Depending on the specific way your dog is destroying your grass when your back is turned, there are several measures you could take:
- Provide some shade: it’s normal for pooches to dig holes in the lawn on especially hot days as a way of cooling down: the damp, cool soil helps them seek relief, but it isn’t enough, so if you’re going to encourage your pooch to hang out in the yard with you, make sure they have somewhere shady to lie down when things get too hot.
- Offer alternative activities: if your dog is acting out by digging your lawn, it’s possible they’re bored and looking for attention from you, or just seeking something to play with or take out any pent-up energy on. Even if you’re outside too, make sure they have something to play with, like a chew toy, a ball or a frisbee, as this will work as a quick distraction should they get the urge to start digging.
- Check you’re walking them for long enough: a dog who hasn’t expended all of their energy for the day is far more likely to act out or take out their boredom on your lawn. Find out how long your breed of canine companion ought to be walked for, making sure to specifically search for their age group too. You don’t want to end up overwalking them accidentally, as you could end up with a worse problem, like an expensive vet bill!
- Make sure all escape routes are blocked: should an inquisitive pup spot a point of entry into a neighbour’s yard or find another means of escape via a hole somewhere, they might dig at your lawn in an attempt to make a break for it. That’s why it’s important to cover up any possible exits with rocks, chicken wire or anything else you have available to you - just make sure it’s nothing your dog can hurt themselves on!
- Consider using a “dog run”: if you’ve got a dog who is particularly determined to destroy your grass, and otherwise misbehaves when outdoors, you might want to consider creating a structure that allows them to only access a certain part of the outdoor space - until they learn to behave, of course, and not forever!
- Pick up their poop regularly: this is particularly important with artificial turf: the longer you leave dog mess there to sit, the more chance there is of the blades discoloring. Plus, the poop itself ends up drying out and becoming incredibly difficult to move!
How do you stop dog pee from burning the grass?
If it’s not possible for you to train your dog not to pee on your lawn for some reason, then there are actions you can take to ensure it stays healthy and green. Your dog’s urine is changing the color of your grass, or “burning” it, because of the nitrogen it contains, and not because it is acidic.
Dogs are territorial, so once they pick a spot to pee, it’s probable that they will continue to go there over and over again, which is what creates that discoloration you’re experiencing.
However, the grass around your dog’s pee will likely get shinier and brighter because of such nutrients as nitrogen, so it’s technically a good thing on that front.
However, to prevent the bright patch from forming at all, you could immediately flush the pee away using a hose or a watering can once they’ve finished. Hopefully, the water will dilute the urine considerably and prevent any browning.
When your grass is especially damaged by the urine, it’s possible they aren’t getting enough to drink: make sure their water bowl is always topped up, and if you notice they aren’t drinking enough water, consult your vet for advice on how to encourage them.
When your dog is properly hydrated, their urine is naturally less nitrogen-rich, thus reducing the irritating side effect that doing their business has on your lawn.
Perhaps the only other alternative is to anticipate their bathroom needs and take them for a walk so they can relieve themselves elsewhere, but of course this is dependent on you having the motivation to do so!
Is dog poop bad for grass?
Yes, very much so! Unlike cow dung, which serves as a natural fertilizer, dog poop is highly acidic: this is a result of their diet consisting mostly of protein, and the reason that your lawn suffers when you wait too long to clean up their messes.
Immediately causing decay as soon as it is left, your furry friend’s waste begins to cause problems for your lawn and any other plants and wildflowers in the area, thanks to the nastiness they harbor.
All of the viruses, bacteria and grossness in their poop is able to make its way to the water table (and eventually, our drinking water!) if it is not taken care of.
Seeping into our pipes via rain and humid weather, local rivers, streams, lakes and other water sources are polluted: as water treatment systems cannot treat dog waste at their centers, not cleaning up after your dog has serious consequences, and not just for you.
Plus, the damage it could do to your lawn and the surrounding ecosystems isn’t the only reason you should be clearing up their waste as soon as you can. Have you considered that it is possibly carrying a tonne of dirt and disease?
Scientific studies have shown that just a single gram of dog poop could be harboring over twenty million coliform bacteria: these are known to cause serious illness in humans and can be particularly harmful to babies and young children, but equally as nasty for adults.
Considering dogs can’t exactly wash their paws after they go to the bathroom or touch something dirty (unless you do it for them, but even still!) they are potentially putting you in contact with such nasties as hookworms, coccidia, parvo, whipworms, giardia, trichinosis and roundworms, amongst other bugs.