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What is Lawn Burn?

Lawn burn is a common problem that results when your dog's urine burns the grass in your yard. If you have ever had to deal with this problem, you know how frustrating it is and how difficult it can be to prevent. There are many home remedies to correct this problem, but most of them are ineffective and a few of them actually make the situation worse. This article describes the cause and contributing factors of lawn burn and gives recommendations for preventing this problem in your own yard. Identify Lawn Burn Before you start implementing changes to correct lawn burn, you need to make sure that your dog is actually the culprit. Several lawn diseases will look like lawn burn, with the small, characteristic yellow or brown patches. First, make sure that the yellow spots are in areas where your dog urinates. Most dogs will choose one area of the lawn to use as the 'bathroom.' Secondly, make sure that the grass in the yellow spots is still firmly attached. Grab a handful and give it a steady pull. If the grass is firmly rooted, then it points to lawn burn. If the whole bunch of grass pulls up, roots and all, then you may be dealing with a grub problem. And thirdly, make sure that your dog, not your neighbor's, is the problem. If your neighbor's dog is coming into your yard and creating the problem, then you'll need to convince your neighbor to take of that matter as well! The Cause of Lawn Burn The nitrogen in dog urine causes lawn burn. Because dog urine is very high in nitrogen, when a dog urinates, it is similar to pouring liquid fertilizer on the lawn. A little fertilizer is good for the grass, but an excess causes nitrogen burn. The prevention of lawn burn deals with trying to reduce the amount of nitrogen coming into contact with the grass. Supplements such as G-Whiz Neutralizer and G-Whiz Anti Lawn Burning Treats help neutralize ammonia inside the digestive tract. Soil Treatments such as Dogonit help the lawn heal faster to eliminate yellow spots. Contributing Factors There are several contributing factors that increase the likelihood of developing lawn burn.* Female dogs are more likely to cause lawn burn than males because they void their entire bladder in one location instead of lifting their leg and marking, like males. * Large dogs deposit more urine so they increase the quantity of nitrogen in one location, making lawn burn more likely. * Dogs fed a high protein diet are more likely to produce a concentrated urine that causes lawn burn. * Heavily fertilized yards are already receiving near maximum levels of nitrogen. The small amount of nitrogen in dog urine may be all that is needed to put these lawns over the edge and cause lawn burn. * Lawns that are stressed are more susceptible to damage. Lawns that are suffering from drought, disease, or are newly sodded or seeded are more susceptible to lawn burn. Solving the Problem Successfully treating and preventing lawn burn often requires a multi-step approach. * Best solution is to saturate the urinated spots with water. After the pet urinates, pour several cupfuls of water on the spot to dilute the urine. If this is not possible, spray Dogonit on the spot once it starts yellowing and flush with water to accelerate the healing. * Feed a high quality dog food that does not exceed the pet's protein requirement. High quality foods have more digestible protein sources that are more completely utilized by the pet and create less nitrogenous waste in the urine. * Encouraging your dog to drink more, will help dilute the urine and decrease the risk of lawn burn. Small amounts of non-salted broth in the drinking water may help increase your dog's water intake. * Train your dog to urinate in a location that is less visible. This approach is very effective for some owners who may not want to add supplements to their dogs' diet. * Replant your yard with more urine-resistant grasses such as perennial rye grasses and fescues. The most sensitive grasses tend to be Kentucky bluegrass and Bermuda. * Feed your dog a supplement like G-Whiz Neutralizer if you prefer a liquid. If the lawn is already burned, apply a product to the lawn such as Dogonit Lawn Treatment. These products bind and neutralize the nitrogen in your pet's urine. * Reduce the stress on your lawn by not over-or under-fertilizing and by providing frequent watering. * If neighbors' dogs are causing the problem, you may advise your neighbors of the leash laws. Using a fence or motion-activated sprinkler may be helpful in keeping these dogs off of your lawn. Yellow spots created by lawn burn are not a medical threat to your dog, however, they can be unsightly and potentially expensive to repair. By understanding the cause of these spots, and then making a few changes, you should be able to give your dog full range of the yard and still enjoy a trouble-free lawn.

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