Hey, all! First time posting here. We have two canine family members: an 8yo male Golden Retriever and an 8yo female Beagle. We are having a hard time with urine burn in our lawn, and I’m trying to decide if I changing our dogs’ food would help at all.
We currently feed both dogs Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-free Dry Dog Food, which gets a 4.5 star rating on DFA and is relatively affordable, comparatively speaking. We’ve had them on this food for almost a year now. Previously, we were feeding them Honest Kitchen Revel dehydrated, which they loved. However, our family likes to travel a lot, and it was always an inconvenience for our house/pet-sitter to mix and feed THK while we were on vacation. So, we’d usually have her feed a dry kibble while we were gone. But sudden changes like that always gave them horrible diarrhea. So, we decided to switch over to a high-quality kibble permanently.
Unfortunately, this spring/summer, our lawn has suffered quite a bit of damage from urine burn. Researching, I found this is due to the nitrogen in the urine. Several multi-step solutions have been recommended, one of which is switching to a higher-quality protein dog food (the other steps being frequently watering our lawn and encouraging our dogs to increase their water intake). I thought the Blue Buffalo was a high-quality protein kibble, but maybe it’s not high-quality enough? Also, there’s a couple questionable ingredients that are possibly implicated in lawn burn, one of which being DL-Methionine.
So, my thought is to switch to an even higher-quality protein kibble, such as Wellness Core. And possibly also to start topping it with some THK grain-free dehydrated food?
And thoughts, opinions, recommendations, advice on my plans for switching foods to combat this lawn burn problem? Any other solutions I should look into?
My biggest concerns about switching food is 1). Just the long process of slowly switching foods, 2). Wellness Core is quite a bit more expensive than the Blue Buffalo they’re on now (by almost $20 per bag on Chewy), 3). Is Wellness Core going to be *THAT* significantly higher-quality protein to make much difference?
Thanks for any help!
I wouldn’t bother with those additives that are supposed to help, I have heard that not only are they ineffective but a poster on another forum reported that her dog developed struvite crystals/urinary tract infections after using one of these products.
Thanks! No, I was not planning on trying any of those additives such as the Grass Saver tablets or anything like that. I saw those at the pet store and decided to do some research on them before buying them. Glad I didn’t just impulse buy them. They sound pretty bad for our furry friends.
I have several dogs of my own and foster dogs, and they are mostly large dogs, so there is a lot of urine going in my grass! What you read about giving the dogs more water (think adding fresher, higher moisture food to their diet) and watering the lawn more often is the way to go. Urine is essentially fertilizer in liquid form and is a free, all natural one at that. But too much and too strong will burn the lawn in a heartbeat. I’ve done that in the past when the spreader fell over. 🙁
In spite of having a lot of dogs in a relatively small area, I have very few, if any “burn spots” and I don’t feed any “grass saver” type additives. I also don’t fertilize the dog area of the yard. I do feed all of the dogs canned food when I feed kibble and add a good amount of warm water to the mix, so it’s pretty wet to begin with. I also have fresh water on hand throughout the day. I feed a fresh dinner to most of the dogs, all of my own. All this moisture means a more diluted urine. The results are healthier dogs that aren’t slightly chronically dehydrated and a lawn that doesn’t have many, if any, burn spots. I will spray the lawn area down on a fairly regular basis, maybe every few days, or run the sprinkler if it’s been very hot and dry. I do have a REALLY GREEN lawn in the dog area. LOL! 😉
Here’s a university link that you might find interesting:
- This reply was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by C4D.
I should also mention that my dogs are overweight. So, along with trying to alleviate the lawn burning problem, I also want to try to get their weights down. My Golden is about 85lbs (would like to get him down to 70-75lbs), and my Beagle is about 40lbs (would like to get her down 25-30lbs).
Our dogs used to not be so heavy when we were feeding them THK. But like I said, it because an inconvenience constantly having to mix up the food, especially for our house/pet-sitter when we’d go on vacation. That’s why I did a lot of research and settled on what I considered to be a high-quality dry kibble. But, obviously, my dogs ballooning up over the past year is probably indicative of the dry kibble not being all that great for them.
