We love our dogs. They’re entertaining, affectionate, and endearingly goofy. Practically any dog owner will tell you that the best part of their day is coming home to eager eyes and a wagging tail. Their antics make our day. What do they do to our lawns? Not so much. Courtesy of Jay-Lan Lawn Care, here are three ways your dog may be ruining your lawn, and how to deal with each.

Dog Poop

Dog poop isn’t just annoying to step in or run over with a lawnmower. It can also be dangerous. One gram can harbor up to 23 billion bacteria, including parvo, salmonella, giardia, and e. Coli, as well as other parasites like worms. Insects, animals, rain, and wind can all help spread these contaminants, and — in some cases — potentially infect your dog, your kids, and you with serious diseases.

If that sounds worrisome, it should be. The EPA even considers dog droppings a hazardous substance, and we haven’t even gotten to the damage they’ll do to your grass. If your dog is the issue, prompt pickup and disposal of their droppings is important to prevent damage to the grass and the possibility of infection. Training your dog to use a designated area to relieve himself can be another solution, since (like a cat’s litter box) it’s easier to keep the area clean and… uncluttered.

Dog Urine

Two of the ingredients of dog urine are water, which plants need to survive, and nitrogen, which is a key component of most fertilizers. But too much of a good thing can be ruinous. The burnt-looking patches left behind by dog urine are the result of higher concentrations of nitrogen and ammonia. Dilution is one solution — just soaking the area with water can bring the chemicals back down to levels your lawn can handle. The other solution, as with corralling dog poop, is to set aside an area of the lawn that’s your pooch’s potty.

Digging

Dogs love to dig, with some breeds — like Huskies — prone to being halfway to Tibet if you turn your back for just a few seconds. Even if you’ve trained your dog to stick to certain areas of the yard when it comes time to heed nature’s call, digging is a hard habit to break.

There are a few different reasons dogs dig. Boredom is high on the list, and the easiest way to deal with that is to make sure your pooch gets plenty of playtime. A similar approach to waste issues can also work with digging — set aside an area where it’s “allowed,” and let your dog go to town. But there’s another cause of digging that might need outside help: rodents. Dogs’ sense of hearing and smell are much more sensitive than ours, and if you’ve got a rabbit burrowing near your veggie garden, or moles making themselves at home in your grass, your dog may think she’s found a new game. Call Jay-Lan Lawn Care if you suspect you may need help with mole control as part of a comprehensive lawn care program.

Training your dog to keep a better lawn is often as simple as time, patience, and positive reinforcement. A calm voice, some treats, and plenty of belly rubs will work wonders. For the rest — whether you’re over-seeding after Sparky tears up the grass, or need lawn chemicals to deal with common pests — contact Jay-Lan Lawn Care from anywhere in the Siouxland area.