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Is Dog Poop Good For Grass?

A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Published on
Sunday 12 June 2022
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
Is Dog Poop Good For Grass?
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Dogs are probably the most well-loved pets in the world — which is unsurprising as they did earn the nickname ‘man’s best friend.’ What fur parents love less, however, is the piles of poop they leave behind. 

Many pet owners tend to leave them because isn’t dog poop good for grass? Unlike what most people think, this is wrong on so many levels.

Is Dog Poop Good For Grass?

Your dog’s waste may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but what lurks within their poop is harmful to grass, plants, and other living organisms. Unlike cow manure, dog poop is not suitable for the environment. Most purr parents think it’s harmless, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will tell you otherwise. 

Dogs eat plenty of meat, as opposed to cows, who eat plants exclusively. The high protein from the meat makes dog poop too nitrogen-rich for your yard. The result is a highly acidic waste product that is not ideal for your lawn. 

Dog poop is an environmental pollutant that falls under the same category as toxic chemicals, herbicides, insecticides, acid drainage, and oil grease. They are not the fertilizer that everyone assumes they are.

Why Dog Poop Is Not Good On Your Lawn

It seems that there is a common misconception going around about how dog poop can fertilize the grass. It is a harmful belief to have, honestly, since it does the exact opposite of what you are expecting.  

Dog poop is not a good fertilizer for grass. Dog droppings are dangerous if left alone, not just to the environment but also to humans. Here are the reasons why:

Pollutes Drinking Water 

Do not let your dog’s poop sit on your lawn for long. Remember, dog waste can take up to a year to break down. Letting it sit in your yard for a whole year is dangerous. Rain or water from watering your lawn can wash bits into storm drains. 

A single gram of dog dropping can contain up to 23 million fecal coliform bacteria and viruses. If left, they can contaminate waterways and give humans illnesses

With the assistance of rain, water, or humidity, these harmful pathogens can seep into water sources. The worst-case scenario is when they leak into lakes, rivers, and streams since they can find their way into drinking water.  

Spreads Bacteria and Parasites 

Dog poop can have an immediate negative impact on lawns, living plants, and seeds. If left to decay, the waste will turn toxic. It will then decompose into the soil. Aside from negative environmental impact, dog waste can harbor numerous viruses and bacteria, including salmonellosis, parvo, E. coli, and tapeworms.

Leaving dog poop on grass gives these microscopic parasites and bacteria the chance to transfer to your soil. Homeowners can potentially contract these pathogens. 

Releases Huge Amount of Nitrogen 

How can the innocent dog poop kill grass? Dog waste kills grass because it has a lot of nitrogen. As mentioned before, dogs have high protein diets — the process of breaking down all these proteins produces nitrogen as a byproduct. 

While grass needs nitrogen to thrive, receiving too much is dangerous. Too much nitrogen concentrated in a tiny area can burn the grass. The same thing will happen if you use nitrogen-rich fertilizer.  

Letting your dog’s droppings sit out for a long time results in too much nitrogen. That is why the grass dries and wilts

How Does Dog Poop Damage Look Like on a Grass

There are different stages of dog waste damage, mainly depending on the color of the grass.

Stage 1: Dark Green Grass

The first stage involves tall and dark green patches of grass. Do not get fooled if dog waste makes your grass grow faster at first. It may look and seem healthier than the rest of your lawn by all appearances. That is mainly because the waste breaks down slowly, taking about a year to decompose entirely.  

Stage 2: Yellow Spots

Once the dog poop starts to decompose, the same patch of grass will turn yellow. It is mainly due to the nitrogen burn. The excess nitrogen will burn your grass as the poop breaks down, which is the last chance you have to save it. The damage at this point is not yet severe and is still savable. 

Stage 3: Brown Spots 

The last stage is brown spots. This color is an indicator that the grass is dead and unsalvageable. You will need to reseed the area if you want to see green grass there again. 

How to Prevent Grass Damage From Dog Poop

Preventing lawn and yard damage from dog waste is simple, even if it’s a bit nasty. You will need to scoop your pet’s poop ASAP. Here are a few more tips you can follow:

Clean After Your Dog Immediately 

After your dog does the deed, scoop the waste up immediately. Do not let it sit long in your yard.

Leaving their poop unattended can result in harmful consequences. If not immediately, clean up all dog waste on your lawn at least once a week.

Throw The Dog Poop Properly 

Dispose of the waste properly. Don’t just throw it carelessly in a trash can if you don’t want any lingering lousy odor. It is best to place it inside a plastic bag before throwing it in the trash. 

Do Not Mow The Lawn With Dog Poop 

Mowing is a terrible idea if your yard has dog poop lying around. You will unintentionally spread toxic chemicals as you do your chore. 

Clean-Up All The Dog Poop From Winter

Picking up dog waste during the winter is not easy nor ideal, but that is understandable. Though, know that letting your yard be filled up with poop over the winter means you have to prepare to do a huge spring cleaning as soon as the snow melts. 

Keep Your Hands Clean

Always wash your hands after dealing with dog poop, even if you did not touch it directly. It ensures that you would not pick up any parasites or bacteria. 

Is Dog Poop Good For Grass: FAQ

What is the best way to clean up my dog’s poop?

The best and easiest way to clean up your dog’s poop is by scooping them up. Use a poop scooper or small shovel to pick up the waste and dump it inside a plastic bag. If you do not own a shovel, you can use the plastic bag as a sort of glove to scoop the waste. 

How does dog poop affect the soil?

Using dog poop as fertilizer or even letting it sit on soil for too long is not a good idea. Parasites can live in dog waste for days. Using them as fertilizer allows the parasite to lay its eggs on your crops and yard. 

Can I dissolve my dog’s poop in the yard?

Yes, there are several ways and methods to dissolve dog poop on the lawn and backyard. It saves you the hassle and trouble of needing to pick it up.

The most famous and inexpensive way is using white vinegar. Other means involve using bleach, enzyme-based dissolvers, and gardening lime.

How do you disinfect grass from dog poop?

Water alone is not enough to kill off viruses and bacteria. To properly disinfect your entire yard, including the grass, gardens, flower beds, and rocks, you must use a dog-safe commercial disinfectant to kill existing bacteria. Aside from killing these pests, an additional perk of using commercial disinfectant is that it can remove lingering odor. 

Does dog poop make good fertilizer?

Unlike cow manure, dog poop is not fertilizer! Dogs have a high protein diet, mostly consisting of chicken, beef, and pork products. Once their waste breaks down, it becomes very acidic. That is not good for grass and plants. That is the opposite of cow manure, which is good for vegetation since it started the same way.  

It is easier and less gross for most fur parents not to poop and scoop. Unfortunately, there are reasons why you can’t just leave your dog’s mess behind. Dog poop is bad for grass.

Dog poop is sticky and gross, so the reluctance to deal with it is understandable. You will need to suck it up if you want to keep a healthy lawn!

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