A Guide To Growing Grass With Dogs (Actionable Tips)

It seems our four-legged friends love a lush green lawn as much as we do. 

Unfortunately, dogs tend to show their love for grass through habits like digging, speed-racing around, and potty breaks leading to significant damage. 

Luckily, there are many tactics and methods for repairing and reinstating a lawn for both you and your dogs to enjoy. 

It is possible to grow a lush green lawn for you and your beloved dogs. Training, spot repairs, and introducing hearty grass seed with deep roots and fast growth allows you to grow a flourishing lawn. There are many preventative tips for establishing and maintaining grass with dogs. 

Does working to protect grass against the antics of an energetic and playful dog have you discouraged? 

Have no fear! 

We have plenty of tips, tricks, and training ideas to allow both your lawn and your dog to flourish. 

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Growing Grass With Dogs

Walking outside to see freshly dug holes, yellow-stained patches, and ripped-up grass makes us all feel a little helpless. 

We all love our wonderful four-legged friends, but they are notorious for destroying lawns. 

Luckily, there are many actionable ways to prevent future damage, repair existing damage, and protect our lawns and allow them to flourish. 

This article will go over many tips for working with your dog to protect your existing lawn and establish a new lawn when you have furry friends around. 

Many destructive behaviors are correctable through training. 

If your dog loves to dig, it is helpful to establish an area where they may dig freely rather than all over the yard. 

Assigning an area specifically for your dogs allows them to act on their instincts without destroying grass and all your hard work. 

Setting aside an area for your dog is another great way to limit the number of stains from urination. 

Urine contains high nitrogen concentration levels capable of burning and damaging grass, leaving yellow and brown spots. 

Setting a specific area and rinsing the urine spots quickly after they occur help to reduce the damage caused by your dog’s potty breaks. 

Other destructive behaviors include ripping up grass. 

While this is frustrating, training helps to let him know the behavior is not acceptable. 

Spot treating is an effective way to improve our lawns and get ahead of the damage caused by dogs. 

Many recommended products spot treat yards and encourage regrowth in areas damaged by digging, urine, and general wear and tear.

Sometimes it is necessary to start over with our lawn which is challenging with dogs. 

One helpful way to establish a new lawn is to keep dogs away while the grass establishes strong roots or plant grass seed in one fenced-off section at a time, so our dogs still have room to play. 

Certain seed varieties are more resilient against wear and tear. 

Resilient varieties include those with strong roots and fast growth. 

Both of these attributes make them excellent contenders against our dogs’ destructive antics. 

Spot Treating Damaged Areas

If your lawn is looking healthy for the most part, it’s far easier to spot-treat damaged areas than it is to reestablish an entire yard. 

Spot treating is easy because you don’t have to keep your dog out of large parts of the yard. 

There are many fantastic products for treating spots in your yard caused by urine or digging. 

You want to protect the areas you’re treating by putting up fencing to keep dogs out while the patch grows back in. 

New seedlings are highly delicate and susceptible to damage. 

How To Treat Damaged Areas

Once you’ve decided to tackle the damaged spots, treatment is quick and easy with the right tools. 

The necessary tools include: 

  • Rake 
  • Limestone Fertilizer
  • Topsoil
  • Quality Grass Seed

Some products contain a mixture of fertilizer, topsoil, and grass seed. 

These products are fantastic options as well. 

Step One: Remove Damaged Grass.

Pull up all of the dead grass with a rake or small shovel. 

You’ll need to work with fresh soil to encourage healthy and quick growth from the new grass seed.  

Step Two: Spread Limestone Over Affected Area.

Next, you’ll need to spread finely ground limestone like this to the soil and water generously. 

Turn the ground to loosen it up before spreading the limestone. 

Let the limestone absorb into the soil patch for a week. 

Step Three: Spread Top Soil.

After the limestone absorbs into the soil, spread a layer of topsoil over the area you are treating. 

Topsoil is full of nutrients and has a great pH for germination. 

Using quality topsoil sets your grass seedlings up for success. 

Step Four: Distribute Grass Seed.

Sprinkle the grass seed over the topsoil and water regularly. 

Keep this area barricaded from intrusive paws until it fills out and establishes itself. 

Types of Products To Use 

There are many curated products to treat damaged spots caused by dogs. 

Combination spot repair products like this contain everything you need to reestablish grass. 

Combination products are convenient options as they contain mulch, seed, and soil to help repair spots caused by urine, play, and digging. 

It is vital to make sure all the products you use on your lawn are dog-friendly. 

Most products are well-labeled as kid and pet safe. 

We want a beautiful lawn, but the health of our furry friends comes first. 

Many fertilizers contain harmful chemicals toxic to dogs and should not be used where our furry friends play. 

Establishing New Grass With Dogs

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There are many reasons why we may need to establish new grass on our properties. 

If you recently did a landscaping or hardscaping project, you’ll need to reintroduce grass to your yard. 

New builds require starting a lawn from scratch, which is intimidating if you have dogs running around. 

Grass seedlings are extremely delicate and susceptible to damage. 

If you’ve ever tried to lay grass seed with dogs, you know how incredibly futile and frustrating it feels at times. 

