Is Your Pet Destroying Your Lawn?

Wear and tear, digging and urine burn are common problems. Here’s some helpful advice for managing your lawn with pets…

There are members of your family who get a big kick out of your lawn. They come in all shapes and sizes and they’re never happier than when they are outside.

Some lawn varieties might look great but can they handle the action from some family pets? Wear and tear, digging, urine burn and faeces are common problems, and sensitive lawns just can’t handle it, especially with large dogs. So choosing a pet friendly and tolerant variety will make life easy for all concerned. Just like humans, some pets may to be sensitive to allergies so choosing a low-allergenic variety is the go. Dogs in particular can be rough on lawns. They dig holes, cause urine burns, and tear around wildly on the lawn.

Wear and tear

If your pet continually uses certain tracks causing that area to wear more than others, placing an obstacle like a pot plant on the track will force them to take a different route, giving the lawn a chance to repair itself. This may have to be done more often in winter or shady areas. Extra aeration may be necessary to help rectify any compaction that may have occurred. With excessive activity, a more comprehensive maintenance program may be needed by way of more regular fertilising and aerating. Moist and shaded areas will suffer most so some extra drainage and attention may be required.

Finally, choose a turf that has a high tolerance for heavy traffic. Despite the soft feel of its leaves, a tough soft leaf buffalo grass that can deal with heavy traffic, including the family pets.


Compaction is a common problem with lawns particularly those with dogs and it is important that you address it regularly. What compaction does is prevent oxygen, nutrient and water from being able to penetrate properly to the roots of your lawn, which in turn leads to poor lawn health. Aerating your lawn will help to alleviate this compaction and allow better penetration of oxygen and nutrient. It will also allow your lawn to root down deeper making it more drought tolerant and resilient.


If your dog likes digging then a self-repairing lawn with a dense growth habit is best. Newly laid lawns need time to establish and are particularly vulnerable to damage so try to prevent your dog from digging and pulling up sections of the turf.
Digging is often a sign of boredom, so a few toys may help to keep them amused while you work on their training program.

Safe lawn care around pets

When fertilising or using pesticides, keep your pets inside and off the lawn for a while until the danger has passed. Check the product safety recommendations to ensure no tragic accidents occur. Once fertilisers have been spread, water in really well and it will disappear into the lawn profile. For herbicide use, wait until it has dried and absorbed before letting your pets back out onto the lawn. If your pet is likely to eat fertiliser granules, make sure you always use an organic or liquid fertiliser instead.

Urine burns

If you are having problems with urine and burnt patches in the lawn then you might want to try dog rocks. Putting Dog Rocks® into your dog’s water bowl may be the answer. They will stop any new yellow spots from appearing, and are perfectly pet friendly. The existing burns will come good on their own within few weeks.

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