Dog urine on grass: treatment & prevention


I am a student of agricultural sciences and a real country kid. At home, I love tending my small vegetable garden and spending time out in nature. When not outdoors, I love to write. Beyond gardening and writing, however, I am particularly passionate about wildlife.

Favourite fruit: currants and raspberries
Favourite vegetables: salsify, savoy cabbage and potatoes

Dog owners know all too well the problem of yellow urine stains on the lawn. Here you will find out how to repair the damage on your lawn caused by dog urine.

Dog urinates on lawn
Dog urine on the lawn can cause unsightly stains [Photo: Wendy Townrow/]

For our four-legged companions, the garden lawn can be an ideal toilet. Although this may not sound like much of a problem, dog urine can cause unsightly yellow spots across the lawn. Naturally, those areas most exposed to urine, because they mark the dog’s territory, will be worst affected. Here is what to do if your lawn is suffering from dog urine.

Why does dog urine damage lawns?

In general, a little dog urine will not instantly ruin your lawn. In fact, it may act as a fertiliser. However, urine is salty, and in large quantities removes water from the surrounding grass, drying it out. Add in some sunshine, and your grass will literally burn, as it would if it were over-fertilised.

Furthermore, if dog urine enters the soil, it prevents the grass roots from absorbing water. This causes the grass to die off. You should be able to spot this problem, because yellow and brown spots will show up all over the lawn.

Dried out dog urine spots on grass
The osmotic effect of the salt in dog urine dries out grass [Photo: Dakota Michelon/]

How do you treat dog urine spots?

If your lawn has been damaged by dog urine, it is time to get to work. Remove any dead grass and roots from the affected area as thoroughly as possible. Loosen the soil, and rinse it well with water to flush out any urine residue, before reseeding the whole area.

A combination of Plantura Lawn Repair Mix and Plantura Lawn Feed works perfectly to regrow grass. The repair mix is packed with seeds designed to fill stubborn gaps, and provides quick, reliable grass germination. Meanwhile, the lawn feed will ensure quick and healthy growth. What is more, it is an ideal fertiliser for dog owners, as it is harmless to animals.

Alternatively, reseed the affected areas by hand with standard lawn seed. Normal lawn seeds will take more time to fully germinate, but should do the job. Once you have sown your grass, be sure that the affected area is no longer used for urination, as this will immediately dry out the new grass and prevent its growth.

Lawn Repair Mix, 1.5kg, 10m2 coverage
Lawn Repair Mix, 1.5kg, 10m2 coverage
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  • Repairs patches in the lawn quickly & reliably
  • With fertiliser and lime for a greener & thicker lawn
  • Premium lawn seed mixture with high-quality, certified grass varieties

How do you stop dogs from urinating on the lawn?

The best way to prevent dogs from urinating over a particular area of your lawn is to cordon it off with fencing or large flower pots. However, this can be tricky and ugly. A better option is to use a sprinkler as a deterrent. If your dog (or someone else’s!) moves too close to the affected area, simply turn on the sprinkler and most dogs will move away. What is more, this will water your new grass.

If you want to get really hi-tech, combine your sprinkler system with some motion detectors and you won’t need to lift a finger!

How to prevent dog urine burning your grass

It is always worth taking preventive measures when it comes to dog urine. One method is to water the affected area immediately after the dog has relieved itself. By diluting the urine immediately, your grass will not dry out and any residues in the soil will be washed away. What is more, by reducing the urine’s smell, other dogs will be less interested in marking the area.

Watering dog urine spots with hose
Water can prevent urine stains on the lawn [Photo: Yulia YasPe/]

If you own a front garden, it can be frustrating when other people’s dogs use your lawn as a toilet. To prevent dogs urinating on your grass, choose the right plants. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), for example, is not only beautiful, but very unattractive to dogs, who dislike its strong scent. Dog bane (Plectranthus ornatus), too, is a fantastic dog and cat repellent.

And by adding a thorny hedge, like raspberry (Rubus idaeus), barberry (Berberis vulgaris) or holly (Ilex), between the pavement and your garden, dogs will be less likely to make their way to your prized lawn. Although, be warned: some dogs are so persistent, they will endure some minor scratches, and still jump through your hedge, to relieve themselves.

Strong scented purple dog bane plant
Dog bane plant deters dogs [Photo: M.M. Photo/]

Alternatively, cultivate salt-tolerant plants. They will be undeterred by saline urine. Common reed (Phragmites australis), beach mugwort (Artemisia santonicum), ribwort (Plantago lanceolata) or lyme grass (Leymus arenarius) are all great choices known for their high salt tolerance.