Whether they’re going to the bathroom and turning your green lawn yellow or digging holes, dogs and lawns do not mix.

If you’re having trouble keeping your dog from destroying your lawn, you’re definitely not alone. Thousands of pet owners every year find themselves wondering how to fix a yard destroyed by dogs.

Here are four common problems you may have with solutions, along with some ways to prevent your dog from wrecking your lawn.

Common Yard Damage Caused By Dogs And How To Fix It

The most common problems people have with dogs and their lawns are dead grass and holes.

You may also notice that the grass in areas where your dog likes to lay or walk seems to suffer compared to the rest of your lawn.

Dog’s Urine Killing Grass

Dog urine can cause spots of dead grass or cause your grass to begin to yellow.

Dog's Urine Killing Grass

The reason being is that dog urine is filled with nitrogen. While grass needs nitrogen to grow, too much nitrogen will cause it to die.

It’s a common misconception that male dogs tend to be less destructive than female dogs when it comes to urine.

This isn’t true, and either gender of dog can kill the grass on your lawn.

How To Fix Dead Grass

If the grass is already dead, rake the area clean and add some new topsoil with a layer of seed.

Water it and tend to it while it grows, making sure to keep your dog well away from it.

There are also quite a few products you can buy to help speed up the process and protect the grass from dying again.

Also, consider these dog chews that help neutralize the pet’s urine so it doesn’t kill the grass. And your pet will love the extra treat!

Pulling Up Plants

Dog's Pulling Up Plants

If your dog is constantly digging up your plants or even eating from your garden, there’s an easy way to stop them.

The first thing you should try and do is train your dogs not to eat your plants.

While this sounds hard, it really isn’t, and it will make it easier in the future to train your dog not to do something.

If you can’t train them, there’s another way to get them to stop. You may not know, but dogs absolutely hate the smell of citrus.

You probably have some lemon juice in your fridge and a spray bottle in the house.

Simply make some diluted lemon juice and spray it near your garden or plants, but not directly on them.

The smell should keep your dogs from digging up your plants. If not, take some peels and scatter them around for an extra boost of citrus.

You could also build a barrier in your yard, such as a garden wire fence, to keep your pet away from your plants.

Digging Holes In The Yard

Dog's Digging Holes In The Yard

Not all dogs dig holes, but there are quite a few breeds that feel like it is their sole mission to find the center of the earth.

If that sounds like your dog, there are a few ways to keep them from digging in your backyard.

You can spray diluted lemon juice in the areas where they dig or even sprinkle some cayenne pepper or coffee grounds to deter them.

Dogs that dig under the neighbors’ fences can either be trained to stop, or you can install an electric fence to prevent them from getting close enough to the fence.

Electric fences can be bought online these days and easily installed yourself, even in a bigger yard.

Your dog will quickly learn their new boundaries and stop digging under fences.

A dog that digs under fences is likely to run away, so an electric fence will also ensure that they stay safe at home.

Rough Patches Due To Walking Or Laying Down

Dogs may lie down in the same spot or take the same path around your yard whenever you let them out. Over time, this heavy traffic can cause the grass to die or a notable spot to form.

If your dog does this, you’ll need to have them alternate their resting spots or give them a designated area of the yard where you won’t care about damage.

Depending on where the path is, you may opt to lay down pea gravel to avoid mud and add a little hardscape to your yard.

How To Prevent Damage To Your Yard

The best way to fix a yard destroyed by dogs is to prevent that damage in the first place. All the damage your dog causes can be prevented quite easily most of the time.

If you take the following tips into consideration, you’ll never deal with a destroyed yard again.

Give Your Dog A Specific Bathroom Spot

Dog urine will wreak havoc on grass, there’s no way around it.

The easiest way to stop dog urine from destroying your lawn is to give your dog one spot to go to the bathroom.

Whether you have a small yard or a big yard, you probably have a corner or a spot where there is no grass. Gravel areas or forested areas with soil are perfect places for your dog to relieve themselves.

Begin by bringing your dog to that spot on a leash when you let them out to do their business.

Once they’ve gone to the bathroom, reward your dog heavily by giving them a treat or playtime with their favorite toy.

Repeat this until you can let your dog off the leash, and they immediately run to that spot to relieve themselves.

Keep an eye on them every time you let them out to ensure they are following the new rules of the yard.

This also has the added benefit of making it easier to pick up after your dog. No more landmines all over the yard!

Build A Dog Run

Build A Dog Run

If your dog will not listen, can’t be trained, and continually digs up your lawn or leaves urine spots, you may need to build a dog run in your backyard.

