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How To Pet Proof Your Florida Turfgrass

by Emily Durgan | Tue, Jun 10, 2014

How To Pet Proof Your Florida TurfgrassDog may be a man’s best friend, but dogs are not a friend of Florida turfgrass! If you’re finding small dead spots in your turfgrass, or small rings of greener, taller grass, Fido might be the reason. If you’re finding paths of trodden, worn lawn, again, Fido may be to blame. Grassy areas dug up, with soil exposed? Yep. Fido.

Before we talk about how to get your lawn back to its desired state, let’s talk first about why it’s happening.

Doggie Relief

Just like humans, dogs need a place to relieve their systems. Unless your dog is trained to go in a certain spot, the lawn looks like a mighty good place. But not all dogs are alike. The larger problem for lawncare comes with dogs who are older, female or large. Why? They tend to squat and urinate all in one spot, providing a concentrated stream of nitrogen-rich liquid that can cause yellowed-out burn spots. Smaller amounts of urine act as a fertilizer, with the nitrogen causing the grass to grow greener and taller, often in a ring around the initial deposit.

As for the other dogs (that leaves us with male, smaller and younger), there tends to be a smaller quantity in any given spot, so there’s less grass damage. Male dogs like to mark their territory more, which spreads their urine out over larger areas.

Dog poop isn’t as big an issue, though it is an eyesore! Poop that isn’t quickly removed dries out, releasing its nutrients into the soil more slowly than urine.

How to get your dog to eliminate elsewhere?

How To Pet Proof Your Florida Turfgrass

You have a couple of options to deal with — or even avoid — dog urine on the lawn.

  • If you see a dog peeing on the lawn, hose the area down immediately to dilute the urine.

  • Better yet, train your dog to eliminate in one spot in the yard, preferably one with gravel or otherwise without grass. Or take your dog for a regular walk. It’s good exercise for both of you, and your dog will pee elsewhere.

  • Do you have a fence? That might solve the problem of other neighborhood dogs. Consider putting a several inch border of decorative rocks along the fence, so dogs marking their territory don’t affect the lawn.

  • If you get a lot of dogs marking in your area (or your own dog does it), install something they can use, like a bird bath.

Dog Digging And Dog Paths

How To Pet Proof Your Florida TurfgrassSome dogs, especially puppies and youngsters, like digging holes in the lawn. Older dogs might dig because they have a lot of nervous energy. In hot climates like Florida, dogs also like to dig to reach the cooler soil below.

If Fido is mangling your lawn, better supervision and training may be in order.

Dogs may also wear out a path in the lawn, running in the same area day after day. Of course your grass will take a beating from that. You can either plant more durable grass or you can mulch that area, or add small stones or hardscape.

Repairing Your Lawn

If you’re dealing with dog-pee damage, usually the spots are small areas, several inches around. You can dig up the area and reseed them (which requires initial frequent watering). You can also lay new sod down, cutting a larger piece down to size. The same goes for digging damage.

Consider planting a more durable turf. Professionals at GreenEarth can advise you about the best grass types to plant, depending on the type of pet damage your lawn is getting. We at GreenEarth can also do expert lawn repairs and talk to you about the best ways to combat lawn damage from beloved (or neighborhood) pets.

Big Dog Dilemma? Call In The Professionals

Give us a call at our Panama City Beach office at (850) 236-1959, or call our Santa Rosa Beach office at (850) 267-0010 to set up an appointment. You can also fill out the online form on our website to schedule a consultation.


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Image credits: Running dog, pug, digging dog

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