Realistically, dogs need to be kept away from areas with new grass seed for 4-6 weeks past germination to allow the roots to take hold and gain the strength needed to withstand Fido’s playtime. 

Challenges Of Growing Grass With Dogs

The same behaviors leaving spots on the existing grass are detrimental to growing grass. 

Think of how much lawn damage potty breaks and running cause to strong grass and imagine how terrible it is for new seedlings. 

Dogs love to run back and forth across the yard and roll in lush green grass. 

While it is endearing to watch them enjoy the yard, it challenges fostering a healthy lawn. 

It is a challenge to grow grass with dogs around, but ultimately it is possible to find a way to have a beautiful lawn and happy dogs playing on it. 

Through training and some clever boundaries, you’ll be able to overcome these challenges. 

Keep Dogs Off New Growth

As we mentioned above, you’ll need to keep your dogs away from growing grass until it is strong enough to endure four paws running on it. 

One way to keep dogs off is to walk them instead of letting them loose in the yard. 

Walking is a fantastic way to get exercise for you and your dog while allowing your grass the time needed to establish itself. 

If walking is not possible for you, consider introducing grass in one area at a time. 

Put up a fence or boundary around the area with new grass seed to keep dogs from entering. 

This allows the dog to run around the other parts of the property while the grass is established. 

Once the area is lush and full of strong grass, it’s time to start grass seed in another yard area. 

Artificial Grass Pee Pads

Some dog owners use artificial grass pee pads like this one for dogs to use for potty breaks while the grass seed establishes itself. 

This is a great option for training as well. 

Keeping potty breaks to the artificial turf preserves the health of your lawn. 

If your dog takes to the pads, keeping them around helps protect the grass even after it establishes itself. 

This way, you’ll avoid having to treat brown patches caused by urine. 

The Most Dog-Friendly Types Of Grass Seed

The most important aspect of growing a dog-friendly yard is choosing the correct grass seed variety. 

Many types of grass are ornamental and delicate and will not last with dogs around. 

When choosing a grass seed variety, it is vital to consider your lifestyle and how tough you need your grass. 

Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’re going to want to pick the hardiest grass type possible for you and your dog to enjoy. 

So, what makes a grass seed able to withstand the wear and tear from your dog? 

The answer is two-fold. 

You’ll want a grass seed capable of establishing strong, deep roots while boasting a rapid growth rate. 

The strong, deep roots help prevent damage from running and urination, while the fast growth cycle allows the grass to recover quickly. 

Check out our full articles on the best types of grass to grow with dogs.

Cold Weather Varieties

While it’s important to pick a dog-friendly type of grass, you’ll want to make sure the tough varieties work for your climate. 

Luckily there are cold-weather varieties to grow hardy lawns. 

Some of the most successful varieties include Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass, and Tall Fescue. 

Each of these varieties produces tough and resilient grass. 

Don’t cheap out when purchasing your grass seed. 

You’ll likely have to buy all new seeds as poor quality seeds lead to poor quality grass. 

Warm Weather Varieties

If you live in a warmer climate, there are plenty of grass seed varieties to choose from to establish a strong and durable lawn. 

Zoysia Grass, Bermuda Grass, and Bahia Grass are fantastic options for resilient grass lawns in warmer climates. 

Some of these varieties involve more investment but ultimately pay off in the long run. 

It’s important to protect the growing grass seed from dogs, so you don’t have to pay for more seeds to repair damaged growth. 

Consider Mixing Clover Seeds

Some dog lovers have successfully mixed clover seeds into their grass seeds. 

Clovers are considered weeds by some but are very resilient. 

Consider redefining a weed and incorporating clover seeds to encourage a resilient lawn tough enough for your dog’s playtime. 

There is increasing evidence showing how incorporating hardy grass-like weeds into our lawns helps to increase durability and resilience against wear and tear.  

Dog Training To Protect Grassy Areas

Once you treat damaged spots, you’ll want to take steps to prevent a continuous cycle of damage. 

Fortunately, behavior and physical changes are possible to protect your lawn from our beloved dogs’ actions. 

Establish Boundaries

One way to keep dogs from damaging grass is to keep them away from it. 

Putting up a barricade around the grass keeps dogs off it and allows it to grow easily. 

This is not always possible for every yard layout, but it is a quick fix to keep the grass healthy. 

Another way to establish boundaries is through training. Let your dog know where it is okay to urinate. 

Treats and commands go a long way with our four-legged friends. 

Establishing a “pee-spot” behind trees or in corners of the yard keeps the damage isolated. 

Taking our dogs for walks for potty breaks rather than allowing them to use the backyard drastically reduces the potential for damage to the grass.

But if your trouble is from the neighbor, read our post on how to keep the neighbor’s dog out of your yard for some tips.

Make A Dog-Friendly Play Area 

Another way to protect the majority of your yard is to create a dog-friendly play area. 

Allow your dog to dig, run, and do whatever they want in a designated area. 

Digging is an instinct for dogs, especially for specific breeds. 

Allowing them to exercise this instinct in a controlled area makes both you and your dog happy. 

Consider creating a sand or dirt box specifically for digging. 

Hiding toys in the sand or dirt encourages the dog to dig there and makes it look much more appealing than the rest of your yard.