Plant Guide

Dog Urine Damage to Turfgrass



Dog urine can cause considerable damage to all turfgrass species. Damage caused by dog urine may be confused with damage caused by plant pathogens that produce patch-like symptoms. Diagnostic analysis of the plant material may be necessary to determine the cause of the damage.


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Figure 1: The damage of dog urine on turfgrass. (provided by Karen L. Snover-Clift, Cornell University)

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Figure 2: The causal agents, Ellie-Mae and Jethro. (provided by Karen L. Snover-Clift, Cornell University)

Symptoms of dog urine damage include an area of necrotic tissue surrounded by a margin of a very healthy, dark green grass. Often damage is most noticeable after snow cover is removed from an area that has been used regularly by dogs (Fig. 1).


The soluble salts contained in animal urine are capable of killing turfgrass when deposited in high concentration in one location. Often more severe damage is noticed when female dogs have urinated in an area. Due to their squatting when urinating, they are probably depositing a greater amount of urine to one concentrated area than male dogs who spread out the urine when lifting their legs. Both male and female dogs can cause this damage. The damage is most severe on dry, infertile soil.

Management Strategies

Applying large amounts of water to the area will aid in dispersing the salts and reduce the amount of damage seen.
Replacing dogs with cats may also be effective!

Source:  Cornell University

Submitted by: pepper23
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