Whats the topic for today?
Oh great! And what aspect of dogs urine are you going to talk about?
Im going to talk about how it burns yellow patches on the lawn.
Ah yes that is a very annoying problem isn’t it.
Well its certainly a problem that we get lots of questions about. People are always wanting a quick fix to stop the problem.
So is there a quick fix?
There are lots of products on the market which claim to be a quick fix but to be honest I don’t think any of them are very effective.
So what is it in dogs urine that causes the burning?
A lot of people seem to think that it is caused by the urine being too alkaline but the real cause is simply how concentrated the urine is. Concentrated urine has a very high nitrogen level and its that nitrogen that causes the burning.
But isn’t nitrogen a fertilizer?
Yes it is at low concentrations but at high concentrations it kills the grass. Dilute urine would help the grass grow.
So do those supposedly quick fix products attempt to make the urine more dilute?
Not really. Most of them attempt to make the urine more acidic so they are barking up the wrong tree really. One product claims to purify the dogs drinking water by absorbing unwanted minerals. This neither changes the urine pH nor makes it more dilute.
So how can you make the dogs urine more dilute?
You can’t. Not safely anyway. Apart from adding a lot of water to the diet which isn’t that practical really. Some manufacturers make products with a lot of salt in to make the dog drink more but this is not adviseable, particularly if your dog has heart or kidney problems. It can increase blood pressure and other unwanted effects.
So how can people prevent the problem?
There’s only 2 ways really. One is to dilute the urine with lots of water as soon as its been passed. The other method is to train the dog to urinate in a specially prepared gravel patch or rock garden.
Is it possible to train a dog to urinate in one spot?
Yes it is though it is easier to start training when they are still a puppy. Basically you give them a food treat every time they toilet in the correct spot.
Is there anything else people can do?
You can try and minimize the amount of nitrogen in the urine by feeding a top quality dog food.
How does that help?
Nitrogen in urine is the waste product of dietary protein. Cheap dog foods use poor quality protein a lot of which is excreted into the urine. Top quality dog foods use higher quality protein and more of this is retained and used by the body and less is excreted in the urine. It doesn’t stop urine burn but it could help reduce it.
So is there no real way to treat the dog to stop the problem?
Ah now that is an interesting point. The dog doesn’t actually have a problem. There is nothing wrong with it so why should people want to treat the dog! Leave the dog alone! Now the lawn does have a problem so that is what people should treat. And that means hosing down the urine before it burns and reseeding the spot if necessary.
Now that doesn’t sound like a quick fix?
No its not. It’s time consuming and that’s why people don’t want to do it. But there is no quick fix.