How to Grow Grass with Dogs

How to Grow Grass with Dogs That Love to Destroy It

For dog owners, their pet brings them immense joy, and although there is nothing more important than loving and caring for their dog, sometimes dogs can also cause destruction. Whether a dog enjoys running across grass, has a digging problem, loves to urinate all over your lawn, or is simply extremely active, this can make growing grass difficult. If you’re wondering how to grow grass with dogs that tear your lawn apart, I’ve got you covered in this article.

There are a few steps you can take towards having a healthy lawn once again and making your yard more pet-friendly.

Let’s get started!

Trust and Accuracy Information

This article was last updated on by Lawn Chick Owner Sarah Jameson
Article content reviewed for accuracy by Certified Horticulturist Nicole Forsyth, M.S.

How to Grow Grass with Dogs

Dog in Lawn

Sometimes the best dogs are the ones who do the most damage to your yard.

They’re happy, goofy, love to run and dig and play.

It can be easy to just throw up your hands about your happy goofy pup and accept a brown, patchy lawn.


In this guide for how to grow grass with dogs I’ll cover:

  • How to prevent lawn damage from dogs
  • Best types of grass to grow with dogs
  • Rejuvenating your dog-damaged lawn
  • Repairing lawn areas damaged by your dog

Preventing Lawn Damage from Dogs

Besides simply growing a new type of grass or completely altering your lawn, you can first put into place preventative measures to change your dog’s habits.

For dogs who enjoy ruining your grass by peeing on it, you can try to train out this behavior. Pick a spot that you feel comfortable letting them use as their restroom, and guide them there.

State your restroom command and praise them immediately after they go (you can even offer them a treat). Continue this as often as possible for at least a week or until they are going there on their own. The urine of well-hydrated dogs is also known to contain less ammonium and do less damage to your lawn, so make sure Spot has a full water bowl 24/7.

Nicole Forsyth, a certified horticulturist and member of our expert panel, adds that “you can also use a hose right after they urinate, and spray the spot to dilute the ammonium in their urine to prevent damage.”

Growing Grass with Dogs

If your dogs enjoy running wildly on your lawn, and in turn, this kills your grass, do not ever simply let them run out the door. Instead, lead them out and to an area that you are ok with them destroying. This might be a spot hidden by trees or a spot not easily seen. You can add a small fence or gate to keep them in one location. Or try adding a sandbox or a kiddie pool with water to encourage them to spend more time in that area.

Many dogs also love to dig as a natural instinct or to bury themselves in the hot weather. You can do the same type of training by leading your dogs to a hole that you have already dug for them. Although this may work for some, this is not a viable option for everyone. In the case that your dogs simply will not stick to one area, other measures may need to be taken.

Types of Grass to Grow

How to Grow a Lawn with Dogs

If you have attempted training with no avail, then choosing a sturdy grass type is the way to go. You will want to make sure it is the proper season that is warm enough for the seeds will germinate. Grab some compost, and pick a type of seed that can handle abuse.

The best types of grass that can stand up to heavy pet abuse would generally by the same type that might be used on an athletic field. You will also want to look for a seed with a rapid growth rate. Young seedlings can be damaged by even the slightest contact during germination. Rapid growing seeds will also help it to repair as quickly as possible.

Deep root development is also very important as they can handle damage much better than other types of seed, and might even discourage digging behaviors. My guide to fertilizing new grass can help you with this. Finally, make sure to have grass that grows well in your climate. A stressed lawn will be more susceptible to damage.

Regarding types of seed that can hold up to your pets, depending on where you’re located there are five main types of grass that are known for this purpose:

These are all strong grasses with thick roots and rapid growth rates.

Best Grass Seed for Dog Owners

The Seed I Recommend for Dog Owners

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How to Care for Your Damaged Lawn

The best way to care for your damaged lawn is to take care of your pets.

Caring for Lawns with Dog Damage

If preventative measures have not worked then you can try spraying the urine spots with water or (my preference) a treatment like Sunday’s Pet Spot Repair. You should also pick up all feces from your lawn. This will dilute the urine and wash any nutrients into the roots. This should be done within minutes after your dog has gone to prevent problems.

There is also the option to use grass saving dog treats and supplements. One supplement my neighbors have had good luck with is GrassGreen -a treat which contains DL-Methionine. This is an amino acid that is actually essential to a dog’s health and will make the urine more acidic.

Some pet owners may have an issue with this as it could lead to complications for their pet. A natural alternative you can try instead is to mix blueberries and cranberries into your pet’s food.

How to Repair Dog Damage to Lawns

Here's How to Grow Grass with Dogs

There area few steps you can take to repair the damaged areas made to your lawn by dogs.

  1. Rake the destroyed or patchy areas and remove as much as the dead grass as possible.
  2. Next, add a layer of ground limestone. You want it to be as fine as possible. In order to help the limestone absorb you can water the area. Then let it sit for at least one week.
  3. Finally, cover the patches with topsoil, and sprinkle your grass seeds over it to get it ready to germinate. Water the area gently to avoid washing the seeds away, and water daily for a few weeks. You should slowly see your patch shrink and become a part of the rest of your lawn.

The key to growing grass with dogs is accepting that your lawn may never be perfect.

But if you take active steps to repair damaged areas, train your pup to behave they way you hope he or she will, and work steadily to make your yard more pet-friendly, and you’ll have many years of enjoying your lawn alongside your four-legged friend.

At Lawn Chick, I am committed to publishing accurate, useful, and trustworthy resources for my readers. As part of this commitment, I’ve invited subject matter experts to review our articles for accuracy. I invite you to read our editorial policy and publishing standards which outlines in detail how every article on this site is sourced, edited, fact-checked, and vetted.



Sarah Jameson’s blog, Lawn Chick, is read by over 2 million homeowners each year and she is regularly cited as an expert source of lawn care knowledge by major publications. Her goal is to meet you where you are, and help you achieve a yard you’ll be proud of. Ready to take the next step toward improving your lawn? Grab her free lawn care cheat-sheet: What to Do When - Take the Guesswork Out of Lawn Care, or upgrade your garage by browsing her favorite DIY lawn care products.

4 thoughts on “How to Grow Grass with Dogs That Love to Destroy It

    • Hi, Lisa! Yes, in a perfect world you’d keep your pets off that area as your new grass seedlings germinate and take root. If you’re using uncoated grass seed there shouldn’t be any health risks to your pets if they walk on it or eat some of it, but grass seed is way more expensive than dog food, so creating a small barrier there or spraying something they don’t like the smell of around it is wise. It will take a few weeks for the roots to be strong enough to stand up to foot traffic. With many good grass seeds you can mow within two weeks of putting it down, and then another week or two it should be ready for rough play from your pets. Good luck!

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