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Dogs on Grass
Dogs love grass—eating it, rolling on it, playing on it and, unfortunately, “fertilizing” it too

Dogs love grass—eating it, rolling on it, playing on it and, unfortunately, “fertilizing” it too. Urine can cause a nitrogen overload on most grasses, and females, because their squatting produces a steady, concentrated stream, are more likely to create the brown ring pattern on lawns, which some horticulturists call “female dog spot disease.”

So if you’re planting—or replanting—a lawn, chose your grass type with that in mind. Fescue and perennial ryegrass have been found to be the most urine tolerant, while bluegrass and bermudagrass seem to be the most sensitive.

There are also several species of taller grasses (used in meadow cultivation) which are salt tolerant and fairly urine resistant including Zoysia, Paspalum and Distichlis. A tall meadow is a natural alternative to a traditional lawn. But you could also consider another lawn substitute like white clover or O’Connor’s strawberry clover, both of which are easy to maintain. Another plus: they require less water and, being nitrogen-fixing themselves, require less (if any) fertilization.

This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 59: Apr/May 2010
CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Anonymous | June 14 2010 |

So why do dogs love to eat grass, I know my pup does it all the time. I have heard it because they have upset tummies. Is this true?

Submitted by Jennifer | March 14 2012 |

When my family of three female dogs and I moved to a new town, the cottage we moved into was surrounded with an extensive lawn. Although I tried to keep up with watering down the areas where they urinated, dead patches still developed and began to overlap. It wasn't pretty. Never being a fan of a huge span of green lawn that requires fertilizer, etc.(I prefer gardens), I began digging up areas of white clover from inconspicuous areas on the property to cover the dead patches. I wasn't sure if it would take, but since I had heard it was resistant to urine damage, I wanted to try. Low and behold, it took! And spread! Over the course of a year, what was a high maintenance lawn became a beautiful spanse of clover. I love the flowers,I love that it attracts beneficial bees that don't bother the girls, and best of all, it doesn't die from the urine. It's remained full & green for years now and the soil is much healthier.

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