When a puppy or adult dog urinates on a lawn, the grass spot often turns yellow and looks burned. Urban legends blame canine hormones, gender or acidic levels for the urine damage, but the true culprit is nitrogen. The yellow spot is caused because the dog’s kidneys remove excess nitrogen from the body and excrete it as a waste product in the urine. The nitrogen concentrations in the urine dehydrate the grass and the grass turns yellow, according to Texas A&M University Extension.
Eliminate yellow urine spots by walking your dog off the lawn. When the dog squats and urinates, the concentrated urine in one place causes visible grass damage. Large dogs urinate more than small dogs, so it is essential to keep your large dog off the open lawn areas.
Choose a designated spot for the dog’s duty such as a shrub area or less visible lawn zone. If space permits, use a fence panel or hedge to conceal a bed of wood chips, bark mulch or pea gravel. Train your dog by walking him to the private area before and after meals, near rocks or other targets for leg-lifters. Like housetraining, it can take a few weeks or months to establish the dog’s routine.
Train both male and female dogs to the designated area. Female dogs tend to squat in one area while male dogs lift a leg to splatter shrubs or trees, but both cause urine damage.
Store a hose or plastic water jug near the lawn. Splash the spot after any dog squats on the grass. Rinsing off the fresh urine dilutes the excess nitrogen and washes it into the soil.
Soak yellow urine spots with water. As soon as you notice the grass yellowing or turning brown, thoroughly water the grass to rehydrate the lawn and remove remaining urine deposits.
Squirt an ounce of liquid dish detergent into a water jug and add water, or spray a mild dilution such as 20 parts water to 1 part dish detergent mixture on the lawn. The detergent helps wash away deposits and the urine odor.
Keep turf healthy and mow at 2 to 3 inches tall, as shorter grass is more directly affected by concentrated dog urine. Yellow spots often self-repair as new grass fills in the yellow spots, but dead patches may require sod replacement.