Between digging and “potty time,” having a dog can spell disaster for your lawn. Urine and even feces can cause burns and dead patches to the point of needing to reseed. Fortunately, there are steps you can take that will allow you to love your lawn as well as your dog.
If your lawn is small, consider a low-maintenance alternative to grass. Crushed stone mulch minimizes lawn damage from digging and urine spots. You can add greenery back to the landscape with an array of potted plants.
If you don't want to give up the lushness of a green lawn, other types of grass may be the answer. Bermuda grass is one of the toughest varieties out there, and can better withstand digging and paw traffic from multiple and/or large dogs. Be sure to adjust your spring lawn care to include a mowing height of one inch for best results.
If you need a cool-weather grass, try tall fescue. Another strategy is switching to a clover lawn. Clover does not succumb to urine stains and makes an attractive green lawn cover interspersed with flowers.
Give your lawn a courtyard feel by enclosing it in fencing. Iron or wooden fencing can create a space where grass and landscaping are off-limits to dogs. Conversely, you can use fencing to create a space free from the grass where your dog is allowed to go.
If you’re worried about certain plants in your garden or landscape suffering canine damage, use wire cages to protect them. When the cages are properly installed, dogs won't be able to dig around the plants or potty to close to their roots.
You can try to train your dog to urinate/defecate in a specific location, but an easier method is to simply take your dog for a walk. What dog doesn’t start bouncing around as soon as you mention going on a W-A-L-K? Take the dog off your property to potty in an abandoned lot or similar area where urine stains won't matter. Take along a "pooper scooper," baggies, and treats to reward your dog when he potties in the correct place. Furthermore, regular walking is beneficial to your health, and you will create a special bond with your dog.
If you just can't part with your old routine, some vigilance can help prevent urine spots. Simply turn the hose on the area and flush it with water to dilute the urine's harmful elements.
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