Repairing Dog Damaged Lawn – Fix Urine Spots & Dead Grass

By   | Last Updated :   January 5, 2023 | Filed In :   DIY & How To

As a pet owner, your dogs are part of the family, but despite how much you love them, their urine can damage your lawn regardless of the sex of the dog. Urine damage from dogs is one of the leading causes of yellow spots on lawns leaving dog owners wondering how to revive grass from dog pee. 

So, will grass grow back after dog urine scalded it? The answer is yes, but it will take time. The fastest way to revive a dog damaged lawn is to water the spot thoroughly and reseed it or cover the area in topsoil before reseeding which will help to dilute the nitrogen in dog urine. Topsoil is safe for dogs. 

You may have heard that ketchup is an effective neutraliser for dog urine. Do not put tomato ketchup on your lawn. It will not prevent the grass from dying, in fact, you might make it worse. Don’t feed it to your dog either, you might end up at the vet with a sick canine. 

So why does dog urine kill grass and what can you do to stop it from damaging your lawn? Keep reading to find out. 

repairing dog damaged lawn

Don’t let your four-legged friend ruin your lawn. Image credit: @buzzpuppylove

Why does dog’s wee kill grass?

Dog wee is naturally high in an element called nitrogen. This chemical is an essential part of fertiliser, but when plants are exposed to too much nitrogen, it can do more harm than good. 

Normally, nitrogen will help your lawn to grow lush and beautifully green, but when nitrogen is too concentrated, like in dog urine, it can have the opposite effect. Concentrated nitrogen will burn the grass blades and the roots when it soaks into the soil. In some cases, it can be so bad that the grass actually dies leaving a bare patch of over-fertilised soil behind. No plants will grow on a dog-damaged lawn unless you do something about it or wait for nature to take its course. 

Fortunately, preventing dog urine from burning grass is fairly simple. Keep reading to find out how to prevent urine scalding and repair dog-damaged lawns. 

How to stop dog urine from killing grass naturally in UK

You can be a dog owner and have a beautiful lawn. How? Simply follow these 4 simple steps to prevent dog urine from damaging your lawn.

Step 1: Dilute the area

Before anything else, the easiest way to prevent dog urine from burning and killing your lawn with an overdose of nitrogen is to dilute the area with some water. Simply keep an eye on your dog to see where the doggy bathroom is, get out the hose pipe and thoroughly spray the area your dog peed on to dilute the concentration of nitrogen. If you do this every time, your dog’s urine can actually be good for your lawn and help it to grow lusher. 

dilute dog urine on lawn

Image credit: @ezclean_bioenzyme

Step 2: Sow hardy grass

Being a dog owner means it’s inevitable that your dog will urinate on your lawn. If you’re just starting your lawn, you might want to choose a hardy grass type that can withstand some abuse from your dog’s toilet habits. 

Perennial ryegrass is a great example of a hard-wearing grass. It’s fast-growing, recovers quickly and can withstand general wear and tear better than most. Keep in mind that there’s no such thing as grass that’s 100% resistant to urine damage. Over time, the damage will show if the proper precautions aren’t taken.

If you already have a lawn, you can reseed it with hardy grass to help it recover more quickly. Just remember that birds love grass seeds so you might need to seed more than you think to make up for the loss. 

Step 3: Train your dog

If you have the patience and time, training your dog to use a certain spot in the garden as a toilet is the best prevention method for your lawn. Another plus, you won’t need to search the whole lawn for a landmine or three before letting the kids out to play. 

Some people dedicate a paved area or a spot covered with gravel for their dog to use as a toilet. You can also dedicate a spot just off the lawn for your dog to use and place some artificial turf there to mark the area. Artificial grass is easy to clean by simply spraying it down. 

Training your dog to go in one spot might take some time, but it will definitely benefit you in more ways than one. It’s worth the effort, believe me. 

alternative doggy toilet

Offer an alternative doggy toilet. Image credit: @daily.danae

Step 4: Keep your dog off the lawn

Lastly, you always have the option to keep your dog off your lawn completely. Dedicate a paved area for your dog to use as a potty and fence the lawn so your pooch can never get to it. This way your grass will always be pristine. 

Some people also create indoor potties for their dogs, similar to a cat litter box. With a bit of googling, you’re sure to find a doggy litter box to satisfy their potty needs. Most of these have artificial turf on them to make them more inviting to your pooch. 

How to fix dog urine spots on the lawn

dog damaged lawn

It’s easy to repair a dog damaged lawn.  Image credit: @theplantgallery

Did your dogs already damage your lawn? No worries, there are a few things you can do to prevent further damage and to help the already damaged areas to recover. Let’s take a look:

For a quick fix: 

If you’re looking for a quick fix, the best way to help your lawn recover is to water the area thoroughly and place some sod over it. Voila, instant grass. Keep in mind that the grass might not take if the soil underneath is still too rich in nitrogen. You can add some topsoil to dilute the area and water thoroughly to further dilute it. You also need to make sure to get the same type of grass as your existing lawn to prevent it from looking patchy. 

For those with time:

If you want your lawn to recover properly, you will need to nurture it back to health. Here’s how:

Step 1: Water

Water any patches thoroughly to dilute the nitrogen in the soil. It’s best to do this twice a day for two to three days to make sure the area is sufficiently treated. 

Step 2: Prepare the area for planting

Rake up as much dead grass as possible to prevent further nitrogen from going into the soil due to grass breaking down into fertiliser. Add some extra fine ground limestone to the area in a thin layer, water it to help the limestone absorb and let it sit for a week. 

Step 3: Sow seeds

Place some topsoil over the previously treated areas and sprinkle a thin layer of grass seeds over the whole area. Gently water the area and take care not to wash the seeds away. Keep watering every day for a few weeks unless it rains to help the seeds sprout and grow into a new patch of lawn. 

dog urine spots on lawn

It wasn’t me… Image credit: @zoratheexplorerandhershadow


Will grass grow back after dog urine?

Yes, but it takes time. You’ll either need to reseed the damaged areas or allow the healthy surrounding grass to eventually reclaim the damaged patches. This can take months. 

How can I grow grass where dogs run?

If you’re wondering how to grow grass where dogs run, it’s best to grow hard-wearing grass that can withstand the damage from lots of dog/foot traffic. Make sure to aerate the soil at least once a year, don’t overwater, mow regularly and fertilise as required. Doing all of this will help your lawn to stay healthy despite being trampled regularly. 

Is topsoil safe for dogs?

Topsoil is safe for dogs in small quantities, but if used to fix urine spots, it’s best to close off the area to your dog if you want it to recover faster. This will also prevent the dog from making it worse by urinating there again. 

Does female dog urine kill grass?

Female dog urine is no different to male dog urine and does just as much damage. The urine of both sexes contains a high concentration of nitrogen which is responsible for killing the grass. 

Does tomato ketchup stop dog wee from killing grass?

No, in fact, it might make it worse. Ketchup can be used to neutralise the area but it does not affect the nitrogen content. This means the grass will still die. Ketchup can also be harmful to your dogs if they eat too much of it, so better to be safe than sorry and stay away from ketchup on lawns.

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