I don’t know. Maybe I should just go back to exclusively THK again. If I had my druthers (and unlimited funds), I’d do frozen raw food nuggets. But those are prohibitively expensive with our two dogs. We used to feed our first (and only dog at the time) Steve’s Real Food and Northwest Naturals, and she did awesome on those. She was lean and had no health problems on the frozen raw food. But it was only one 40lb dog. Our current two dogs (at a combined ideal weight of nearly 100lbs) would put us in the poor house trying to feed them frozen raw!
If you are feeding the Adult Chicken Blue Wilderness kibble, it has 415 calories per cup. Here is a link the the dog food calculator that may help you determine how much to feed your pups: https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-feeding-tips/dog-food-calculator/
Raw food has a lot more moisture in it and most likely a lot less calories. You either need to feed less of their current food and exercise more. Or, find a food with less calories. I tend to feed lower calorie foods and add different toppers to my dogs’ meals. In fact, I feed commercial raw mixed in their meals three times per week. You could still feed partial raw along with kibble to help save money.
I agree with the others about not adding any supplements that advertise stopping urine burn to you dogs’ diets. Changing the pH of their urine could be dangerous. Best of luck to you!!
Have you thought about rotating between the foods? I do rotate my foods as I mentioned in my earlier post. That way there is less of a transition issue if you have to change for whatever reason. Many of us feel it also gives the dog a healthier gut flora.
In regard to the weight, C4C is correct. You are probably feeding too much and exercising too little. If you add water to the food it will also help them to feel fuller and eat less. I actually feed less than the calculator. Unless your dogs are REALLY active (like jogging with you daily) use the “typical” activitely level. Also, on the calculator and on the dog food bag’s feeding guidelines, you should use the dogs’ ideal weight for how much to feed. A lot of people miss that point and put in the dog’s current weight. So, if they’re already overweight, it’s adding to the weight problem.
My husband counteracts the acid in our puppy’s urine with an occasional lime application in the spots needed. He will do this before a good rain overnight, to keep any chemicals away from the puppy. He’s done this twice in the last five months, and the spots do bounce back! You can find lime at any garden supply center.
I have an 11 y-o female Golden. She was 85 lbs and moving slow until I did 2 things: 1) I stopped letting her free-feed & now only feed once a day. 2) I switched from commercial food, to better food, to REALLY good food. With the really good food & the set feeding time, she lost 10 lbs and gained about 5 years of energy. I’m feeding her VeRUS Opticoat because she was itchy. We actually have 2 females that eat this food and we have ZERO problems with grass burn. (Oddly, last night I was kind of wishing we did as I need to kill the grass in the area where they like to go!) VeRUS has a contact form you can fill out, they’ll actually contact you (a real person!) and send you some very nice samples. They are VERY helpful at VeRUS and the food is fantastic (well, my dogs love it!)
Thank you all for your helpful insight and advice! Much appreciated!
Here is what I’m doing now:
1). I’ve set up a sprinkler on an automatic timer to water the main part of the lawn where the dogs conduct their business. The timer is set for 7:15 am and goes for an hour every morning. I’m hoping this will help with diluting the urine and preventing the burn.
2). I have done a lime application on my entire lawn, front and back. The lawn showed multiple symptoms of an acidic pH. We have never limed our yard in the 13+ years we’ve lived here. So, it was long overdue. I had never known that was something you should do every now and then. Seriously, someone should give new homeowners some type of guidebook on general home and lawn care when they close on their house! This fall and in future years, I will over-seed my lawn with grass seed of a variety that is more tolerant to urine burn, such as tall fescue.
3). I have switched back to The Honest Kitchen Revel (chicken) food. For now, I am mixing their old BB Wilderness kibble half and half with the THK. I will keep mixing the two together until we have gone through what’s left of the BB kibble. I am mixing the combination with twice as much water as THK calls for. This is making their meals pretty sloppy wet, but my dogs eat it up heartily!
4). I am feeding the dogs according to their ideal weights, not their current weights.
5). I have NOT purchase any lawn burn supplements and will NOT. No need to mess with their chemistry!
6). My wife, kids, and I have started playing Pokemon Go and take our dogs out on the walks with us. The increased exercise should help!
I’m hoping all these changes will help with the lawn burn and also my dogs’ weight problems. However, I’m afraid that the switch to the THK food may hinder my beagle’s weight loss in the near future. They like this food much better. So much so that my beagle, after she finishes her bowl, pushes my golden out of the way and eats all the rest of his food. I did not realize this was happening until I caught her in the act the other morning. No wonder she has gotten so big! I have to figure out a way to prevent this from happening.
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