Is your dogs pee killing your grass? Is your once lush, green backyard spotted with yellow dead spots? We’ve been struggling with this for the last several years in our backyard. I’ve tried re-seeding several times, but fails each year when I can’t keep the dogs off the new grass.

So how are we suppose to have any green grass in our yard? Keep reading for the five easy ways to stop your dog’s urine from destroying your backyard

Brown spots in grass from dog

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Why Your Dogs Pee is Killing the Grass

Learning the why is just as important as learning how to stop your dog from killing your grass. I always thought that it was female dogs that caused the yellow spots, so I was surprised to learn that the gender of your dog doesn’t make a difference.

It’s all about the level of nitrogen in your dog’s urine. Basically, if your dog’s urine is high in nitrogen, then it kills your grass.

Nitrogen happens to be one of the substances excreted when protein is broken down; the more protein your dog eats, the more nitrogen released. And the more nitrogen, the bigger chance your dog is killing your grass. That’s all the science I am going to get into.

We have two dogs, our male dog, Bear, weighs in at a whopping 90 lbs., and female dog, Ginger, weighing only 60 lbs.

At Bear’s large size, he pees a lot in one place! I know it’s gross, but it’s true. And, I know Bear is the one causing the spots in our backyard because each dog has their favorite spots to pee. And his spots are the ones turning the grass brown.

Both our dog’s diet is the same and high in protein.

I was surprised when I realized it’s not our female causing our brown spots. In our case, it’s truly about the amount of Bears’ urine in one spot killing the grass.

The misconception that female dogs are more likely to cause the yellow spots is because female dogs usually pee in one spot, versus a male dog lifts his leg and sprays a large area, making the concentration less.

How Do You Stop Dog Pee from Killing Your Grass?

1. Water your lawn.

The easiest and safest way to stop your dog’s pee from killing the grass… is one ingredient… WATER! After your dog pees, saturate the area with water. 

2. Water your dog.

Encourage your dog to drink more water. Just like people, dogs need water. Have you ever noticed, if you go all day without drinking much, your pee is more yellow? Same goes for your dog… more water, less nitrogen concentrated in his pee.

3. Train your dog.

You can also train your dog to pee in a specific area of the yard, such as a rocky gravel area. Our backyard was so small it was hard to train our dogs to have one area. But Bear did start using the rock bed recently, so maybe there is hope!

4. Change your dog’s diet.

Is your dog food too high in protein? Find a high-quality dog food that has the right balance of protein and other nutrients he needs.

5. Add lawn saver supplements.

There are products that you add to your dog’s food on the market that claim to stop your dog from making yellow spots on your lawn. But to me, I don’t want to add anything to my dog’s food just to save my grass! But if you’re interested, you can search find something that is natural. I can’t give any recommendations on this, as I have never used any lawn saver supplements.

6. BONUS idea!

Creating an area of artificial grass could be a huge lawn saver. If you can train your dog to go pee only on the artificial grass, then you never have to worry about your grass again. What size DoggieLawn is right for you?

Fixing Your Lawn After the Damage is Already Done.

Here is a new lawn care product that looks interesting; it’s called See Spot Run Lawn Protectant. You spray it on your lawn to revive and protect your lawn and it’s supposed to be all natural and safe for your dog.

Repairing the spots with seed can be difficult unless you can keep your dogs off that area for the entire season. I’ve tried reseeding for 3 springs and it never held up. Last spring we cut out a huge area of our backyard and placed sod we pulled from our front yard when creating a garden space. It’s held up pretty well, but Bear has slowly been creating brown spots all in his favorite pee spots. I need to get out there and start watering his pee spots more. ☺

Update June 2020: I found a lot of great reviews for the Scotts EZ Seed Dog Spot Repair. Scotts claims it is a salt neutralizer formula that minimizes the effects of salts from dog urine and helps repair up to 100 dog spots in your lawn! 

P.S. Tell me, what does your backyard look like? Have you tried any of these suggestions or products? I’d love for you to share with our Rescue Dogs 101 community so we can all learn from each other.

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About the Author


Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, three dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society.

  1. I have several spots where I’ve planted Karl Foerster grass.
    I’ve noticed some older plants are bare in the middle,
    with the grasses growing around like a ring. My initial thought was perhaps an animal was using the
    center as a shelter and its just beat down. Another thought was that I wasn’t trimming enough
    in the spring and the older growth (3-6 in.) stalks which are almost like reeds have crowded the new growth.

    Any thoughts?

  2. I’ve had both male and female Rottweilers. Over the past 33 years I’ve had eight of them. Someone told me to use gypsum. You can pick it up at Home Depot etc. I have a huge yard so I put down approximately 30,000 ft.². One Passover is 15,000 ft.². I will water in the first 15,000 ft. Three days later I will put the other 15,000 feet down and water that in. I do this twice a year. And I do not have burn spots. The gypsum neutralizes the acid etc. in the urine. Are use the pelletized gypsum. If they have an area that they usually go in. Put down a little extra.

  3. Just the article I was looking for! We have just adopted a dog and started wondering why there are suddenly brown spots in the yard hahaha Thank you for sharing this.

  4. Thanks for the article I have the problem no it comes from the dogs didn’t know exactly the science behind it now I do thank you I’m gonna try something to add onto the lawn that safe for the dogs because I water it constantly but with four dogs it’s difficult to keep up with it

  5. you mentioned that food may be to high in protein, hence urine killing grass. What is normal amount protein?

  6. I’ve used the Grass Saved bites and they don’t work. It’s a waste of money. I buy Blue grain free dog food and wondering if a different brand would help the situation.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience Tammy. A different food may have an effect. It’s worth a try! Remember, the higher the protein level in the dogs urine is what causes the yellowness. But protein is good for your dog, so you need to find the right balance.

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