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How to repair grass damaged by dog urine

How To Repair Grass Damaged By Dog Urine ~   Step-by-step photo tutorial showing how to easily revive and restore grass that has been damaged by dog urine.

This post is dedicated to Brittany. The epilogue at the end explains why.

The Situation

We are all familiar with unsightly dry patches of dead grass thanks to dog urine. You don’t even have to be a dog owner and these patches may end up on your green grass thanks to dogs stopping by to lift their leg and pee wherever and whenever the need arises.

The Problem

Our wonderful male Yellow Labrador Retriever named Duke left many of these dry patches of dead grass every year in the front and backyard.

The Solution

Over the years I researched and tried different ways to avoid this but came to realize it isn’t something I can totally prevent so I accepted that every year I would have to repair the damaged grass patches.

I am fortunate to have a close friend who has taught horticulture and she is my ‘go-to’ person whenever I have a gardening question.

Here Is How To Repair Grass Damaged By Dog Urine…

This is a picture I took in the spring of the dry patch left by Duke in the front yard after our long winter. Usually Duke likes to spread his ‘business’ around the yard and created a collection of small patches. But this patch was about 7 feet by 8 feet. I’ll explain later in this post why it became so big.

The first thing I did was rake up as much of the dead grass as possible. Then I sprinkled limestone over the area. This product neutralizes the soil creating balance from too much nitrogen in the soil that came from Duke’s urine.

The nitrogen acts as a fertilizer and too much of it causes the burning of the grass. I prefer the powdered type so I bought this at a gardening supply store that golf courses and professional landscapers get their supplies from. This bag was only about $8.00. I watered the area and left it for about a week.

Immediately after, I sprinkled grass seed over the topsoil. I just used my hands to do this and then watered the area with a gentle spray of water again.

A couple of weeks later I decided to reseed the area because things seemed to be growing quite slowly. This time with the recommendation of my horticulture buddy I also topped the area lightly with peat moss. This product kept the area moist so the grass seed could do its thing.

This method totally worked because here is the after picture taken about two months after the initial treatment and grass seed planting. You can’t even tell anymore that the area had been damaged by Duke’s urine!

By the way, we had the same type of damage in the backyard and it is also totally green!


About eleven years ago we had just put down our family dog which as you know is a very difficult thing to do. After that we had decided to never get another dog. Our youngest daughter, Brittany was particularly adamant about this having loved this dog so much.

Six months later my husband came home saying that one of his staff members was relocating abroad and was looking for just the right home for her eighteen month old Yellow Labrador Retriever named Duke. Apparently, she had placed an advertisement in the newspaper and had received forty phone calls of interest. Out of these forty phone calls she interviewed sixteen people.

Not only did she interview the potential new owners but also watched how her beloved Duke behaved and reacted to everyone. His reactions ranged from disinterested to showing fear with his hair standing up and growling. The police were also interested in Duke to be trained as a drug dog.

The time was drawing near for Duke’s owner to have to leave the country and she was starting to panic about finding just the right new family and home for him. She had heard that we had put our dog down and wondered if we would be interested in taking a look at him. It’s funny how time does heal and attitudes shift with that healing.

My husband and I thought we would come over to check him out and we had invited Brittany to come along. She was still quite firm about never getting another pet but in the end she reluctantly decided to tag along and see what he was like because she had nothing else to do.

What happened when we arrived was absolutely remarkable. All three of us got out of the car and Duke came running out of the house aiming directly for Brittany.

As she arrived at the front door Duke ‘pinned’ her against the wall with his front paws wrapped around her neck giving her a huge lick on the face. We entered the house and met in the living room where we had our interview with the owner.

During this conversation Duke stuck to Brittany sitting beside her and on her. He jumped off and ran and got his toys to show her. He ran around the house just absolutely giddy with excitement and silliness.

It was love at first sight for both. Within a few minutes Brittany had now shifted her attitude from never wanting another dog to ‘I so want to have Duke’. It was pretty clear that Duke had the same feelings about Brittany.

Duke’s owner said she had never seen him behave like this with anyone else and she now had the confidence that she had found his new family thanks to Brittany. There were a few things that needed to be taken care of before the decision became final.

The police were still very interested in seeing if Duke had the potential to be a good drug dog and plans had been made for Duke to spend the weekend with a police dog trainer.

As it turned out the police did want him but the concern for his owner was where would he go after his career as a police dog ended when he got too old.

The next deciding factor was how would Duke like it in our home? It was planned that he would have a sleepover the following weekend at our house. After this time together there was no question that he was going to be a wonderful addition to our family and he in turn had found his new home.

Duke ended up being our family pet for the next ten years. We watched him grow from his silly puppy days to a more settled middle aged and elderly dog. He kept me very fit because in his younger years we would go running together for an hour at a time but as he got older those times got shorter till he was only able to take a short stroll around the block.

Each family member had a different role and relationship with this very special dog. I was the caregiver taking care of his basic needs as in feeding, walking and poop scooper. My husband was the hugger and massager giving him his daily back, hip and tummy rubs.

When our daughters were young they were both sisters and best friends who often played together. Duke was always part of their playtime whether it was indoors, outdoors in the backyard or summers spent at the lake. Duke and the girls were also sleeping buddies.

He alternated his time between the two of them either sleeping on the floor beside them or on their beds when he knew I wasn’t looking. I called him ‘Velcro’ because he never wanted to be alone. He always had to be near someone in the family.

This past Christmas he had an injury to his spine making it difficult for him to get up, walk as well as go up and down the stairs.

The vet put him on medication and said that he couldn’t walk too much for about six weeks. When he had to relieve himself we let him out the front door where he did his business and came in right away. Hence the huge burned patch of grass that I needed to repair.

His health improved considerably but it was not a full recovery. As summer was approaching I could tell he was aging and I knew his time was coming. I had three guidelines that I was watching for including not eating or drinking, not being able to get up and having difficulties with ‘going to the bathroom’.

In early June of this year all three guidelines seemed to happen at the same time. One day he just stopped eating and drinking, I had to help him get up and carry him up and down the stairs and he was having real difficulties holding himself up to urinate and pass his stool. So I made the difficult but right decision to take him to the vet and have him put down.

We said goodbye to our much loved Duke when he was twelve and a half years old. He had a wonderful full life but more importantly, he added to our life by being such a wonderful family pet.

I will always thank Brittany for deciding to come along at the last minute so many years ago as a young child.

Many dog owners choose their pet but in this instance it was Duke that chose Brittany with that immediate instant connection and love. As a result, we were blessed with many years of having the privilege of owning a very special family dog.

What methods do you use to repair grass damaged by dog urine?

I’ll finish by saying that I’m not a horticulturist expert.

I’ve just learned by trial and error over the years and wanted to share with you what turned out to be the most successful method for me. Here is an image to use for pinning for future reference and for sharing.

Thank  you so much for allowing me to share my How To Repair Grass Damaged By Dog Urine tips and my story about a very special family pet!

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