How to Repair Pet Spots In Lawn Grass

You can have great looking grass in no time with these lawn repair strategies.
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Photo By: Courtesy of High Country Gardens

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image Courtesy of Sunburst Landscaping

©2012, Know Your Chickens, Fox Chapel Publishing

Has Your Best Friend Damaged The Lawn?

Pets are integrated into our love of home. When their activities cause a bit of wear and tear on your grass, there's no need to be frustrated. Here are a few tips on dealing with pet damage in your lawn, and ways to prevent it in the future.

Water May Be the Fix for Dead Spots

Many pet owners find an abundance of dead spots due to "fertilizer" burn. The ammonia and salt in pet urine can quickly kill grass, especially during hot, dry weather. Keep the lawn watered during dry spells to eliminate drought stress and salt buildup. One inch per week of rainwater and irrigation combined is sufficient to moisten and flush salt from the soil. If possible, irrigate after heavy pet "use."

Maintain Good Fertility

When stress factors increase, it becomes even more important to maintain optimal soil fertility for the lawn to repair itself. Get your soil tested annually and fertilize according to the soil test results.


Overseeding thin grass or dead spots will help bring your lawn back to its former grandeur. Keep pets and other traffic off of newly seeded areas for a month or so, until the seed germinates and grass becomes well established.

Replace Dead Grass

For stubborn spots, or for a quick fix, you can cut out the dead areas. Remove the sod and a few inches of the soil below.

Add Good Soil

Once the bad spot has been removed, add fresh topsoil to the cut out area. Level the new soil, leaving enough depth so that the new sod may be placed flush with the existing lawn.

Trim the New Sod

When the new sod has been laid in place, trim the edges so that it matches the existing lawn. Water new sod daily for the first two or three weeks until it has rooted in, after which it can be watered on the same schedule as the rest of the lawn. Like seeding, it is important to keep all traffic off of new sod for a few weeks until it has become established.

Give Them Their own Space

When pets have their own way, they could care less about a few spots. Giving them their own space to romp is like giving kids a playset. In this scenario, your pets can do what comes naturally and you have a little less to maintain.

Use Synthetic Grass

It's one way to keep a fresh look without the constant need for repair and replacement.

Not Just for Dogs

Lets face it, not everyone with pet spots in the lawn can blame it on the dog. Cats, chickens, bunnies and the rest, all add their own patina to the landscape. It is important to choose your battles early. For some of us isolating areas of use is a great option, for others repairing a few spots on occasion is a reasonable expectation. The key is in understanding the potential for damage before you are surprised by it.

But I Don't Have a Pet

Even those of us with no pets have visitors from time to time. Moles, for instance, can be a nuisance and their presence signifies plenty of life below the soil surface. One of the best control methods is simply to smash their raised tunnels as often as they appear. This method avoids the use of poisons which may do unwanted collateral damage to beneficial creatures.

Squirrels Dig Your Yard

Even squirrels, which are nearly impossible to un-invite, can do a number on your lawn as they dig and bury their treasures. Like mole tunnels, the best solution is to step on the divots (and pull up the saplings that inevitably emerge). 

A Happy Home

Whether you repair, replace or remove your grass. A proactive approach to dealing with pet spots in the lawn is the best way to ensure a happy home for you and the animals you love.