How to Prevent Urine Spots On Lawns

Dog urine can cause brown spots on your lawn.
dogs too marry image by Grigoriev Vitalii from

Dogs and cats are carnivores that eat a diet containing high amounts of protein, which breaks down into nitrogen and is excreted in the animals' urine. When your dog or cat urinates on your lawn, the high amounts of nitrogen contained in the urine kills the roots, creating ugly spots of burned grass. These spots look unsightly and can garner the complaints of your neighbors. To prevent these spots from forming, take steps to keep your pets and other neighborhood animals off of your lawn or dilute the urine.

Step 1

Fence your yard to prevent neighborhood dogs and cats from urinating on your lawn. Speak to your neighbors about letting their dogs or cats urinate on your lawn if this is a problem.

Step 2

Dedicate an area in your yard for your dog to urinate. Cover this area with mulch, gravel, sand or soil. When you take your dog outside to eliminate, do so on a leash and walk him over to this area each time. Control him with the leash to prevent him from walking over to the lawn and urinating.

Place a tall marking post in the middle of the area, such as a birdbath or boulder to attract your dog to the area.

Step 3

Water your lawn daily with a hose or sprinklers to dilute the nitrogen in your dog's urine or the urine of any neighborhood pets. Ideally, water the spot a dog has urinated on within 12 hours, during the evening hours, to prevent lawn spots, according to the Texas A & M University Department of Horticultural Sciences. Watering in full sunlight is less effective due to evaporation of the water.

Step 4

Fertilize your lawn with a product that contains no or low amounts of nitrogen. High-nitrogen fertilizers increase spotting if a dog or cat urinates on the lawn.

Step 5

Set up a bathroom area for your dog inside your home if you can't create an outside area. Use puppy pads or a doggie litter box, usually covered in artificial grass, to allow your dog to urinate on a surface other than your lawn.

Keep cats indoors and set up litter boxes, filled with clay, corn, crystal or pine-based litter, to urinate in.

Step 6

Provide your dog or cat with a pet fountain to tempt him to drink more water, which helps to dilute his urine. These fountains also circulate the water to keep it fresh.

In addition, add chicken broth to your dog's food to increase his fluid intake.


  • Consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog any supplements to help absorb nitrogen in the urine to prevent lawn spotting, especially if your dog suffers from a chronic condition such as kidney disease.


  • Hardy grasses such as rye, some clovers or fescue resist urine spotting better than other varieties of grass, including bluegrass or Bermuda grass.

  • Attract your dog to his dedicated potty area or litter box by placing some of his urine in the area. Some products also contain synthetic pheromones, similar to those found in urine, that you can spray over the area to encourage the dog to urinate there.

  • Some supplements for dogs can reduce the amount of nitrogen in the urine, preventing brown spots from forming.

  • Feed your dog a diet that contains highly digestible proteins such as eggs and whole meats to reduce the amount of nitrogen in the urine.

Items You Will Need

  • Fence
  • Mulch, gravel, sand or soil
  • Birdbath or boulder
  • Leash
  • Water hose or sprinklers
  • Low-nitrogen fertilizer
  • Puppy pads
  • Dog or cat litter box
  • Cat litter
  • Pet fountain
  • Chicken broth


About the Author

Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.

Photo Credits

  • dogs too marry image by Grigoriev Vitalii from