Pet-Friendly Lawn Care Tips For Dog Owners

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If you have a furry friend running around your yard, proper lawn care should be a top priority. Just as you would ensure there is nothing dangerous in your carpet for a toddler, your lawn and dog deserve the same attention. The Holmes team has put together this list of our top tips for keeping your lawn safe and pet-friendly!

Reseed With Resistant Grass Types

Your furry friend deserves the best grass to enjoy when running around the yard. Reseeding or overseeding with resistant grass types will improve the longevity of your lawn. Resistant grass varieties are better equipped to withstand the wear and tear caused by dogs' activities like running and digging. Most importantly, resistant grasses are more tolerant of pet waste and urine, minimizing the risk of brown spots and damage to the lawn. 

The list below details the best seed choices for Utah pet owners, but check with your local lawn care provider to be sure you get the right grass for your area.

  • Kentucky Bluegrass: Forms a dense turf that can withstand heavy foot traffic and pet activity while maintaining its attractive appearance.
  • Tall Fescue: Has deep roots that help it tolerate drought and resist damage from dogs' activities, making it an ideal option for pet owners looking for low-maintenance lawns.
  • Fine Fescue: Has fine blades and a soft texture that dogs find comfortable, and they can tolerate shade and low fertility, making them a versatile option for lawns with varying conditions.
  • Perennial Ryegrass: Forms a dense turf that can withstand heavy use by dogs while maintaining its vibrant green color.
  • Buffalograss (Warm-Season Type): May not be as lush as other grass types, but buffalograss is incredibly resilient and can withstand heavy use by dogs in the warmer southern parts of the state. 

Fertilize Lightly & Use Organic Lawn Care Products

Believe it or not, your dog urinating on your lawn is not inherently “bad” for the health of your grass. Pet owners know all about dealing with spots and patches on the lawn caused by dogs relieving themselves, but this damage is caused almost entirely by excess nitrogen. If you fertilize your lawn with high-nitrogen fertilizer or apply too much, the nitrogen present in your dog’s urine will stress out the area in the same way that overfertilizing can stress grass. This coupled with dogs choosing designated areas to repeatedly urinate is what causes pet spots in the lawn.

Aside from fertilizing lightly and applying less nitrogen, you may also want to consider using organic lawn care products. Organic and pet-friendly lawn care products minimize, or completely eliminate, the possibility of harm to your furry friend. Commercial fertilizers and pesticides often contain harmful chemicals that can be poisonous to pets if ingested. Look for products that are labeled as pet-safe or organic to ensure that both your lawn and your pets are free from harm. 

Leave Your Grass Taller

Grass kept at the right height helps maintain the overall health of your lawn. When it comes to pet-friendly lawn care, it is advisable to leave your grass slightly taller than you normally would. As long as your grass is not overgrown, slightly taller grass can withstand stress much better than short grass. Taller grass blades above the soil mean deeper roots under the soil surface, which help your lawn absorb nutrients, defend itself against disease, and regenerate itself when damaged. 

Dogs will wear out your lawn by running, digging, relieving themselves, and even eating your grass. Keeping your lawn slightly taller can increase the resilience and strength of your turf when dealing with these issues. Keep the following ideal heights in mind if you have a furry companion running around your lawn.

  • Kentucky Bluegrass: 3.5 Inches
  • Tall Fescue: 4 Inches
  • Fine Fescue: 4 Inches
  • Perennial Ryegrass: 3 Inches
  • Buffalograss: 3 Inches 

Regularly Clean Up Pet Waste

Proper waste management is essential for maintaining a clean and hygienic outdoor environment for both you and your dog. Dog waste contains harmful bacteria and parasites that can contaminate your lawn and pose a health risk to your family and loved ones. Make it a habit to promptly clean up after your dog and dispose of waste in designated bins or composting areas. Regularly removing pet waste helps prevent the spread of disease and reduces odor and unsightly messes in your yard. Consider using biodegradable bags or a pet waste disposal system to minimize your environmental impact while keeping your lawn pristine.

Prevent Fleas, Ticks, & Other Pests

As mentioned above, certain pesticides contain harmful chemicals that must soak into the lawn thoroughly before it is safe for pets to roam the yard. Generally, pets (and children) should be kept off lawns for at least 48 hours after chemical pesticide treatments. Lawn pest control is a vital service that all pet owners should consider, and it is generally safe when administered by professionals (and if safety advice is followed). Here at Holmes Lawn & Pest, we specialize in preventive pest control treatments for your turf, as well as home barrier protection around your property to keep every member of your family safe.

Organic and DIY pest control is another option for most homeowners with pets, but there are other ways to prevent harmful pests from taking over your lawn and yard. While some bugs in the lawn are harmless, fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and other pests can bite and even attach themselves to your furry loved ones. Pests tend to seek out lawns in certain conditions, so keep the following tips in mind for preventive maintenance that can deter lawn pests (and don’t forget to check your pets regularly).

  • Regular Mowing: Keeping your lawn well-manicured by mowing it regularly can help deter lawn pests. Stick to a weekly schedule to keep pests away.
  • Proper Watering: Avoid overwatering, as this can create damp conditions that attract mosquitos and other dangerous pests.
  • Aerate Your Lawn: Aerating your lawn helps improve soil drainage and reduces thatch buildup, making it both less favorable for pests and healthier for pets! 
  • Remove Thatch & Debris: Thatch buildup and debris on the lawn can provide shelter for pests, so it's essential to dethatch and rake your lawn as needed.
  • Overseed Bare Patches: Bare patches in your lawn can attract pests looking for weak or damaged grass to feed on. Overseed these areas for a stronger lawn.

Use Professional Lawn Care Services

Keeping your dogs and other pets safe in your yard can seem like a full-time job. Luckily, there are professionals whose job is keeping your lawn and yard safe. Nothing keeps your lawn in consistently great shape the way recurring lawn care services can. Utilizing services like weekly mowing, seasonal fertilization, regular weed control, etc. will have your lawn safe and healthy all year long, and you will have more free time to spend with Fido! Call us today for more tips on pet-friendly lawn care, or to get started with a free quote on any of our services.

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