Dear Dr. Thompson: We adopted a black lab from our local humane society in April. When we brought him home we noticed that wherever he peed the grass completely died in a circle. Our veterinarian did not have any guaranteed remedies. We switched to a higher quality food, which has given our dog a beautiful coat, but doesn't help with the dead grass spots. We now take our dog out to pee and water the spot with a watering can. We won't fence the yard until we can let him out on his own and not have the whole yard die one circle at a time.
This is a question I am frequently asked and unfortunately I do not have a miraculous cure for your problem. The urine contains high levels of a chemical called urea, basically nitrogen, which is also the main component of fertilizer. When your dog urinates on the lawn he is pouring concentrated fertilizer on a small spot, which kills the lawn. Usually female dogs are tougher on lawns since they squat closer to the grass. There are products on the market that claim to prevent this, but without changing the chemical content of urine they are doomed to fail.
Your solution is as good as any by diluting the urine once it hits the grass. You can also train your dog to go in one area of the yard that does not have lawn or can't be seen. Fencing the yard may help too since he might mark the perimeter of the property along the fence line. Good luck and the silver lining is the dead spots come back quickly.
Happy holidays for all
With the holidays approaching, please remember a few things to keep your pets safe and healthy. While you may want to share some of your Thanksgiving meal with your dog or cat, people food can lead to serious digestive upset. The bones in many holiday feasts can be a choking hazard or result in cracked teeth, so make sure the trash is secure. The smells can be too tempting for even the best-behaved pet. We always have a few dogs each year poisoned by getting into holiday candy, so keep the dish up at a safe distance.
Decorations can also be dangerous. Tinsel is troublesome for pets when ingested and can result in surgery to relieve an intestinal obstruction we see frequently. Be sure to secure your Christmas tree and keep ornaments above tail level if you have a prodigious wagger. The water for the tree can make pets sick as well so be sure to keep it covered. Light cords may be tempting for young pets to chew on and fatal electrocution or a fire could be the outcome so keep them covered. A little bit of planning will help keep everyone safe and happy this holiday season.
Questions for Dr. Gary Thompson can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to The Blade, Attn. Ask the Vet, 541 North Superior St., Toledo, OH 43660. Dr. Thompson regrets that he cannot answer individual letters.