WSU Extension

Hortsense

Lawn and Turf : Dog injury
(revision date: 3/12/2014)


Biology
Dog injury typically appears on lawns as brown, circular patches a few inches in diameter. These patches may be surrounded in a few days by a ring of darker green, more vigorous grass, resulting from the nitrogen in the urine. Samples of the dead grass placed in a plastic bag will release ammonia, which can be detected by smell. Animal urine does more damage on dry soils, where the salts cannot be easily dispersed. Urine damage can be mistaken for symptoms of several patch-type diseases. Other chemical injury such as fertilizer spills or salt spills can cause similar symptoms, but do not release an odor of ammonia.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Water spots heavily to help dilute the concentration of urea in the dog's urine. Female dogs are usually more damaging.
  • Overseed damaged spots with a grass seed mix similar to the lawn composition to fill in spots and prevent weed invasion.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

None recommended

Images
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Caption: Dog damage
Photo by: R.S. Byther
Caption: Dog damage
Photo by: C.R. Foss