Yard with large trees and fresh sod

How to Keep Sod Healthy With Dogs

If you have dogs and are deciding between sod vs. seed, we encourage you to go the sod route. That way, you won’t have to keep dogs off the lawn for near as long. If you do choose to install sod, we encourage you to find the best sod for dogs and be extra cautious with your new lawn. Brand new grass hasn’t yet had a chance to establish roots, which means it’s more vulnerable to spots being killed by dog urine. You can give your sod the best chance to survive by keeping your dog off the lawn for the first two months when it’s most susceptible.

If you can’t keep your pets completely off, try taking them for a walk right away in the morning and when you get home from work so they can relieve themselves elsewhere. This is when their urine’s nitrogen levels are at their highest and will be most damaging to your sod.

Another option is to hose down the spot they urinate in, but there is no guarantee you won’t still get brown, dead spots in your lawn — it may just help lessen the impact.

If you have additional questions about sod beyond this topic, check out our sod questions and answers.

Our recommendation is simple: the best way to keep new sod healthy is to keep dogs off of it, at least for a while. Once it’s established, your maintenance routine might be different. That’s because, beyond urination, dogs can ruin your sod in other ways that include digging, disrupting plants, and creating dirt paths where they frequently trod. Here are a few suggestions for helping dogs get along with your sod:

1. Entertain Them Differently

Instead of letting them out in the backyard to expend energy, take your dogs on regular walks or dog run visits. That way, they’ll have less energy to put towards tearing up your lawn.

2. Wipe Out Pests

Sometimes dogs dig because your yard has pests such as moles and insects, and they’re trying to get to them. Remember to use safe pest control products that won’t harm your pet.

3. Use Marking Posts or Designated Bathroom Spots

Placing a pole or fire hydrant somewhere in your yard (you can keep it out of sight) can encourage dogs to use the bathroom in one place. You can even put mulch or river rock around the pole so the urine doesn’t kill the grass. Another option is to create designated bathroom spots by training your dog to relieve themselves in the same spot every time. This will make cleanup easier and protect the majority of your lawn from damage.

4. Prevent Escape Opportunities

If your dog is digging near the fence, make it less desirable for them to do so. You can cover the bottom of the fence with wire or fill the hole with rocks.

5. Take Good Care of Your Lawn

Aerating your lawn in problem areas a couple times a year is important in encouraging growth. You can also spread mulch across your yard to add nutrients to the soil and help it better absorb water.

If you have additional questions, give us a call at 515-331-4900. We’re happy to answer them! If you’re wondering how to grow grass with dogs, let us help you create a thriving lawn.

Read more:
How Sod Helps the Environment

6 Steps to the Perfect Lawn
Do It Yourself Sod Installation
Seasonal Tips
Keeping Shaded Sod Healthy
Dormant vs. Dying Sod
Your Sod Questions — Answered
Natural Turf Farm

Sod Estimates & Pricing

Why Fresh Sod Is Best

Helping Sod Survive Drought
How to Get Rid of Mushrooms In Your Lawn

Should You Rake or Mulch Leaves?

Is Rock Salt Killing Your Lawn?

Spring Sod Installation

Shattuck Turf Farms​​ 515-331-4900