Q: My grass has yellow burnt spots everywhere my dog urinates. A friend suggested using a grass saving supplement that works by changing the urine pH. What do you think- do you have a favorite product?
A: Grass scalding isn’t due to the pH of urine, but rather the urine’s nitrogen content. If you have ever over-fertilized a plant in your yard, you might recall the yellow color the leaves change to. This is the same effect the nitrogen in your dog’s urine has on grass. The burnt grass spots have a central dead, yellow area where urine is concentrated, while the grass on outer edge flourishes with the fertilizing benefit of your pup’s nitrogen deposit.
So it makes no sense in altering a dog’s urine pH in pursuit of a beautiful lawn. I caution dog owners with use of acidifying grass-sparing supplements because it could stir up trouble with their dog’s health. Pets with liver disease or tendency for certain urinary stones could be harmed by pH lowering supplements.
One solution to tame the effect of urine’s nitrogen is to simply hose down the area immediately after your dog urinates. This dilutes the concentration of nitrogen in the immediate area and spares your pet the health impact of supplements.
Other ways to dilute your dog’s urine without a garden hose include feeding canned food, adding salt to the diet, decreasing the protein level in the food, or changing to a premium quality diet, which typically have less protein wastage and contain higher digestible protein.
I’d skip the urine saving supplements and look at other steps you can take. Before making changes in diet or adding salt, discuss your pet’s individual health needs with your veterinarian.
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