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Brown, fluffy dog walking on green grass
Safeguard your lawn from damage caused by pets with these few easy D.I.Y. steps

Lawn enjoyment for the whole family

Pets give us countless hours of joy, but their exuberant play and daily routines can damage lawns, leaving once-healthy turf riddled with bare patches and unsightly brown spots. There are steps you can take to help reduce your pets’ impact on your lawn, restoring your grass and creating a lovely outdoor environment the whole family can enjoy.

Safety tip: Always wear the appropriate safety equipment (safety glasses, gloves, ear muffs and a mask, for example) and always follow the instructions for the product or equipment.

Dirty Labrador retriever puppy relaxing after digging in the garden

What damage can pets cause?

Pets can wreak havoc on lawns, says Melissa King, horticulturist and Scotts Lawn Builder ambassador. “Dogs, in particular, love to dig and rake their claws through grass, and their urine burns the lawn, particularly when they gravitate back to the same bathroom spot.”

Additionally, their repetitive circling of the same areas of lawn, or using the same track to run around on, contributes to wear and tear. “This provides an opportunity for weeds to invade and for high-use areas to become compacted, which can result in poor drainage,” Melissa says.

What does pet damage look like?

If big yellow patches start appearing on your lawn, pay attention to where your dog (or cat) is doing its business, says Melissa. “Damage often occurs when urine is concentrated in one area.”

Lawn pests and nutrient deficiencies can cause similar symptoms, so Melissa recommends keeping an eye on your pets to distinguish the difference and make sure you’re treating the right problem.

Worn paths are easier to identify. Look for a dirt track forming in the grass with little to no lawn growing in those areas. This may also be due to human foot traffic, like walking to and from the clothesline, but human paths should be simple to determine.

Cat walking on green grass

1. Choose resilient turf varieties

Not all lawn types can handle the exuberance of pets. “There are grass types or seed blends that are more resilient than others and have a higher tolerance for heavy traffic,” Melissa says.

Self-repairing grasses, like kikuyu, couch and buffalo, can recover and regenerate through the growth and spread of their rhizomes or stolons (stems that produce nodes that form new growth), making them well-suited for this scenario.

“Also look out for robust seed blends [like Scotts Lawn Builder Hardwearing Lawn Seed], which are suitable for lawns that get a lot of use from family and pets,” advises Melissa

2. Change their track

If dogs are using the same track to run or play along, Melissa recommends putting an obstacle in their way, like pots or a small outdoor setting. “They will be forced to choose another path, giving the damaged grass time to repair,” she says.

Meanwhile, be sure to aerate areas that have been overused to relieve the compacted soil. For a longer-term solution, consider changing the landscape. “Use natural barriers like hedging to prevent dogs from going into certain areas,” Melissa says.

3. Put a stop to digging

If your pet is digging up the lawn, install a grass protective mesh on the lawn – Dig Stop, for example. It’s designed to stop dogs and other wildlife from digging holes in the grass and garden beds. Alternatively, Melissa recommends creating a designated digging area. “Install a sandpit where you can hide dog treats so they learn to dig elsewhere,” she says.

Brown, fluffy dog laying on green grass

Looking for ways to play with your dog?

Check out our great range of squeaky and plush dog toys.


Photo Credit: Daniel Mahon, Getty Images

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.