and wait for him to do his business in the desired location. Afterwards, reward him with vocal praise and petting, and a treat, if needed. No matter the age of the dog, this may take some time. Be patient and encourage your dog to use the selected area. After he begins to use the same spot, you can let him go without leashing and directing him.

      Sometimes, though, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. In these cases, consider constructing a dog run or dog kennel in your yard to keep your pet contained where both he and the lawn can be protected.

    • Step 2: Soak It

      Soaking your lawn can be one effective way to reduce your issue with dog lawn spots. Try to take note of where you see your dog urinate, if it's not obvious by the yellow patches in the grass. You want to soak these areas excessively with water from a hose. Use a lot of water; the more you saturate, the better. The longer the urine stays on the grass, the more damage it does, so if possible, spray the spot after the dog urinates. If you use a sprinkler to water your lawn, this is helpful too because it helps wash away dog urine consistently. However, a lawn sprinkler alone typically does not provide enough water to keep the damage from happening.

      Helpful Tip

      Before deciding that yellow dog spots in your lawn are the work of a dog, verify that is the case and not the work of grubs or lawn disease. Try pulling on the grass in the yellow patch. If the grass does not pull up easily, you are most likely dealing with urine spots. If it can be pulled up easily, it could be something else that is causing the spots.

    • Step 3: Spot Treat
      horticultural lime

      Lightly spread horticultural lime over the affected dog lawn spots. Don’t add too much lime though; follow the directions on the package closely. Too much can have the opposite effect and do more damage. Thoroughly water the dog urine spot again. Keep watering every day. Eventually, the natural green color of the grass will return. If it doesn’t return in a few weeks, you may have to dig out the area and re-seed.

      Helpful Tip

      Consider dietary supplements that naturally decrease the effect of excess nitrogen on grass. Consult your veterinarian before you start any kind of dietary supplements for your pet.

    • Step 4: Repair/Re-seed

      Sometimes you have to “patch” your lawn by tearing up the dead grass area and re-seeding. Use a hand rake to tear out the old, dead grass and loosen the soil about 1" to 2" deep. Dispose of the old soil, as it is most likely saturated with nitrogen. Add new topsoil along with a layer of organic compost or peat moss. Before seeding, add gypsum to the seed mix to help neutralize nitrogen levels. Put grass seed in the area, according to package instructions. Apply a starter fertilizer to help with germination. Note: Be careful when using fertilizer, as the wrong formulation or amount may increase nitrogen concentrations itself, in the same way that dog urine can. If you need advice, ask an expert at your local True Value hardware store.

      Try to keep people and pets out of that area of your yard until the grass is well established, usually about 10 to 14 days after sprouting.

      Helpful Tip

      You can add hay or straw mulch to facilitate sprouting. This helps prevent soil erosion and cuts down on the need for frequent watering. But don’t use too much mulch — the more straw or hay you use, the more likely you are to get some weeds.

      Use a garden hose or sprinkler to lightly water the re-seeded area two or three times a day, preferably during the early morning or early evening. Stick with this watering schedule until the new grass is about 1" tall. Once the grass reaches this height, you can cut back watering to once a week until the grass is ready to be mowed.

      Helpful Tip

      Consider replacing your grass with a more nitrogen-resistant species, such as rye grass or fescue. Ask an expert at your local True Value hardware store for advice on which grass might be best for your particular region and needs.

    • Step 5: Add a Fence

      While you may be able to keep your dog in check, there’s not a lot you can do about a neighbor’s dog, except by reaching out to your neighbors to keep a better eye on their pet. Or, you can build a fence around your property. Ask for advice from an expert at your local True Value hardware store store about what type of fencing is best for you.

      Chain link fencing is easier to maintain and cheaper than other fencing. Wood fencing is more attractive. It comes in many different types and treatments, but will need maintenance down the road. There are also prefabricated fences made of plastic, vinyl and metal.

      Safety Alert!

      Before digging to install a fence, check with your utility companies to make sure there aren’t buried pipes where you want the fence to go.

      Congratulations! Now you’re ready to remove any dog urine spots that appear on your lawn.

  • Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.

    Before you begin, use the shopping list below to uncheck the tools you already have to complete this project.

    Then, print or save your updated list and bring it to your local True Value hardware store, where an expert Hardwarian will give you the remaining tools and expert advice you need to complete this project.

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