May 18, 2016

Yellow Spots On My Lawn?

Author: Celeste Glassman


What Exactly Causes Yellow Spots?

Many dog owners have experienced the seemingly inevitable brown or yellow spots on their lawn. These spots often seem to be the result of urine. So, what causes the browning in your pup’s favorite piddle spot, and what can you do about it?

The “acid” from our dogs’ urine may seem like the reason for the yellow spots, but nitrogen is actually the culprit. Our dogs’ urine has a high nitrogen content as a result of their diets. Canine diets typically contain high levels of protein. According to this article in the popular magazine, The Bark, “nitrogen is ‘the waste’ in the urine and is the result of protein breakdown through normal body processes.” If your pooch is using the yard for potty, you will likely always have urine scalding in the grass. If you fertilize, you may already have a high level of nitrogen in your lawn and small amounts of urine may be all that is needed to scald the lawn.

Are there ways to reduce browning? Sure! Watering the area of urination is the most effective approach. Why? Because you are diluting the nitrogen levels before they can scald the grass and result in those yellow spots. Are we really going to follow our pets around the yard with a hose? Probably not. A couple of tips to help manage those inevitable brown spots:

  1. Create a space in your yard specifically for your pup to go potty. Behind the garage, along the side of the house, under a tree, or around their existing go-to spot. Reinforce with treats or play. A potty patch can be created for puppies and potty-trained adult dogs. Old dogs can learn new tricks, too! Mulch, gravel, or artificial turf are great for creating the perfect patch. Keeping a rain barrel close by is also helpful to dilute the urine without having to drag the hose out.
  2. While a quick potty break is convenient, why not break up backyard potty time with a long walk? The less urine in your lawn, the less browning, right?

While there are many different medications and supplements on the market to “stop dog urine from yellowing your lawn”, be sure to discuss ALL side effects with your pet’s veterinarian. Many supplements contain high salt levels which cause your dog to drink more water to hopefully dilute their own urine. Some supplements may alter pH levels which could be dangerous for dogs who have experienced UTI’s, kidney issues, or urinary stones. Again, be sure to discuss options with your veterinarian before giving your dog any over-the-counter medication or supplements.

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of those yellow spots in the lawn. Little changes to your routine can make for happy dogs and a beautiful lawn. Now let’s all get outside and enjoy the weather with our favorite Floofins.

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