Fairy Ring Facts

Dog Damage in Lawns

Many homeowners have dogs, and one of their most common questions is how can I have a beautiful lawn as well as a dog? If your dog is using your lawn to urinate on, then the simple answer is you cannot. Dog damage to lawns creates circular spots caused by urine burns. Generally it is the female and young males, which cause the greatest damage. This has nothing to do with the fact they are female, or young males, urine is urine. It has more to do with the way in which they urinate. Adult male dogs will urinate on shrubs, or areas around power poles, playground equipment or fence posts. They do this to mark their territory. Females tend to squat while urinating, causing a greater concentration on one area. Because of the high concentration of salt and urea, it causes a circular dead spot. Normally a ring of healthy grass will surround the dead patch. This is caused by nitrogen in the dog’s urine, which acts as a fertilizer.


Having one certain area such as a graveled dog run goes a long way to keeping the majority of your lawn green and healthy. If you are unable to provide such an area, watering immediately after dilutes the urine and may prevent the damage from occurring. This must be done soon after the dog urinates, or this is ineffective.

Areas of grass, which have been damaged by dogs, have a very high concentration of salts, nitrogen, and urea. Generally if you put down seed in these areas, it will not germinate. You must first water the damaged areas to leach out as much of the chemicals as possible. Roughly rake out the dead area, and then add appropriate seed to the damaged area. Top dress with approximately ¼ of an inch of topsoil and keep the seed slightly moist until germination. Do not fertilize these areas until the root structure has a chance to become established. Generally 4-5 cuts are sufficient for this to occur.

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