In this Article:
- Why You Should NOT Give your Dog Commercially Manufactured Products to Stop Grass Urine Burn;
- Why Your Dog’s Urine Burns Grass and Vegetation and Related Negative Implications to your Dog’s Health;
- Some Typical Indicators That a Dog Food is Low in Quality Protein;
- The Importance of Methionine;
- Urine Burns Are a Warning Sign That you Need to Improve Your Dog’s Diet;
- DIY Truly Natural, Healthy Solutions to Stop Your Dog’s Urine from Burning Your Lawn
I have ten dogs, various breeds, female and male dogs – but my grass (lawn) and plants do not get burned when my dogs’ – female and male, urinate. Some people are under the impression that just female dog’s urine burns grass – this is not so. A male dog’s urine can burn your grass and vegetation too…find out why and how to solve this for the health of your grass and more importantly for the health of your dog…
Why You Should NOT Give Your Dog Commercially Manufactured Products to Stop Grass Urine Burn
There are many commercially manufactured supplements - that claim to be ‘natural’; to stop your dog’s urine from burning your lawn – however the truth is that these products are not all natural and do contain ingredients that are toxic and carcinogenic. In addition these products do not resolve the root cause of the problem – and that leaves your dog’s health in ongoing jeopardy.
An example of one such product is ‘Naturvet Grasssaver’ products (biscuit, liquid or pill form) for dogs. Naturvet Grasssaver liquid product which is designed to be added to your dog’s drinking water contains ingredients such as:
- DL methionine (synthetic methinone, you can read about that further below);
- Sodium benzoate – a known carcinogen;
- Maltodextrin – an artificial polysaccharide sugar used as an additive to make foods more attractive;
- Maltodextrin is manufactured by applying acids of other enzymes to starch;
- In North America cornstarch (derived from corn) is the primary base.
- Cornand corn derivatives used in pet food manufactured in North America are carcinogenic, endocrine disrupting, allergenic and more.
- In Europe wheat starch is used as the base – grains and grain derivatives cause many health problems in dogs;
- Maltodextrin is a large molecule that contains no vitamins and minerals;
- In order for your dog to digest maltodextrin he/she must use his/her own store of vitamins and minerals to assimilate the maltodextrin – this can rob his/her body of essential vitamins and minerals;
- Maltodextrin can trigger allergic reactions, asthma, weight gain, hypoglycemia, raise bad cholesterol levels and is most obviously not part of a dog’s appropriate diet.
Why Your Dog’s Urine Burns Grass and Vegetation and the Related Negative Implications to your Dog’s Health
Dogs are omnivores, evolved to consume a diet comprised mainly of high-quality protein, high quality fat and some carbohydrates. A dog’s ancestral diet (the diet for which a dog was evolved to thrive on) is comprised of 60%, meat, +/- 30% fat and +/- 10 to 13% carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are not an essential part of a dog’s diet, however protein and fat are. In keeping with evolution, a dog’s digestive system is evolved to effectively and efficiently breakdown high-quality proteins while generating minimal waste products - i.e. nitrogen.
The most prevalent ingredients in lawn fertilizer are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N-P-P). Commercially manufactured fertilizers include N-P-P in a ratio formulated to support plant growth. When the ratios are unbalanced and too much nitrogen is present vegetation will end-up being burned.
Most commercially manufactured dog food does not conform to the ratios as described above, nor come anywhere close. Instead most commercial dog food contains an overabundance of:
- Poor quality carbohydrates and fillers: such as corn, soy, and other grains including highly refined cereal grains, cellulose (wood pulp), potatoes;
- Poor source protein i.e.
- Chicken by-product, egg-product, soy, peas, etc.
While many manufacturers claim that their dog food is 'scientifically' researched and developed to be nutritionally complete - it is very important to understand that the term ‘nutritionally complete’ is not a regulated term in the world of pet foods, nor is ‘holistic’ or ‘natural’. AFFCO certification is also not an assurance that a dog food is nutritionally complete. In-fact I have yet to see a ‘nutritionally complete dog food’. Dogs are evolved to require the presence of sufficient levels of specific nutrients to keep their system in natural balance. Good quality protein is an essential.
When a dog is on a diet that contains low-quality protein, the digestive system must work harder to separate viable nutrition from non-viable and as a result more waste product is produced. Nitrogen is one of those waste products - a natural by-product resulting from the breakdown of protein during the process of digestion. An unbalanced diet for a dog creates the same effect as an unbalanced lawn fertilizer – the dog’s urine ends up containing very high levels of nitrogen. If the dog is not ingesting sufficient fluids the concentration of nitrogen in the dog’s urine increases.
