Grass, the natural prey of the miniature poodle.
August 1, 2010 2:20 PM   Subscribe

We had a new grass lawn put in at the start of the year. Before long, it had developed yellow spots: pic 1, pic 2. A suspect has been brought in for questioning. She did not confess, only licking the detective on advise of counsel. Two questions: 1) Is she likely the real culprit? 2) What remedies are available? If it is her, I'd like to note that the whole point of the lawn was so that she could do her business out there. We'll get her a potty pad and encourage her not to go on the grass, but I'm doubtful that she'll always go where we want.

Bonus question: Dogs pee freaking everywhere. If dog pee kills grass, how is there grass in the world?
posted by jewzilla to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do you use nitrogen-based fertilizer? Some nitrogen is OK, even good, for grass, but lots (like if the dog always pees in the same spot, or if you also add nitrogen) will kill the grass. Since your dog is female, she doesn't spray her urine everywhere like a boy dog would, so there's likely concentration in spots. Try figuring out where she's tending to pee and focus on watering these spots.
posted by emilyd22222 at 2:25 PM on August 1, 2010

You might want to take her to the vet, because she could have a bladder infection that has raised the pH of her urine, which then burns the grass. Just a thought.
posted by bolognius maximus at 2:34 PM on August 1, 2010

I'm no lawn expert, but my first thought when I looked at the pictures was that it could be grubs. Seems more likely than dog urine, anyway.
posted by kaudio at 2:36 PM on August 1, 2010

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but we were able to train our then-seven-year-old dog to pee along the mulched areas next to the fence rather than on the grass. Still working on the pooping part though.

The most damaging pee is the first one of the morning, IIRC. If you can follow her out and give her lots of praise when she goes in the right place, and move her along if she tries to stop on the lawn, she should figure it out pretty quickly. If you see her pee in a particular spot on the lawn, the sooner you can dilute it with a blast from the garden hose, the less the lawn will burn.
posted by ambrosia at 2:40 PM on August 1, 2010

My brother-in-law was having this problem and got some magic stuff that he mixed with the dog's water. It seemed to work pretty well.

I don't remember what the stuff was called, but I think he got it at the local big chain pet supply store.
posted by TooFewShoes at 3:17 PM on August 1, 2010

It does look like grub damage. The way to find out is to pull up some of the damaged areas. If you see grubs, your suspect can be released without prejudice. If you don't see grubs, your suspect is in for it, because those spots also look like the damage my neighbor dealt with before he found some stuff for the dog's water (just like TooFewShoes said).
posted by cooker girl at 3:32 PM on August 1, 2010

Yes, it's the dog. The prime suspect is guilty as sin.

Happened to my lawn too. Unlike dogs, who pee against the side of a building (or whatever), bitches will squat and create delightful urine burn patterns on your nice lawn. I tried immediately diluting the area my little Suzie peed on every time. That mitigates the problem, but there's always instances when you don't see her pee, or you forget.

You can try clearing the dead grass areas and planting new grass seed (didn't work for me). The product TooFewShoes is referring to is Dog Rocks. I am unwilling to add some strange thing to my dog's water supply though. I don't care how safe it's reputed to be.

If you search through the AskMefi archives, there are a few other questions on this topic.

I am strongly considering installing some artificial grass. This goes against my love of the natural world, but I'm damned if I'm going to replace my lawn twice a year, only for my beloved little dog to destroy it within the space of a couple of months.
posted by idiomatika at 4:43 PM on August 1, 2010

Seems likely it's the fuzzy suspect, because of the placement right next to the walkway. It is the concentration of nitrogen that is the problem, not pH (unless your dog has serious medical issues). Try to flush the lawn especially after the first time she goes out in the morning. Cut back on lawn fertilizer. You might find the suggestions at the bottom of this article helpful.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:51 PM on August 1, 2010

Luckily dogs are pretty consistent about where they pee. I had the same problem with my lawn and I simply watered (more like washed) the yellow spots in the morning and evening and they went away.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 7:17 PM on August 1, 2010

Keep a watering can full of water outside. Every time your suspect pees, give the lawn a good water on that spot. That will reduce the problem greatly. And I second idiomatika's reluctance to add stuff to your pet's water for the benefit of your lawn.
posted by Joh at 11:10 PM on August 1, 2010

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