Dogs And Lawns

dog catching frisbee on lawnIf you have a lawn and a dog, you understand the problem.

The dog brings you and your family so much joy – chasing balls and Frisbees on the lawn, playing with the children, and squirming around with legs kicking in the air.

Yet, there are problems: dogs dig in lawns and leave things you’d rather not have around. You know what I mean!

Before you give up your dog or your lawn or abandon hopes of a peaceful coexistence, check out the information below.


Dog feces don’t really damage the lawn if you pick them up promptly. If you leave them on the lawn they will shade out and smother the grass underneath. Not to mention that both you and the kids walk in them.

The answer, of course, is a pooper scooper. You can go with the one handed jaw type scoop which most people like because they’re so easy to use one handed. However, a few folk find they have problems with the screws etc so you might prefer the more basic mini rake and shovel type.

And additional problem with not picking the feces up straight away is that your dog can develop the unsavory habit of eating his own doggie does! Nothing worse than having your hand licked by a pooch that you suspect has been eating his own waste.

If you’re wondering just what you do with the dog feces AFTER you’ve picked them up, then take a look at the Doggie Dooley 3000 Septic-Tank-Style Pet-Waste Disposal System.

It is a little work putting it in but is a great solution once you have. It works just like a proper septic tank and is big enough for 2 large dogs or 4 small dogs.

Whatever you do, don’t toss it over the fence! The dogs are yours and so is their poop! Nothing more guaranteed to start a neighborhood war.

Urine is a bigger problem. Urine is high in nitrogen and, while grass needs nitrogen, urine is so concentrated it burns the grass. That’s what causes the brown spots where your dog urinates. Male dogs are less of a problem than females because when a male lifts its leg the urine is sprayed, but when a female sits the urine goes all in one place.

Here’s what you can do to keep dog urine from damaging your lawn:

• Saturate the spot with water within nine hours. The water will dilute the nitrogen.
• Try putting fresh sawdust on the urine spots. The sawdust may absorb some of the nitrogen if you get it on there quickly.
• Replace the brown areas with fresh plugs or sprigs. Dig up the turf, including the roots. Then add some good loam or topsoil if you need to raise the soil level. If you edge your garden beds you may have some pieces of sod you can pop right into the open spaces. You can also seed the damaged area.
• If you are planting a new lawn or replacing a damaged spot use a more urine resistant grass. Perennial ryegrass and fescues are among the most urinate resistant turf grasses, while Kentucky bluegrass and bermudagrass are the least resistant to urine.
• Wait for the lawn to repair itself. Because they spread vigorously by rhizomes and/or stolons, warm season grasses will repair themselves over time.

Like with most problems, the best solution to the toileting problem is prevention. Ideally your dog will “do its business” during daily walks. Of course you still have to pick it up unless you walk them in a truly wild place. If that’s not a possibility or doesn’t work all the time, the next best solution is to set up a bathroom area dedicated to that one purpose. You’ll need to be consistent in showing your pets where you want them to go until they understand. Most dogs are fairly accommodating; they just need to know what you want and get rewards for doing it.


Lots of puppies dig holes in the lawn and many adult dogs do the same. If they are digging to reach a special spot you can put down stones or a barrier to keep them out. But if they are digging here and there around the lawn, it’s a training issue. Some folks say to give them a dedicated area where they are allowed to dig. But it’s best to consult your favorite dog trainer for advice.

If you don’t mind a lawn that shows the wear and tear of family life, you may simply want to accept what your dog does. Of course, for your own sake you still need to pick up the piles your dog leaves behind!