The only reason a female dog’s urine seems to burn grass more than a male dog’s urine is because the female squats low to the ground and the urine pools in one area as opposed to the urination ritual of a mature male dog who will usually pee streaming the urine at an elevated height, which does not result in a concentrated polling of the urine. When a female dog squats to urinate all of the urine pools in one spot and then sinks down to soil and root level at which point the roots of the grass, plant absorb the water and with it an excess of nitrogen causing a fertilizer overload and the resulting burn.
Some Typical Indicators That a Dog Food is Low in Quality Protein
- The first two or three ingredients listed on the product are not real meat;
- The first ingredient is a meat by-product…i.e. ‘chicken by product’;
- The first ingredient is a grain (i.e. corn, wheat, etc.) or other carbohydrate such as potato;
- If DL Methionine is included in the ingredient list;
- DL-Methionine is a synthetic version of methionine. It is manufactured via a process that requires the use of five highly corrosive chemicals;
- DL Methionine is used to make-up for the lack of naturally occurring methionine which would have been available if the food included sufficient good source meat protein;
- Please note, just because you pay a lot of money for a dog food – either at a pet store or at a veterinarian’s office does not mean that the food is actually good quality, is meeting your dog’s nutritional needs or is actually good for your dog's health. You can take a look here, here and here to gain more insight on this.
The Importance of Methionine
- Methionine is an essential amino acid that the body cannot produce on its own;
- Therefore the dog must receive a constant level of methionine from the foods he/she ingests. Essential amino acids are building blocks that enable protein synthesis and the breakdown of fats.
- Methionine is essential for healthy skin, coat, eye, heart health and more.
Foods that are rich in Methionine include:
- Dairy products;
- Fish - such as cod, haddock, perch, pickerel, smelt, salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines;
- Seeds and Nuts - sesame seeds provide the most methionine – there are only a few types of nuts and seeds that are actually good for dogs…
- Peanuts and all-natural peanut butter (human grade only) when provided in moderation are good for dogs;
- Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) are good for dogs when provided in moderation;
- Sesame seeds, sesame seed oil, are good for dogs when provided in moderation;
- Most nuts pose a serious health risk to dogs;
- Many grains which are the seed of a plant also pose serious health risks to dogs – i.e. corn;
- Vegetables – broccoli, turnip, spinach, squash, zucchini;
- To view an extended list of foods and how much methionine they contain you can take a look here.
If you see ‘egg product’ in the list of ingredients in your dog’s food don’t expect that egg product to be a source of natural methionine as the ‘egg product’ included in most dog food is waste material from hatcheries and egg processing facilities.
Plant-based protein (soy, peas, etc.) is very low in methionine. The soy used in pet food in North America also poses a whole host of serious health problems for your dog.
Urine Burns Are a Warning Sign That you Need to Improve Your Dog’s Diet
Seeing your lawn covered in yellow or brown spots can be an eyesore…it is also a sign that you are placing your dog’s overall health at risk.
Dogs that are fed only processed dog food (dry or wet) can have many health problems both early and later in life and a foreshortened life-span.
- In 2012 the top reason for bringing a dog to the veterinarian was ear infections;
- Most ear infections are triggered by inappropriate diet;
- Most veterinarians prescribe antibiotics to clear-up the infection, which unfortunately does not clear-up the root cause;
- Which can then result in chronic ear infections;
- An immune system that is suppressed, and;
- Resistance to antibiotics .
- Poor diet can cause many other issues including a disruption of the body’s natural Ph level where a dog’s blood becomes acidic;
- Diseases including cancer and parasites all thrive in an acidic environment;
- Insects such as mosquitoes and fleas are attracted to dogs with acidified blood.
The Best Solution is one with a Multitude of Benefits
The best solution to a nice lawn is a mutually beneficial one which will first ensure your dog’s overall health and well being and, at the same time resolve the unsightly yellow and brown spots in your lawn and garden.