Dog runs are areas that are sectioned off from the rest of your yard, usually by a fence. In the dog run, your dog can freely run around and do as they please, leaving your lawn free of damage.

Think of a dog run as a dog house with its own personal yard. Some people install pea gravel as a ground cover in their dog run to prevent digging.

A long run is also a great way to let your dog out for exercise when you are unable to give them a walk.

Use Humic Acid To Treat Your Lawn

If you go to any lawn and garden center and ask how to treat dog urine spots, they’ll probably respond with humic acid.

Humic acid is used by professional landscapers to give your lawn that green, vibrant color and increase growth.

Humic acid can be bought cheaply and in large quantities, and you can never add too much. There is a limit to how much is beneficial, of course, but beyond that won’t cause your lawn harm.

The other benefit of humic acid is that it is not poisonous to dogs. A little bit of humic acid can actually be healthy for them.

With that being said, don’t let your dog lap it up as you treat your lawn with it. It’s best to apply it during a time when your dog will not be out in the next few hours.

Avoid Using Baking Soda

Many people say that baking soda dissolved in water will help bring your grass back to life, but this is simply false.

Baking soda might neutralize odors and help remove stains on a carpet, but the grass isn’t a carpet.

People often say it will help absorb the nitrogen, but baking soda doesn’t work like that. Baking soda may actually help kill your grass.

Baking soda is an acidic salt, and if you didn’t know already, salt and plants don’t always mix that well. There’s a reason they used to threaten people with “salting the earth”.

The only thing you can do to help remove the nitrogen is reduce the concentration of it by diluting it with water.

Install Artificial Grass Or Hardscape

Dog urine can’t kill grass if it’s fake grass. Artificial turf is becoming more and more popular across the country, and as a dog owner, you may come to appreciate its many benefits.

Not only will dog urine not leave spots, but you won’t have to pay for maintenance or spend time mowing your lawn anymore.

Your dog also won’t be able to dig up the soil and make pits in your yard.

There are even varieties of artificial sod that are made to be pet-friendly.

Other homeowners prefer hardscaping. Hardscaping is popular in states like Arizona or New Mexico, where it’s almost impossible to keep a nice green lawn in the heat.

Homeowners will usually install stone paths and use pea gravel, among other things, to make their yards look clean and beautiful.

While the initial cost of artificial turf and hardscaping might be a turnoff, remember how much time and money you will save not having to mow or water your lawn.

Give Your Dog Outdoor Toys And Distractions

Giving A Dog An Outdoor Toys

Large dogs are notorious for making holes in yards. If you have a big dog that loves to behave badly, you need to give them alternatives.

Big dogs that make holes in the yard are often bored and find their own ways to entertain themselves.

Play with them or give them toys to take their mind off of making pits in your backyard.

In the summer, dogs often create holes to cool off. The ground underneath can be significantly cooler than the surface.

If you give your dog a pool to cool off and play in, they may not feel the need to get dirty and create a hole.

Water Your Lawn Regularly

As we mentioned before, dog urine contains lots of nitrogen that, in high concentrations, will damage your grass.

The best way to ensure it isn’t in high concentrations is by diluting it with water.

If you live in an area where you aren’t restricted by water use ordinances, regularly watering your lawn can remove that highly concentrated urine.

Lawns need somewhere around an inch of water per week. If it isn’t going to rain, throw out a sprinkler and move it around your lawn to ensure it stays healthy and hydrated.

You can also just quickly spray the area your dog peed on with a hose for a few minutes, but the sprinkler ensures you cover everywhere.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

How do I repair my lawn after my dog digs?

After your dog digs, you'll need to replace the soil. After you've packed the hole down, add a thin layer of topsoil and grass seed.

Make sure you keep it watered and that your dog doesn't return to dig or urinate while the grass grows.

Once the new grass has grown, sprinkle the affected areas with some cayenne pepper or coffee grounds to keep them from digging.

Why is my dog tearing up my yard?

Oftentimes, dogs will dig because they are bored. Give your dog some mental stimulation, like toys, to entertain them and prevent them from digging.

Will grass grow back after dog urine?

Grass will naturally grow back, but it will take a long time to do so.

You can speed this up by planting your own grass seed and tending to it. You should see results in about two months.

Is it okay to put grass seed down with dogs?

Most of the time, it is perfectly fine to put grass seed down with dogs.

Dogs, however, will not understand that you want them to keep off the freshly planted seeds and may even dig up the ground.

Keep an eye on your dogs when you plant new grass and train them to stay away from it while it grows.


I am very passionate about lawns and mowers and offer my unbiased review towards everything that goes on this site. I research several pages, specs, videos, forums and other reviews of each mower before I post about it so you don't have to.