The general opinion holds that man’s best friend and lawns don’t mix – so what can you do to protect your turf?
As they say, prevention is better than the cure. This is true here, as dogs can do damage to grass of any type. However, a really hardy, durable turf, such as the types used on sports fields, will hold up to some of the wear and tear. Dogs running, playing or digging all year round will take a toll, so consider fencing off high-traffic areas and keep ensuring your lawn is well fed, topped up with seeds and any damaged parts are replaced. Give your lawn a fertility boost by top dressing with fine compost and gently brushing the compost thinly. And remember to walk your dogs regularly: let them burn off some of that playful-but-destructive energy outside your garden.
Urine is a major concern for dog owners. While male dogs tend to mark their territory over a wide area, bitches will urinate in one place, causing heavier damage. Urine is essentially nitrogen, which in concentrated doses can cause serious damage – but in more diluted quantities is actually a fertiliser. Therefore the best thing to do is add water to the urine – use a small watering can, or sprinkler in summer, to ensure you keep a good level of moisture overall and in patches where the dog has been.
Heavy damage can be mitigated by carefully raking away dead grass, puncturing the earth with shallow holes and sewing some new seed.