This is the finale to our three-part series on the most common problems experienced with natural grass yards and how to fix or mediate them. We’ve already touched on what to do if your lawn suffers from too much or too little water or too much or too little light. Now, we will tackle one issue that may be nearer and dearer to many San Antonio readers’ hearts: their pets.
Common Issue #3 – Pet Lawn Problems
Pets often become a member of the family – but no matter how well you train your outdoor pet, they remain animals, with animal habits. Two of the habits our pets have that prove the most damaging to natural grass include:
• Frequently urinating in the same spot in the yard
• Digging holes in the lawn
Dealing with Urine Stains in the Lawn
Pets typically choose to relieve themselves in the same area time and time again because it is a way for them to mark their territory. Unfortunately, pet urine tends to contain a high percentage of nitrogen due to the level of protein they consume in their diets. When these animals urinate in the same spot over and over again, it produces an effect called urine burn which results in a brown or yellowed area of natural grass bordered by a very green ring marking where the substance was diluted enough to function as a fertilizer.
Solutions for Pet Urine Stains in Lawn
The most noninvasive way to resolve this issue is to hose down the area of your lawn where your pets relieve themselves immediately after they do so. However, over time this will likely become frustrating and could possibly result in some of the issues we saw in lawn over-irrigation.
Instead, we recommend either:
• Replacing part or parts of your lawn with artificial grass or mulch and training your pet to use this area as their bathroom
• Replacing your yard with artificial grass to prevent discoloration
Dealing with Your Dog Digging Holes in the Backyard
If you have an issue with your pet digging up the lawn you worked so hard on, there are a couple of solutions to save your natural grass that will depend upon the root cause of your pet’s behavior.
Reasons Why Your Dog Digs Holes
Pets dig up lawns for a couple of different reasons:
• In pursuit of prey
• Comfort and protection
Solutions for Dogs Digging Holes in the Backyard
Punishment will not alleviate these root causes of digging behavior and is therefore not likely to stop it. However here are some solutions that may alleviate the behavior.
• Your dog digs to hunt: If your pet digs to hunt, you may want to consider getting rid of burrowing pests using methods that do not negatively affect your yard or pet.
• Your dog digs to entertain: If your pet digs to entertain itself or for attention, you can try making their environment more entertaining or playing with the animal more often.
• Your dog digs for comfort and protection: If your pet digs for comfort or protection, you may want to bring your pet inside more often or make sure that it has access to a comfortable outdoor shelter at all times.
• Your dog digs to escape: If your pet digs to escape the backyard, try lining your fence with rocks. This can create a barrier for your pet.
While each of the above modifications may resolve a particular sort of digging behavior, the most broadly successful resolutions are to either install artificial turf to prevent holes in your yard or to create a designated digging area and sandbox for your pet to enjoy. A qualified lawn expert should be able help you decide which option is right for you, your pet, and your lawn in the long term.