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Protecting Your Pets and Your Lawn

Tips for keeping them safe from each other

By Phil Bull


Pet owners encounter their own unique issues when it comes to lawn care. Here are a few tips on how to protect your lawn from your furry friends—and vice versa.

Dealing with ‘dog spots’

When a dog urinates on the lawn it burns the grass, creating a dead spot. If you attempt to reseed these areas, the new grass will likely be thin and weak. It doesn’t take long for weeds to move in.

The new grass struggles because the urine leaves behind salt in the soil, which can be toxic to a lot of plants, including grass. Fortunately, granular products known as salt stoppers are available to help rectify this problem.

Simply shake some of the salt stopper granules onto the burned spot and flush it with water. The safe and natural ingredients in these products get rid of the salt, leaving you free to topdress and overseed the affected areas with greater success.

Herbicides and your pets

If you use a pre-emergent weed control containing a chemical herbicide, make sure you wash off your pet’s paws before allowing them back in the house. It is very important to check the paws thoroughly to ensure there aren’t any granules caught between the toes, which they may inadvertently ingest. You want herbicide left on your lawn where it can do its job, not brought into your home where it can harm your pet.

If you are hesitant to use chemicals, organic products such as corn gluten meal , which are made from feed-grade nutrients, can be used as a substitute. These are completely harmless to pets, even if they are ingested.

Phil Bull, a certified horticulturist with 23 years of experience, works for Turf Revolution, a company that manufactures organic fertilizers for the lawn and garden. He can be reached via e-mail at, by phone at (800) 823-6937 or via

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