Summertime brings sunshine, beautiful flowers, and for all of us dog lovers, green lawns with regrettably, yellow and brown spots. How does this happen, and what can we do about it?
There are a host of products on the market used as additives or supplements to add to your dog’s food that claim to magically change your dog’s urine so it will not burn the grass. Unfortunately, this is impossible. It is not the pH or acidity of urine that kills the grass. Plus, you can’t change pH with diet effectively even if it was the cause – but it is NOT the cause).
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Why does urine cause the grass to die? It is important to understand exactly what it is in dog urine. It contains some minerals and proteins, but it consists of urea (ammonia) and sodium (salt). Both ammonia and salt kill grass and any vegetation. There is NO way to remove these from your dog’s urine, at least not without killing your dog. The fact is, urine burns grass, whether from dogs, cats, people or any mammal. The only solution is to water the areas where you dogs eliminate daily. And even at that, there may still be some damage. Using small sprinklers or just hosing it down for several minutes is the most effective deterrent for lawn damage.
Another important topic is weed killers. NEVER use these on your lawn when you have dogs or cats. Most weed killers use chemicals that literally grow the plant to death, and many of these can cause lymphoma in dogs.
“A six-year study from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine linked lawn pesticides to canine malignant lymphoma (CML). Based on questionnaire results from dog owners, the study found ‘specifically, the use of professionally applied pesticides was associated with a significant 70% higher risk of CML. Risk was also higher in those reporting use of self-applied insect growth regulators.’”
Another study found that weed killers that use 2-4-D herbicides are linked to bladder cancer in some breeds:
“A 2013 study concluded 2,4-D herbicides and other lawn chemicals make the risk of canine bladder cancer ‘significantly higher’. Certain breeds, including Beagles, Scottish Terriers, Shetland Sheepdogs, West Highland White Terriers, and Wire Hair Fox Terriers are more susceptible due to a genetic predisposition to bladder cancer.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3267855/
Exposure to the chemicals can come from ingestion, inhalation, or contact with skin, and the amount of time needed to restrict pets from a sprayed area has not been determined.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23584031
So remember, keep your lawns watered, and please DO NOT use weed killers anywhere where you dogs can come in contact with them, either by breathing the fumes or walking where it has been applied. Sad news for those who love a lush lawn of San Augustine or Kentucky Blue grass, I know, but your pet will live longer and healthier!
And please, for those pesky brown spots on the lawn, don’t spend your time and money giving your dog a supplement to change their urine. It won’t work! Water, water and water the areas daily!