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A Beautiful Lawn, Pets and All

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Pets and Lawns
Someone's Having Fun

Sure, you love your pet, but chances are you don't love what it does to your lawn. Having a pet means settling for a scraggly lawn, though. With a few preventative measures and a few coping strategies, your lawn and your dog can exist in harmony.

Having a pet doesn't have to mean dealing with dog urine burns in your lawn or holes throughout your lawn where your dog has done some digging. The following tips can help keep your lawn looking pristine or get it back in shape if you've let it "go to the dogs."
  • Water is Your Friend. If you haven't managed to train your dog to politely take care of business in a tidy corner of the yard, that doesn't mean all is lost. Heavily watering the brown spots that pop up thanks to dog urine burns in your lawn will flush the area and spur the healthy grass around the spots to grow, filling in the dead spot. Watering the entire lawn with frequency can help prevent dog urine from burning your lawn in the first place.
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  • Think Diet. Urine burns are caused by high nitrogen levels in dog urine. You can help your lawn out by modifying your dog's diet to decrease its urine nitrogen levels, meaning fewer spots to deal with. There are also a range of pills and liquids on the market that you can use to supplement your dog's diet and help your lawn and your dog live in harmony. Talk to your vet about your options.
  • Have it Out with the Neighbors. If the havoc wreaked on your lawn is your neighbor's dog's doing, get the unpleasant conversation out of the way at the first sign of a problem. Whatever you do, don't establish the precedent that you don't mind. If the problem is a stray, call animal control. If it's a wandering cat, some deer repellant at the edges of your yard can stop your feline visitor in its tracks.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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