Dog Discoveries

Why Does Dog Urine Kill Grass?

 

It’s Tuesday Trivia, are you ready to test your canine expertise? Today’s question revolves around the fact that dog urine kills grass. If you are a dog owner and own a yard, you may have likely seen the unsightly effects dog urine may have on grass.

The urine may cause the grass to turn yellow, brown and wilt creating a bizarre crop circle problem, but why is that?  There have been some myths surrounding the issue as to why dog urine kills grass, so we have conducted some research on the topic and found some interesting findings.

So today’s question is:

Why Does Dog Urine Kill Grass?

A) Because of the pH level of dog urine

B) Because dog urine contains nitrogen

C) Because dog urine is too acidic

D) Because dog urine is too warm

Answer: if you answered A, consider that this answer sounds quite reasonable considering that there are still several websites claiming that it’s a matter of pH, but we found some reputable resources stating that it’s not true.

According to The University of Wisconsin-Extension Network:  “Dog urine has a pH between 6.0 and 8.0, depending on the dog’s diet and health. It is NOT the pH of the urine that kills the grass.”

If you answered C, that the urine is too acidic, consider again that an acidic pH has little to do with its ability to kill grass. The University of Winsconsin explains that for this reason it’s pointless giving dogs acidifying agents such as tomato juice or vinegar for the purpose of preventing damage to grass.

If you answered D, well, a dog’s urine may be on the warm side, but its temperature is not hot enough to kill grass. So the correct answer is B. Turns out, it’s a matter of nitrogen.

According to Colorado State University, we must blame waste products such as nitrogen-containing compounds and salts contained in dog urine which result in the damage to our lush lawns. For more on why dog pee kills grass and helpful tips to deal with the problem, read Why Do Dogs Kill Grass When They Pee?

References:

  • Allard, AW. Lawn burn and dog urine, Canine Practice, March/April 1981;8;(2);26-32.
  • Colorado State University Extension Horticulture Agent, Larimer County; and Tony Koski,PhD, Extension Turf Specialist, Department of Horticulture & LA, Colorado State University
  • The University of Wisconsin-Extension Network: Lawns and Dogs But Not Tomato Juice, Courtesy of Diana Alfuth, Horticulture Educator, Pierce County UW Extension
  • Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Aggie Horticulture, Dog On It Lawn Problems, by Dr. Steve Thompson, DVM – DirectorPurdue University Veterinary Teaching Hospital Wellness Clinic

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