DIY Truly Natural, Healthy Solutions to Stop Your Dog’s Urine from Burning Your Lawn
The following offers three options – each will solve the problem of eliminating urine burns while supporting better health of your dog. The best solution is to feed your dog a really good quality diet – which means feeding your dog a well-balanced homemade dog food, or raw food diet. The next best solution is to purchase a better dry dog food and augment that food daily by providing your dog with some real food and add liquid to each meal which will dilute any remaining excess of nitrogen…
Purchase A Better Processed Dry Dog Food (also known as Dog Kibble) and Supplement With Real Food
Step One – Purchase a truly better quality dry dog food. The following ingredients provide an example of a better dry dog food – look for a dog food that has a similar composition…
Boneless chicken, chicken meal, chicken liver, whole herring, boneless turkey, turkey meal, turkey liver, whole eggs, boneless walleye, whole salmon, chicken heart, chicken cartilage, herring meal, salmon meal, chicken liver oil, red lentils, green peas, green lentils, yams, pea fiber, chickpeas, pumpkin, butternut squash, spinach greens, carrots, Red Delicious apples, Bartlett pears, cranberries, blueberries, kelp, licorice root, angelica root, fenugreek, marigold, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, chamomile, dandelion, summer savory, rosemary, vitamin A, vitamin D3, vitamin E, niacin, riboﬂavin, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, selenium yeast.
While you may pay more for a dog food that is comprised of better ingredients you will not be out-of pocket...
- Poor quality dog food (remember price is not necessarily an indicator of quality - here is an example of how high cost does not always translate to health and quality) - in this case a true quality food will cost you less than you may currently be paying;
- You have to feed your dog more if the food is poor quality, less if good quality so the actual cost to feed your dog a good food will be the same or may be less than a poor quality food;
- Your dog's health will be improved and you will spend less money over the long-term at the veterinarians office.
Step Two – add real food and moisture to each dry dog food meal…
- Add a few pieces of real meat or a combination of meat and dairy to each meal;
- A small piece of chicken liver sautéed at a low heat in olive oil;
- A small piece of fish – fresh cooked or canned in water or olive oil (don’t buy fish canned in vegetable oil);
- A little beef, chicken, turkey etc. sautéed at a low heat in olive oil.
- Add some Dairy:
- A little cheese or cottage cheese;
- Add a little egg – see this list for limitations;
- Give your dog some all-natural peanut butter instead of a grain-based dog cookie/treat;
- Add liquid – here are some healthy options…
- Homemade chicken stock (you can use the recipe for chicken stock provided in this article) or use another type of homemade broth if your dog is allergic to chicken;
- Don’t use commercially made chicken stock unless you are sure there is no added salt, sugar, artificial preservatives, food colouring etc.
- 100% aloe vera juice;
- Rooibos Tea or Green Tea;
- I add all three of these liquids to my dogs’ homemade meals.
- Sprinkle ¼ tsp of Ceylon Cinnamon on top of the liquid and you have a built-in mouth wash which helps with dental care.
Homemade Cooked/Fresh Food Diet
You can make a very good quality homemade dog food using a recipe that provides balanced nutrition for your dog;
- You can use this grain-free homemade dog food recipe;
- This is the recipe that I developed for my dogs - they eat it every day;
- My dogs are various breeds and ages - from 4 lb Pomeranians to Boxers and German Shepherds;
- This recipe is good for puppies, teenage, adult and senior dogs;
- This recipe is used by loving dog owners around the world with great success in supporting good health in their dogs.
Raw Dog Food Diet
If you do not want to make your own raw food, you can purchase pre-prepared good quality frozen raw dog food in many pet stores;
- If your dog has always consumed processed commercial dry dog food you must make the switch to raw dog food very slowly as raw food is digested differently than processed food. Your dog’s system needs time to adjust;
- Raw food is digested in the stomach using a much stronger acid bath than processed food;
- When processed food is mixed with raw food havoc can ensue;
- Diarrhea and/or vomiting will result if the transition from dry processed dog food to raw food is not phased in properly;
- Raw food must be introduced as a separate treat a little bit a day, and;
- Then slowly increased until the amount of raw food replaces one dry food meal per day;
- The same process must also be followed to replace the second daily meal until dry processed food is phased completely out of the dog’s diet.
- Just because you are feeding your dog a cooked or raw diet, does not mean that the specific diet you are using is appropriate for dogs. Many (homemade and commercial) cooked and raw diets include inappropriate listed and/or hidden ingredients that can cause health issues.
- Homemade cooked or raw diets, commercial store bought cooked and raw diets are NOT a one-size-fits all panacea for perfect health.
- Every dog is an individual, with his / her unique gut microbes, unique metabolism, and needs.
- A specific diet that works well for one dog may not work well, or 'perfectly' for another dog. There are thousands of raw diets - each comprised of specific ingredients that MAY or MAY Not all cooked or raw diets are equal in quality.
- A formula / recipe may include one or more inappropriate ingredients - listed or hidden.
- You may be including additional supplements that are simply not appropriate for your individual dog, or not appropriate due to listed and hidden ingredients.
- When seeking reasons why a specific diet may not be resulting in the expected result for your dog, a detailed review is recommended.
Enjoy your dog's better health and your more attractive lawn!
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