Is Your Dog Destroying Your Lawn?

Our four-legged friends steal our hearts, but they sure can wreak havoc on a yard and outdoor living space. Yellow patches, holes and damaged flower gardens are common problems dog owners deal with every day. Fortunately, there are solutions that don’t involve keeping your rambunctious pup indoors.

Your Dog’s Restroom

When it comes to fecal and urine waste, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Nitrogen is essential to grass growth and is a major contributor to the chlorophyll and green coloration in plants. However, too much quick-release nitrogen can cause burning of the leaf tissue and plant death. When this happens, the grass loses its green color and becomes yellow. A dog’s waste is naturally high in nitrogen and can oversaturate patches of grass the same way fertilizer might. You’ll find female dogs will most commonly create these problems in your yard because they prefer to stay in one spot  when they urinate. To remedy this, you’ll want to dilute the urine concentration. Watering down the area after the dog has urinated will help wash the nitrogen deeper into the soil, allowing it to pass through the top layer, resulting in less damage to the grass and grass root area.

Digging for Treasure

Dogs dig for a variety of reasons. Some dogs are looking for wildlife, others might be digging with the intent to bury and sometimes dogs are just bored! It’s important to identify why your dog may be digging before addressing the problem. Is your dog getting enough mental and physical stimulation? Try playing with toys or training in the backyard so the animal associates it with a different habit. Some dogs dig to find relief from the sun in the cool dirt. Provide comfort for your dog by setting up a cool, shady area with an un-tippable water bowl. Lastly, if you can’t seem to curtail the behavior, set up a digging spot, similar to that of a sandbox. Some dog breeds were bred to dig and that shouldn’t be a punishable offense.

What’s That Smell?

Sometimes curious pups can’t stay away from the luscious flower gardens we’ve worked so hard to develop. While the admiration is appreciated, it oftentimes ends with a sick pet and a damaged garden. As a first step, it’s important to know what you’re planting and whether it’s toxic to pets. You can find a list here. The next best practice is to set yourself up for success by training your dog. Be consistent in teaching them that the garden is not an area for play. If you’re able, grow your flowers in raised beds or hanging containers. Another option is to create a barrier with fencing. This will all depend on your dog’s size and your budget. Lastly, some good deterrents are strong smells such as coffee grounds or herbs such as rosemary and sage. If all else fails, try a motion activated sprinkler system. 

If you’ve solved your pet predicament but you’re still not satisfied with your lawn or garden, there might be other contributing factors, such as an under or over-application of certain nutrients. SoilKit will be able to help. After you collect soil samples from your lawn or garden, SoilKit analyzes them in a lab and tests for essential plant nutrients. Then you’re provided with customized fertilizer recommendations. To learn more about SoilKit, go to or call 1-877-SOILKIT to speak with an expert.